Critical Thinking a Vital Tool for Leaders

In a new era of rapid changes and knowledge-based enterprises, managerial work becomes increasingly a leadership task.

Leadership is the primary force behind successful change. Leaders empower others to act on a vision. They execute through inspiration and develop implementation capacity networks through a complex web of aligned relationships. The elements of leadership behavior is isolated as specific learnings which are systematically programmed into a developmental process.

In my professional experience as a management consultant and as a change agent in the business environment for over the last 25 years within different organizations, where I have faced leadership issues, interacted with different cultures, values and leadership styles, has raised the question as to why existing leadership models remain in the lexicon or reference books and are not fully implemented to show they actually can work?

This question has led me to reflect upon the deterioration of many businesses and their leadership styles and leader’s skills.

​I believe that, rather than being born as a leader, leadership can be defined as a set of competencies which can be learned. Some aspects of knowledge, skills and attitudes have been taken into account in my research which have been clustered into competencies.

My approach defines that appropriate and sufficient time is given to the development of leadership skills, to bring about the desired change in behavior and to achieve leadership competence.

​Therefore, the acquisition of leadership competencies should occur by plan and design, rather than by accident. As your business grows, you face increasingly complex challenges. Growth can also strain even the most solid partnership making it difficult to maintain and pursue a joint vision for any business. While some people seem to be born with leadership qualities, most of us (even the smart ones) aren’t, and we need to learn a new level of Leadership which requires a new level of consciousness.

You are forced to be less of a “hands-on” technician and instead, you have to manage your business in new and possibly unfamiliar and different ways: through other people, systems, and information channels. You need to think differently, have a different mind-set than ever before, think out of the box, overcome your fears, be able to persuade others and craft your arguments, be honest, consider the profit of all who are impacted by your decision,… another words, become a “Critical Thinker”.

It seems that most leadership development focuses almost exclusively on surface level behaviors, giving tools, tips, and strategies designed to improve leaders' performance. Such approached however, fail to take into account that action is shaped by deeper paradigms, mental models and value system.

Therefore, the foundation of a sustainable leadership development is transforming not what leaders do, say, and decide but what they believe, and assume. It is not what leaders do, but who leaders are.

Having said that specific skills are required for leaders to be able to make the right decision and persuade their audience to accept their conclusion. Critical Thinking has been neglected and ignored specially in many societies. We need leaders who are effective persuaders and are empowered by their ability to organize their thoughts in a logical way, to craft their arguments with the strongest reason possible for their audience to accept their decisions.

Some people associate critical thinking with criticizing and manipulating methods. Using a tool for a bad intention is not the shortcoming of the tool but the shortcoming of the person using it for an evil purpose. These tools might be used by advertisers or politicians to manipulate the public opinion. We need however as responsible citizens, employees, consumers to understand how the tools are being misused and how could they be used for a Nobel purpose instead.

We at Swissinnovision in Bratislava with our partner Procurro Solutions in Vienna, will be running summer training courses in Vienna and Bratislava from mid-June to mid-September. Critical Thinking is one of the training we run. We ran these courses for many organizations with great success. We therefore, invite you to check our training courses and let us share the knowledge with you to help you grow your business in the best optimal way.

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