Organizational Leadership News & Views

Critical thinking skills vital for organizational leadership

  • Alvernia MOL

How important are the “four Cs” – critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity – in today’s workplace, and how many employees currently excel at these skills?  The American Management Association (AMA) asked those questions in their 2012 Critical Skills Survey. Those who are interested in organizational leadership should be a little concerned with the survey’s findings.

According to this survey, “more than half of the executives say there is significant room for improvement in these competencies among their employees. Most respondents admit their employees are average, at best, a distressing situation, since three out of four managers and executives surveyed say these skills will become ever more important in the future.”

The definition of critical thinking and problem solving by the AMA sounds simple enough, “the ability to make decisions, solve problems and take action as appropriate.” But, as this article in Entrepreneur magazine points out, “when you think through a problem, your thought process is naturally colored by biases, such as your point of view and your assumptions about the situation. Each of those biases affects your reasoning.”

Entrepreneur magazine offers these three tips to improve your critical thinking skills:

1.     Identify your purpose.

Focus on the goal you want to achieve and keep that in mind throughout your decision process.

2.     Examine your biases.

Don’t just look at a problem from your own perspective. Remember to look at how your clients, customers and co-workers might perceive the same situation.

3.     Consider the implications of your options.

Take a moment to imagine how a decision would impact all of the stakeholders and consider how they might feel and act in response.

To learn more about critical thinking skills, watch what Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard’s Change Leadership group has to say in this video — 7 Skills students need for their future.

Knowing how important critical thinking is for those in positions of leadership, these skills are included in the curriculum of the Masters of Organizational Leadership program at Alvernia.

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