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2 Simple Steps for Improved Critical Thinking

Here’s how leaders can ensure Millennials and Generation Z improve
their critical thinking skills according to a top-ranked leadership expert.

Online and social media serve as the main source of news for the majority of 18-34 years-old. Not surprisingly, Millennials and Generation Z are the least likely generations to turn to TV, radio, or print for news. 

It’s becoming increasingly important for Millennials and Generation Z to apply critical thinking to the news and information they consume on a daily basis.

In a recent interview with top-ranked leadership expert and author of The Potential Principle: A Proven System for Closing the Gap Between How Good You Are and How Good You Could Be, Mark Sanborn, I asked him…

How can leaders help Millennials and Generation Z develop better critical thinking skills?

“The faster something validates our world view, the quicker we adopt that point,” says Sanborn. The lack of critical thinking is preventing [Millennials and Generation Z] from building confidence to earn success and reach their highest potential.

2 Simple Steps for Improved Critical Thinking

1.Get the Facts:

Sanborn describes the basic tenants of critical thinking as…

  • Says who?
  • How do they know?

“Just as easy as it is to access the wrong info, it’s easy to background a question,” says Sanborn. Sanborn suggest checking various verification sites like Snopes to check facts and verify information. 

2. Interpret the Facts:

“Everyone is influenced by culture and media. We don’t really think for ourselves, we use inputs from others like our parents, friends, etc. who are a product of their parents, friends, teachers, pastors, and authors,” says Sanborn.

Unfortunately, most of the time people are not looking for information, they are looking for validation. In order to develop better critical thinking skills, Sanborn suggests…

  • Ask yourself: Am I looking for validation or information? 
  • If you are looking for validation, ask yourself: Why? 

If you are not willing to examine your beliefs, you are not thinking critically. Sanborn says, “Most [people’s] thinking today is getting information—often opinion based—and then using that to validate their emotions rather than to educate their thinking.”

Sanborn concluded, “We are entitled to our own opinions but not to our own facts…Critical thinking is getting the facts and then making your own interpretation of those facts.”

Listen to my full interview with Sanborn here.


Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies’ #1 asset, their people.

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