Critical Thinking: How Critical is it for Leadership?
Remember watching suspense/thriller movies like A Perfect Murder, Orphan, Ring, or 88 Minutes? You unconsciously try to identify the criminal, way before it is revealed in the movie. What are you doing here? You are using your critical thinking to process and evaluate information. All of us make use of our critical thinking skills to perform day to day tasks; right from driving a car, to paying house bills and taking career or work-related decisions.
What is Critical Thinking?
The above example may delve more on the lines of rudimentary decision-making skills, so we would like to use Diane Halpern’s definition, which presents this theory in a broader perspective:“Critical thinking is the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome. It is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned, and goal-directed.”[Diane F. Halpern, Thought & Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking]. In short, critical thinking is all about improving one’s judgment and problem-solving abilities.
Why is it Critical for Leaders?
Critical thinking has come a long way from being a mere chapter in our school/college textbooks and has become a critical tool used by business leaders to question, deliberate, and make sound business decisions. It goes without saying that- no two leaders are the same. A CEO of a multinational company has different aim and purpose, and different circumstances to deal with, then a principal of a school or a Commanding Officer in the Army. Despite the difference, all these leaders are engaged in one common task- they are the decision makers. Critical thinking is one of the fundamentals of leadership development, helping organizations to hire and retain professionals they need to stay strong and stable.
How to Develop Critical Thinking?
As such, there are no defined steps or ways to develop critical thinking; however, there are questions that you need to answer for yourself to develop and improve your critical thinking skills:
Good leaders always try to see the bigger picture. They perform necessary research until they are truly satisfied. So, stop, think, deliberate, and assess a situation before you make a decision, and that’s what makes you a good critical thinker and a great leader.