Courage and adapting to change is a key to great leadership

Courage and adapting to change are the common themes between Brookfield’s and Havel’s thinking about critical reflection and leadership. As stated by Brookfield (1987), critical thinking practitioners who mean to lead, make confident judgments regarding appropriate responses to situations and problems for which no explicit rationale has been developed. “Critical thinking in managerial life is recognized in attempts to solve real problems and take actions in a purposeful, logical way.  The critical thinker ‘is aware of the malleability of perceived reality and dares, therefore, to initiate action that will reshape it’” Brookfield (1987, p. 141).  Critical thinking arises out of creatively exploring and resolving anomalies between theory and actuality – between what is supposed to happen and what appears to be taking place. The Brookfield (1987, p. 155)   states “intuitive, improvisational, and creative” thought process is evidenced by courage and daring that leads to implementation of ideas.  Critical reflection, although it a process of the mind, and is tied to action.

Havel (1992) states that looking at the politics from the inside confirms that world of today, with the dramatic changes it is going through, and in its determination is not to destroy itself, and that is why it presents great challenges to the leaders. It is not that we should simply seek new and better ways of managing society, the economy and the world. The point is that we should fundamentally change how we behave. Leaders should change attitude toward the world, themselves. Their responsibility can give rise to truly effective systemic and institutional changes.

Fostering critical thinking at the workplace is something we should support not simply because of the benefits to be derived from higher productivity and greater worker satisfaction; rather, we should recognize the opportunity to exercise critical thought at the workplace as one of the chief ways in which we affirm our identities Brookfield (1987). Critical reflection provides a means of expressing our own unique brand of humanity.  When we employ critical thinking, we are most ourselves, and the individuals and organizations we touch are generally better for it.


Brookfield, S. (1987). Using the workplace as a resource for thinking and learning. In Developing critical thinkers (pp. 135-161)San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Havel, V. (1992, February 4). World Economic Forum. Speech given at Davos, Switzerland. Retrieved from


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