Critical thinking is developed through experience, learning, and understanding the relationship between various things. It is essential in becoming a Leader Worth Following.
The “various things” or concepts that I believe are linked with critical thinking:
- Dependability – Showing up and being reliable and accountable.
- Responsibility – Taking ownership of challenges.
- Self-Awareness – Using your feelings to create positive outcomes.
As a process, critical thinking involves walking through the various options you have for a particular decision, and reaching the best conclusion possible, or rather “connecting the dots”.
I remember going through this process of critical thinking in the earlier years of my leadership career and I know it takes a lot of mental energy. There are so many ways you can line up all of your assumptions to reach a decision.
After about 10 years of serving as CEO, the rigor and discipline behind my thinking became much easier. When I was making decisions, I just knew what to do without having to go through the entire process. That was because I had practiced it and developed patterns in the way I think about problem solving and making good decisions.
Don’t let this concept and the timeframe it may take to “master” critical thinking overwhelm you. Each day, just continually choose what you believe is the best path forward – based on different scenarios and with different team players.
The more experiences you have, the more you’ll be able to see patterns in information and situations, and instinctively know what is the “most right” decision.