Critical Thinking Skills for Managers

Training Overview and Course Description

Classroom or Virtual Instruction

Critical thinking is vital for human progress.

Today's management environment is more complex and more daunting than ever before. Managers face circumstances daily which call for well-honed skills in critical-thinking.

Critical thinking is a self-regulating process which aims at improving the quality of our thinking. It pursues this aim by first identifying and then holding in check any habits and patterns of thought which limit the wisdom and efficacy of our judgments and decisions.

Ironically, fewer and fewer people are trained to be critical thinkers as part of their academic preparation. In many colleges and universities it's now possible to obtain a degree without taking a single course which requires rigorous critical thought.

SLDI developed this course on Critical Thinking Skills for Managers after companies began asking us to equip newer managers with more effective analytical abilities. The course was developed and is delivered by Dr. Mike Armour, who holds a PhD in the history of ideas.

But this is not a course on philosophy. Instead, it lays out time-proven methods for thinking critically. Then, drawing on challenging case studies, it applies these methods to real-life business and organizational scenarios.


We tailor this training to your organization's unique leadership and management challenges and to its specific needs. Customization is included in the standard fee.


At present, all LeaderPerfect leadership and management trainings are conducted by Dr. Mike Armour, SLDI's founder and managing principal.

Training Location:

We deliver this course worldwide as an in-house, off-site, or conference event. Please note: Our courses are not currently open for public enrollment. We conduct trainings exclusively for organizations who contract with us for this service.

Available Virtually:

The content of this course can be adapted for virtual delivery. However, we recommend in-person training, because it makes for a better and more complete learning experience.

Language of Instruction:

We only offer presentations in English, but are glad to utilize translators in non-English settings. For decades, Dr. Mike Armour (the instructor) has teamed with translators to conduct trainings on four continents.


Based on your needs and scheduling requirements, we offer this course in a variety of time frames.

  • We can present it in a condensed version as a one-day program.
  • Or we can provide a more thorough presentation over two or three days.
  • Alternatively, we can break the course into multiple half-day segments delivered periodically over an extended period.

In North America (and for virtual presentations anywhere in the world), multi-day trainings can be conducted on non-consecutive days. You can even schedule sessions weeks apart. This permits you to provide monthly or quarterly training programs and use Critical Thinking Skills for Managers as the curriculum.


Extensive handouts, PowerPoint presentations, group discussion, case studies, small-group breakouts, video clips, application exercises

Standard Fee:

The price for this courses is an all-inclusive flat-fee. The fee is determined by the number of training days, not the number of participants. This allows you to contract and budget for specific training dates without knowing how many people will attend.

Your total fee depends on several factors. For a full explanation, see our standard training fee schedule

Thenes and Topics

Here is a sample of themes typically covered in Critical Thinking Skills for Managers. The final outline is always developed in collaboration with the client. And at the client's request, the course may include topics not listed below.

  • How critical thinking differs from data analysis
  • The importance of rational thinking for human advancement
  • The use of deductive, inductive, and abductive thought processes
  • Descriptions of each of these processes against the certainty of their outcome:
  • Deduction: The conclusion is absolutely true
  • Induction: The conclusion is likely true
  • Abduction: The conclusion is the best explanation of what we currently know
  • The proper place for each of these thought processes
  • The limitations of each process
  • How deductive and inductive thought processes shape our communication style
  • The inherent limitations of rational thinking
  • Five types of beliefs which color our thought process
  • Non-rational factors which impinge on critical thinking
  • Emotions
  • Conditioned responses
  • Brain chemistry and neurological processes
  • Cultural, ethno-centric, and gender considerations
  • One's sense of identity
  • Deeply held values
  • Unconscious mind processes
  • Entrenched personal dispositions
  • Vested or self-serving interests
  • Personal loyalties, affections, or sympathies
  • Dependent relationships
  • The danger of accounting for problems with simplistic explanations of what caused them
  • Historic examples of costly simplistic explanations
  • Toyota’s "5 Whys" approach to identifying root causes
  • Common mistakes in thinking
  • Not separating facts from meaning imposed on those facts
  • Not identifying and testing assumptions
  • Not considering contravening evidence
  • Not taking contextual variances into account
  • The importance of linguistic precision in critical thinking
  • The challenge of precision in languages like English which are prone to abstraction and nominalization
  • Gaining precision through the practice of de-nominalizing statements
  • Using proper "chunking up/chunking down" techniques to gain precision
  • Finding new solutions using CP3 analysis
  • The pivotal role of questions in shaping critical thinking
  • The Socratic method
  • How to promote precision and critical thinking through good questions
  • How to formulate question which advance the critical thought process
  • The role of mental models in critical thinking
  • Running "reality checks" on conclusions
  • Future-pacing to test the validity of a planned action

Additional Training Options: