Effective leadership involves problem-solving and decision making. These are only achievable if one can think critically without assuming lots of things and looking at everything from the face value. It is, therefore, necessary that a critical thinker has to learn critical thinking skills so that he can be best placed to successfully lead and control a company. These critical thinking skills enable the leaders to understand the effect of their decisions and the impact it might bring to the company.
There are a few simple things that one has to adhere to acquire better critical thinking skills. These are things that people do every day but do not take a keen interest because they do not focus or reflect on whatever happens around them. One of these factors is active listening; a critical thinker needs to listen to other people’s views before responding actively. It is impossible for anyone to actively listen and think of the response at the same time (Popil, 2011). It is, therefore, important for any critical thinker to be a good listener so that they can be sure they are responding to the right thing.
It is also vital that a critical thinker acknowledges both his strengths and weaknesses. It is only possible if the person can constructively criticize himself and ask whether whatever he believes in has any positive impact in his life. Facione (2011), argues that a leader who is not self-critic automatically becomes a dictator since he feels that everything he believes in is the right thing and dismisses anybody’s opinion . A good leader should, therefore, be able to analyze all information, whether they come from himself or someone else. He has to ensure that emotions or anger do not control the data. Critical thinking skills dictate that one communicates in a productive and non-violent manner. It is only when the leader is non-violent and not driven by emotions can he get the logic out of every argument.
Another thing that is essential in increasing critical thinking skills is developing foresight. A leader needs to be able to predict the impact that his decision might cause to the people he deals with as well as the company. It helps in planning and ensuring that the risks are not higher than the benefits and that indeed, the decision is best at that specific time. A good leader has to focus on his believes as well as other people’s ideas and be able to foresee their future impacts. He needs to incorporate all these opinions and look at their future effects before making any implementation.
Asking simple questions is another tool required in critical thinking. The questions asked need to be simple, necessary, and clear (Goetsch & Davis, 2014). Sometimes the discussion can be so lengthy that people end up forgetting the original question. At such a stage, the item must be asked again to put people on track to get accurate answers. Basics questions usually focus on whatever is already known and how it is known before eventually getting the efforts being made to improve the situation.
When one is asking the essential questions, he might get different answers, and some of these answers come with pieces of evidence. A critical thinker has to evaluate all those existing pieces of evidence. He should not take everything as the truth without thorough evaluations. It is through this process that he will be able to separate the fact from the rumors. If this is not done, then the leader can easily be manipulated. A critical thinker does not accept all the answers without keen analysis (Harris, Day, Hopkins, Hadfield, Hargreaves,& Chapman, 2013). It is because, in most cases, solutions are never straight forward, and the leader has to get a deep understanding of every question as well as the responses. It is also crucial for a critical thinker not to assume anything. Every little thing needs to be probed, to get a clear understanding. Many essential revelations can come out of the minor things that people tend to assume. It is, therefore, important that a critical thinker and a good leader be very keen and ask every question on anything he hears or sees.
Understandably, people do not critically think at all the time. Sometimes people usually reason and overlook so many things. It is reasonable and very understandable; however, critical thinking is critical in day to day life. It helps during problem-solving or any decision-making processes, primarily when one acts as the leader in such a process. He has to be sober and understands the nature of the situation without any discrimination, dictatorship, or judgments.
Most business in the current world requires leaders who are critical thinkers and can make correct decisions without so many regrets. The leaders must take their time and reflect on their choices before implementations to ensure the success of the business. The business is bound to collapse without critically thinking individuals. Anyone who is a critical thinker is better placed when it comes to employment due to this strong asset that many employers require.
It, therefore, means that for anybody to be an effective leader, he has to be a critical thinker. Being a critical thinker requires some essential skills of thinking, and these skills have to be practiced in any decision making and problem-solving processes. The leader has to ensure he is a keen listener and understands every idea and argument from anyone. It is only through this that he can make correct decisions and give the right judgments. At the same time, he should not assume anything or view anything from face value. He needs to have a deep understanding of every situation and probe every evidence brought before him. He can best achieve this by asking basic and clear questions that anyone can understand and give an accurate response. It will ensure that he is not misunderstood, leading to a wrong answer, which eventually leads to a wrong decision that may have a negative impact. The leader, therefore, has to foresee the impact of every decision he is about to make to ensure it does not lead to a disaster in the future.
- Facione, P. A. (2011). Critical thinking: What it is and why it counts. Insight assessment, 2007(1), 1-23. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Peter_Facione/publication/251303244_Critical_Thinking_What_It_Is_and_Why_It_Counts/links/5849b49608aed5252bcbe531/Critical-Thinking-What-It-Is-and-Why-It-Counts.pdf
- Goetsch, D. L., & Davis, S. (2014). Quality management for organizational excellence: Introduction to total quality. Retrieved from http://repository.fue.edu.eg/xmlui/bitstream/handle/123456789/4047/10322.pdf?sequence=1.
- Harris, A., Day, C., Hopkins, D., Hadfield, M., Hargreaves, A., & Chapman, C. (2013). Effective leadership for school improvement. Routledge. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=j5Pi4M1DPNsC&oi=fnd&pg=PP2&dq=importance+of+developing+critical+thinking+skills+for+effective+leadership&ots=35-z1QnhhY&sig=bxIFIEey8S5P2_fks_17EV7FnBU&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- Popil, I. (2011). Promotion of critical thinking by using case studies as teaching method. Nurse education today, 31(2), 204-207. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0260691710001115.