July 23, 2013
Sequestration, budget cuts, low morale – in these challenging times, government organizations must continue to meet their mission and government executives must continue to manage, motivate, and lead their teams. Sharpening their critical thinking skills can help. At a recent AMA Enterprise Government Solutions briefing for government HR and Training and Development professionals, Dr. Haywood Spangler led attendees in an interactive discussion of the importance of critical thinking skills, facilitating a role-playing exercise that provided insight into implementing critical thinking skills in a government workplace situation.
There is a clear connection between a leader’s critical thinking capability and their ability to achieve higher-level performance and realize their potential. Combined with the fact that, as we all know, business is increasingly more complex, critical thinking skills are perhaps the most pivotal leadership element for leaders, future leaders, and organizations as a whole.
The fact is, the effectiveness of any leader depends precisely on the quality of their thoughts. However, much of one’s natural thinking, when left unchecked, is distorted, biased, uninformed, partial, or prejudiced. Critical thinking is the mode of thinking in which one improves the quality of their thinking – this involves consideration of the full range of possibilities to any given problem, including emotional, intellectual, cognitive and psychological factors.
Many people ask if critical thinking is something that can be taught. The answer is yes, critical thinking absolutely can be taught, and we believe it should be a priority for government leadership development in large and small organizations. We teach critical thinking with the RED Model, introduced in Pearson’s Watson-Glaser II Critical Thinking Appraisal, the most widely-used assessment of critical thinking in business today:
In today’s environment, we are all struggling with budget reductions and increased pressure. Critical thinking helps leaders to challenge old assumptions and rethink conventional approaches in the context of today’s realities. Using these important skills helps leaders to make smarter decisions no matter how stressful the situation. Learning these skills is vital to the health of government organizations. Critical thinking skills give leaders the ability to handle changes smoothly and avoid reactive decisions, allowing them to more effectively and efficiently meet their mission, no matter the state of their budget.
Image via Ollyy/Shutterstock.com
July 23, 2013