Essential Creative, Leadership, and Critical Thinking skills in Today’s Leader

If you want to succeed in 21st Century business you need to become a critical thinker. Critical thinkers are nosey and look to find what and the why behind every proposition. Crisis can bring out the best critical thinking because it forces you to question how and why you ended up in trouble. I take advantage of the genders and cultures represented in today’s diverse management landscape. An Indian-trained engineer may not view a problem the way one raised in Minnesota will. Both may have the same problem-solving tool kit, but their different experiences can provide valuable insights.

Assumption-busting and harnessing multiple perspectives are deductive skills. Critical thinkers should also have a creative bent that allows them to see opportunities where others see obstacles. For example, a manager may see a production snag as a problem whereas a savvy thinker must view it as an opportunity to revamp the process to produce something new.

Managing ambiguity is one additional aspect of critical thinking that is vital to today’s leader. The speed of business, intertwined as it is with global factors and complex supply chains, dictates that you will never know all the variables. Therefore, you need to get comfortable with operating in an environment where change is constant and rapid decisions are required. In a world of growing uncertainty one thing is certain; we all need sharp critical thinkers who can size up the situation, realize the potential where others may not, and seize opportunities through prompt decision-making (Baldoni, January, 2010).

To me leadership means dealing with the demands of uncertainty and to take decisions hoping that other people will follow. Success in leadership does not come from role and title but from clear purpose, passion and self-awareness. Trust is hard to build and easy to lose in this era of social media tools where you are constantly exposed. Trust is the conviction that the leader means what he says. Mindfulness is the process of noticing new things which places you in the present allowing you to take advantage of opportunities and situations which results in no longer having people applying yesterday’s solutions to today’s challenges.

The principles of silence and giving others space and time to find their own answers are some of the practices I follow in personnel and professional life. According to Palmer (2009) silence brings not only little deaths but also little births, small awakenings to beauty, to vitality, to hope, to life. Silence is a form of communication that is cultural and context specific. Silence can be a turning point within a conversation. Such turning points can have positive and negative aspects, depending on how the participants use the silence.  Silence can be an opportunity for mediators to allow the participant’s time to reflect.

References

Baldoni, J. (January, 2010). How Leaders should think critically. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2010/01/how-leaders-should-think-criti/

Palmer, P. (2009). A hidden wholeness: The journey toward an undivided life. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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Importance of Critical Thinking to be a Creative Leader

My thought on critical thinking has not changed much from the first week of this course. I still believe stronger that play can build critical thinking skills. Critical thinking is an essential for research. It is essential for evaluating and understanding the implications of research. Critical thinking involves a continual questioning of the assumptions and is a way of evaluating a subject. It helps people solve problems by generating a good number of well-rounded ideas and critically deciding if they work or not. By using critical thinking skills to raise important questions about problems and state them as clear and precise as possible, you can gather and evaluate relevant information related to a topic as well as come to a well-reasoned conclusion about what it is. I have to use my critical thinking skills while I am conducting on-line research and it has helped me filter through web pages and figure out which ones contain actual, fact-based information and what are just filled with conjecture or made up stories that aren’t true.

Critical thinking is a must for all today’s leaders. To thrive in this turbulent world, Dr. Kalam argued that corporations as well as nations desperately needs creative leaders, who are a new breed of visionary and empathetic leaders who act less as commanders and more as coaches, less as managers and more as facilitators, and who foster self-respect rather that demanding respect. The leader must have the passion to transform vision into action, must be able to travel into an unexplored path and must know how to manage both success and failure. The leader must have the courage to make decisions and should have nobility in management. Every action of the leader should be transparent and must work with integrity and succeed with integrity (Radjou, July, 2009).

Reference

Radjou, N. (July, 2009). Why are creative leaders so rare. HBR Blog Network.

My Decision Making Thought Process

I totally agree with Gladwell (2005) that the quantity of information can have a profound effect on decision making. When we are immersed in too much information, we can sometimes miss the big picture or we can get deviated from the original problem. Like I said in my first blog in first week of this course, improvisation helps to increase leadership, collaboration, creativity, risk taking and intuition which are all essential qualities for leaders. Too much thinking can easily obstruct intuition, as can interfering thoughts, low-esteem and judgmental opinions.

Most of the decisions I make at work are evidence-based decisions, which requires me to compare two or more options. Research-based evidence may exist which measures how likely the outcomes are for each option. Understanding these numeric estimates improves risk perception and leads to better informed decision making. Since our life has become more dynamic and less structured, intuition gains more and more recognition as an essential decision making tool. Intuition can make you a much more effective decision maker, especially when you deal with non-standard situations or in expedient decision making. Decision making situations where intuitive approach helps me most in my job is when the circumstances leave me no time to go through complete rational analysis and a rapid response is needed. Intuitive approach also helps me when I have to deal with ambiguous, incomplete, or conflicting information.

Reference

Gladwell, M. (2005). Paul Van Riper’s big victory: Creating structure for spontaneity. In Blink: The power of thinking without thinking (pp. 136-141). New York City, NY: Little, Brown and Company.