Thinker-Auguste-Rodin What is your process to expand your leadership knowledge box?

...but the training of the mind to think.”

When Albert Einstein said these words, the internet did not exist. The networks that did exist in the form of telegraph and telephone did not provide access to data and information as we have now. One could almost say we no longer need to learn facts because we have access to them instantly through any number of Google searches. More importantly, the second part of his quote still resonates today. We would suggest it has become harder to train the mind to think than it was even in Einstein’s day.

Training the mind to think is what critical thinking is all about, especially for 21st Century Leaders. According to Drs. Richard Paul and Linda Elder, critical thinking is where the thinker improves the quality of their thinking based on how they think and the associated intellectual standards. As human beings, much of our thinking is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed or prejudiced based on the values and attitudes of our past. We recently wrote about how we are not born with values and progress through various stages of value development before entering the workforce as adults. Therefore, the quality of leadership depends on the quality of the leader’s habit of thought or attitude. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated as any habit would.

Drs. Paul and Elder, as part of the Foundation for Critical Thinking (FCT) speak to a critical thinking process based on three major components: (1) Intellectual Standards that are applied to (2) Elements of Thought that develop (3) Intellectual Traits. Let’s explore each of these as they apply to becoming an effective critical thinking leader:

Critical thinking is not a new concept to the world of leadership. However, due to the pace at which information, and misinformation, flows it presents a modern-day challenge for the 21st Century Leader. Not making the time to apply the standards of thinking to the elements of reasoning only reinforces lazy thinking and widens the knowledge gap that already exists. Frederick Douglass famously said, “Educate your sons and daughters, send them to school and show them that besides the cartridge box, the ballot box, and the jury box, you have also the knowledge box.”

What is your process to expand your leadership knowledge box?

Lead Well!