The core element of professional development is a balanced combination of the worker’s ability to improvise, innovate and solve problems by analyzing. Thus, both critical and creative thinking is necessary.
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With the development of technologies, the work structure of many professions vastly changed. The majority of them involve working with computers and different software, and to operate those, an employee has to be able to think critically. Most of the employers agree that basic skills such as writing, reading, and arithmetic are already insufficient. According to research conducted by American Management Association, more than 70% of 2115 interviewed managers and administrators believe that the employees should be measured in critical thinking, and approximately 57% of them admit the importance of creativity (Executives Say the 21st Century Requires More Skilled Workers, 2010, para. 8).
An ability of an individual to think rationally let them better control their work, faster cope with various assignments, etc. (Professional and Personal Development, n.d.). That is because the primary standards for such kinds of employees are clarity, precision, accuracy, depth, breadth, logic, relevance, and fairness (Elder & Paul, 2010). Therefore, they always ask for additional details, consider different points of view, investigate relevant questions and use logical operations. Besides, critical thinking is closely connected with evidence-based practice, so, employees can better deal with real-life problems, analyzing their mistakes.
Creative thinkers, on the other hand, besides using all of the skills mentioned above also apply different approaches, finding several possible solutions instead of only one. Creativity implies improvisation, “spontaneous free-flowing manner”, even risk-taking and making mistakes (Weisser, 2012, p. 23). Due to this, employees become open to failures. As Moore (2010) says, “critical thinking is not a panacea, intelligent failures still can be expected” (p. 77). It is not a disaster or a catastrophe – it is just another reason to overdo yourself. Einstein made 23 crucial mistakes, and in spite of them (or because of them) he still succeeded (Schoemaker, 2011, p. 147).
To conclude, both critical and creative thinking are valuable. However, only their combination can make a difference in professional development.
Elder, L., & Paul, R. (2010). Universal Intellectual Standards. Web.
Moore, D. T. (2010). Critical Thinking and Intelligence Analysis. Washington, DC: DIANE Publishing.
Professional and Personal Development. (n.d.). Web.
Schoemaker, P. J. H. (2011). Brilliant Mistakes: Finding Success on the Far Side of Failure. Philadelphia, PA: Wharton Digital Press.
Weisser, L. (2012). Facing the Future: What skills will your employees need? The Canadian Learning Journal, 16(1), 23-25.