Importance of critical and creative thinking in leadership

These leaders are able to balance department or team issues with broader company issues and embrace a larger responsibility for the success of the organisation. This keen sense of accountability is what enables them to execute for results now while fulfilling their obligations to positively impact the future.

Leaders who engage in critical thinking also understand the total organisation and how the individual parts work together. Context is key. Now more than ever, business acumen is foundational to effective leadership. It is impossible to apply critical thinking skills to the business of making money without an understanding of the business drivers that connect day-to-day decisions and actions to key financial and strategic performance goals of the organisation.

It is one thing to understand one's role as a leader. It is altogether another thing to understand how to set direction and directly affect the outcomes. Critical thinking is big-picture thinking too. As Hagemann describes it, "Leaders need to be able to comfortably climb to the 30,foot view and analyse a dynamic system, while simultaneously and adeptly analysing information to quickly make decisions across levels.

They recognise the difference between short-term gains and sustainable, long-term results and lead accordingly. The advantages of this kind of leadership behavior are readily apparent. And this disconnect is likely to intensify over time. Given the critical-thinking competency gap exposed by the EDA survey and other research, the obvious assumption is that the traditional development process that businesses have relied upon in the past to prepare leaders simply hasn't kept up. So, what's the solution?

Critical Thinking: The Difference Between Good and Great Leaders

To accelerate development and raise leadership accountability to a whole new level of awareness and action, there needs to be a new emphasis on critical thinking in leadership development. The good news is critical thinking is a skill that can be taught. According to Halpern, "There is a large body of evidence showing that people can learn to think better.

Of course, education makes us all more intelligent, but critical thinking is more focused. Everyone can learn to recognise and use the skills of critical thinking, and we can always get better. New competencies, however, may require a deeper, more analytical approach.

The challenge today is not to discard what has been learned in the past, but to build upon traditional competencies with a whole new and more complex set of skills, tools and sensitivities. Leaders in the new normal need to learn how to be discerning, how to think clearly and wisely, and how to be accountable for their impact on the business.

Thinking Like a Leader: Critical Thinking Skills and Decision Making for Leaders

Critical thinking can be impacted by the right leadership courses. However, the process can be more challenging than improving a behavioural skill, because you can't easily measure it. Success is demonstrated in results.

Role of Creative Thinking as an Imperative Tool in Communication at Workplace

As with any skill, intellectual or otherwise, the key to building critical thinking - and achieving successful results - is practice. Research has demonstrated that people learn best when they are actively involved in the learning process and engaging in the behaviours they want to learn. But what's vital in developing critical thinking skills is framing the concept of practice within a relevant, job-related context.

Acquiring critical thinking skills requires participating in learning experiences that force you to consider new ways of thinking about and acting within complex situations that are directly related to the work you do. In addition to participating in these types of leadership courses, leaders can take charge of their own critical thinking development by taking these actions:. Leaders across all fields of work are generally taught to lead with their heads and not with their hearts - wouldn't you agree? We've all heard the saying "it's not what you say it's how you say it".

It refers to someone who has upset or offended another person through how they've delivered a message. While the message itself might be helpful and relevant, the approach isn't appropriate and creates an unintended reaction. The end of the year is a great time to stop and reflect on where you're currently at, as well as where you want to be.

But rather than thinking about tangible goals you want to achieve as a leader, it can be just as good to think about behaviours you want to change or things you could do to become a better you.

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What is critical thinking?

Advertisement: CPD small top. Print Tweet. By taking responsibility for your own leadership critical thinking processes, you are taking action to analyse and adapt your approach to decision-making and problem-solving. You put yourself - and your company - in a much stronger position to lead and succeed in the "new normal" business world.

Leadership in the "new normal" In the wake of the economic crisis, we all know what a failure of leadership looks like. Why critical thinking is critical Critical thinking appears to be exactly what is needed from leaders who are navigating the volatility of the "new normal".


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Diane Halpern, an award-winning professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College and a widely read author on the subject, offers this definition in her seminal book, Thought and Knowledge : "Critical thinking is the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome.

Here's what they said was missing: Strategic thinking Leading change Ability to create a vision and engage others around it Ability to inspire Understanding the total enterprise and how the parts work together What critical thinking looks like Having established the need for a mind-set shift to more critical thinking, we need to be clear on what that means in the workplace.

Five sub-tests measure critical thinking as a composite of attitudes, knowledge and skills: Inference Recognition of assumptions Deduction Interpretation Evaluation of arguments Professionals with high scores in these sub-tests are able to identify and examine the assumptions, influences and biases that might sway them. Discovery learning in leadership courses Critical thinking can be impacted by the right leadership courses.

Developing your critical thinking skills In addition to participating in these types of leadership courses, leaders can take charge of their own critical thinking development by taking these actions: Get some feedback about your critical thinking skills from a trusted boss, colleague or coach Are you jumping to conclusions or using a reasoned, analytic process as you work toward a goal? Are you able to put aside biases and assumptions during analysis and decision-making?

Creative Thinking, Critical Thinking

What kind of "thinker" are you perceived to be and why? Challenge yourself to develop a deeper understanding of your company's business, especially its financial and strategic drivers of success Are you clear about what drives the organisation's decisions, how financial success is achieved and how you impact both strategy and the bottom line? Are you making decisions that are aligned with this understanding? Is your knowledge of the business strong enough to drive behaviour and to engage teams and employees?

Setting priorities or ranking options through a systematic analysis of all possible combinations. Applying a checklist of action words or phrases idea-spurring questions to evoke or trigger new or varied possibilities. Sequencing: SML. Organizing and focusing options by considering s hort, m edium, or l ong-term actions. Morphological Matrix. Identifying the key parameters of a task, generating possibilities for each parameter, and investigating possible combinations mixing and matching.

Evaluation Matrix. Using specific criteria to systematically evaluate each of several options or possibilities to guide judgment and selection of options. Teachers can incorporate instruction in creative and critical thinking into the curriculum in a number of ways, either singly or in combination. I recommend that teachers follow several guidelines. Introduce the tools directly, using engaging, open-ended questions from everyday life. Be clear that the purpose of such out-of-context work is to gain confidence and skill in using the tool, so everyone will be successful when using it in context.


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