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What Is Logical Thinking in the Workplace?

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Logical thinking isn’t just for solving riddles; employers are actively looking for candidates with this valuable skill. Logical thinkers approach work problems critically and provide actionable solutions to help the company succeed. In this guide, we cover:

What Is Logical Thinking?

The logical thinking definition is analyzing a situation or problem using reason and coming up with potential solutions. Logical thinkers gather all the information they can, assess the facts, and then methodically decide the best way to move forward.

Logical thinking is an essential tool in the workplace to help analyze problems, brainstorm ideas, and find answers. Employers want employees who can come up with the right solutions that are financially reasonable, probable, and actionable.

Logical Thinking Examples

Logical thinking is an umbrella term for different ways to reach a factual, reasonable conclusion. Examples of types of logical thinking include:

  • Inference
  • Inductive reasoning
  • Deductive reasoning

Inference

Inferencing happens when we assume something new based on facts we already know. For example:

inference example

When you infer, you’re drawing the line between two factual dots.

Inductive Reasoning

Inductive reasoning is a type of reasoning that moves from specific to general. You start with a specific observation and pattern recognition, then come to a general conclusion.

Not all conclusions are correct in this type of logical thinking because specific circumstances don’t always apply to a general rule. However, you’ll end with a general conclusion that you can then further research. For example:

inductive reasoning example

In this example, the general conclusion isn’t necessarily true. However, it’s a theory you can now test with further research and surveying.

Deductive Reasoning

Contrary to deductive reasoning, this type of logical thinking moves from the general to the specific. You start with a general premise and then apply it to a specific premise. Take these two examples:

Example 1

deductive reasoning example 1

Example 2
deductive reasoning example 2

Like conclusions from inductive reasoning, not every conclusion from deductive reasoning is necessarily sound. You’ll need a true general premise, a true specific premise, and a valid, logical argument between the two premises to come to a sound conclusion.

In example one, Marissa may work four-day workweeks, and Julia may work five-day workweeks, but saying Marissa is happier only because of her work schedule is not a sound argument because the conclusion doesn’t logically follow. On the other hand, example two is a sound argument because both premises are true, and there is clear, valid logic between the premises and the conclusion.

Logical Thinking Skills

Logical thinking requires multiple skills you’ll need to exercise at various points when solving problems. These skills include:

  • Problem-solving
  • Critical thinking
  • Creativity
  • Reasoning

Problem-solving

The goal of logical thinking is to problem solve. Problem-solving has three parts: identifying why the problem’s happening, brainstorming solutions, and deciding which solution to move forward with. This skill requires both analysis and creativity, as a strong problem-solver analyzes the facts and finds creative solutions.

Critical Thinking

People often consider critical thinking synonymous with logical thinking, yet critical thinking comes into play most at the beginning of the problem-solving process. Critical thinkers analyze problems to get to the bottom of the facts and evidence. They are objective, free of bias, and focused on accuracy.

Creativity

When we think of the word “logical,” we might not think of creativity — yet it’s creativity that allows logical thinkers to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions. Logical thinking isn’t just about following the facts but also figuring out how to connect them and unearth them in expected ways.

Reasoning

Reasoning is the ability to assess things logically and rationally. Reasoning typically comes in the later stages of the logical thinking process, when you’re deciding between multiple ways to move forward. Then, you can use reasoning to compare solutions for their benefits and disadvantages.

How to Show Logical Thinking Skills on a Job Application

On a Resume

You don’t have to list “logical thinking” on your resume to prove you’re a logical thinker; instead, you can show your logical thinking skills through hobbies or extracurricular activities you include on your resume.

“If a candidate mentions their hobbies that they play chess, board games, or strategic video games, it always makes me think they are logical thinkers,” Maciej Kubiak, head of people at PhotoAiD, says. “These interests require analysis and deductive reasoning to find a viable solution.”

Learn the other top skills to include on a resume.

In an Interview

While your resume can show you’re a logical person, describing your work methodology in an interview is the best way to show off this skill. Be specific and prescriptive when describing what steps you took to overcome a work problem or what steps you would take in a potential scenario.

Logical Thinking Interview Questions

Employers looking for this skill in an interview often won’t use the term “logical thinking.” Instead, they’ll often ask you about the steps you took or would take to solve a problem. Examples of these interview questions include:

  • Have you ever disagreed with a coworker about the best course of action? How did you go about convincing them to try your way?
  • Have you ever needed to make a critical decision on a deadline? What was your process like for making that decision?
  • What proactive steps do you take to prevent problems with your work projects?

It’s okay if you’re initially stumped when the interviewer asks you to show your logical thinking skills; take your time and think through your answer before saying anything.

“Do not say the very first thought that springs to mind,” David Bitton, co-founder and CMO at DoorLoop, recommends. “While you don’t want to take too long, pausing and thinking for a few moments can help. If you are unable to provide a suitable and confident answer, do not be hesitant to ask clarifying questions.”

When you do answer, it’s okay — and even encouraged — to give multiple solutions.

Yet it’s vital to strike the right balance between being thorough and succinct, especially when explaining your thought process.

“Be able to describe how you solved a problem with steps, although be mindful of time,” software engineer Adeena Mignogna says. “When I’m interviewing someone, there’s nothing worse then them going on and on. Learn to concisely explain and answer.”

If you can respond concisely, you’ll also prove to the hiring manager that you can communicate complex ideas and information to others — which is another valuable soft skill.

4 Ways To Improve Your Logical Thinking

While logical thinking is a soft skill, it’s easy to practice and improve tangibly, like most hard skills you may learn in class. In addition, you don’t need to be faced with a workplace problem to work on your logical thinking; there are ways to build this skill in your personal life.

1. Build Creative Habits

“Spend more time on creative hobbies such as playing music, solving riddles, and reading,” Christian Velitchkov, co-founder of Twiz, says. “These are some hobbies that can stimulate your mind and promote logical thinking in a better manner. Creative thinking naturally comes from practicing more problem-solving hobbies. The more you challenge your minds to answer and solve different problems at work, the better you get at your logical thinking skills over time.”

Word games, painting, drawing, and crafting are other creative habits to try.

2. Learn a New Skill

Learning a new skill requires patience, time, effort, and focus — all things you need when trying to solve a new problem. However, you don’t need to learn how to code or practice software engineering to improve work-related logical thinking skills. Learning how to crochet or play a new instrument, for example, will help you flex logical thinking as you develop your new skill.

3. Practice Breaking It Down

If you’re a big picture thinker, it can be hard to look at all the details before diving in and trying to offer solutions. However, a crucial part of logical thinking is breaking down individual facts and connecting them to a reasonable conclusion. Start by breaking down a task you must do in your everyday life. For example, if your task is “get ready for work,” break this down into tasks like “brush my teeth,” “take a shower,” and “get dressed.” This practice will help develop a habit of zooming into smaller components of bigger issues.

4. Observe Others

We can be limited in how we approach problems; for example, we may try to approach a problem the way we’ve always done because it generally works out for us. Yet we might miss other paths and solutions that we’d never even consider.

Be aware of how others tackle problems and what strategies they use, whether in a work meeting, class lecture, or group project. Get curious about why they’re making specific choices and moving in a particular direction.

Why Is Logical Thinking Important in 2022?

According to Monster’s The Future of Work: 2022 Global Report, problem-solving — a critical aspect of logical thinking — is one of the top three skills employers are looking for. Yet this same skill is also where employers see the most significant skill gap between what they need from a candidate and the candidate’s skill level.

So get ahead in the job search by continually improving your logical thinking skills and showing them off with concise but methodical answers to interview questions. You got this — and if you need more help leveling up your professional skills, try out Two Sigma’s Professional Skills Development Program.

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