Global businesses, increased networking and complexity of information have made decision making in businesses more critical today. Unprecedented fluctuations in the economy too have made decision making impromptu and has therefore instigated the need for critical thinking and evaluation for the key decision makers in businesses.
Critical thinking is paramount and the most sought after quality in business leaders today because it is the decisions and the evaluations made by the top manager that determines organizational success or failure.
So, what is critical thinking? Is it the quality of comprehending a given situation in a rational way, identifying logical sequence of events, assessing and evaluating the pros or cons, or systematically dealing with issues? Does critical thinking involve critique?
At the very outset, critical thinking is equivalent to independent thinking and deliberation on a given situation. This ability has been desired as well as associated with business leaders who are expected to recognize and solve problems, for the very fact that leadership is closely associated with the capability to address unprecedented situations.
Today, leadership development is seen in a completely different light. More and more businesses aim at enhancing and building their talent leadership pool with people leaders who have the capability of critically evaluating various aspects of an organization.
Here is what and how leaders can develop the quality of critically viewing things:
Look beyond a the Surface
Any leader should look at the various elements that contribute to a particular business situation. These can range from elements that do not directly surface but add to a situation. It is important for any leader to identify what, how and why of a situation so that he is able to effectively handle a particular situation.
Broaden your Frame of Reference
A leader must be able to expand his realm of reference and bring together various perspectives in order to solve a problem. Objective thinking is a must especially when the business is run globally and also when employees come from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Any given situation can be looked at through various angles and a leader must be able to adopt such an attitude in order to gain valuable insights.
Identify and Evaluate Capabilities
Identifying capabilities and potential in a given situation is important for critically viewing things. Where others are only able to see things on the exterior, a leader should try to look at a situation from a three-dimensional viewpoint and in a creative way so that all potential in a given business situation can be exploited to the best.
Recognize and Challenge Assumptions
The ability to separate wheat from chaff is what is distinct in a leader. It is the leader who should be able to separate the fact from opinion. Recognizing assumptions and challenging them so as to get to the bottom of a problem is a process which reveals various spaces and cracks that can also be evaluated. Inferences or conclusions made on the basis of established facts and figures thus turn out to be more logical and stable.