To Lead by Example, Your Leaders Must Excel in Critical Thinking
Engineers and scientists are firmly grounded in critical thinking. To guide and inspire, their leaders have to possess superior reasoning abilities and more. Imagine the following list of projects
- Engineering for an urban multimodal public transportation hub,
- Designing an ultra-high-speed sub-zero integrated electronic circuit,
- Developing the effective annual flu vaccine,
- Creating a new biomechanical interface to enhance touch or auditory perception,
- Improving molecular bonding adhesive for construction,
- Assuring safe driverless transport,
- Tailoring environmentally sustainable consumer goods.
These challenges require specific critical thinking skills and mindset attributes, in both leaders and teams. Whether leading R&D or an innovation project, leaders requires more than knowledge and experience. Critical thinking is the third component, the trifecta of criteria for outstanding leadership.
To Succeed, Leaders Display 7 Critical Thinking Strengths
- They ask relevant questions, EVALUATE the possible problems they see, and more carefully define them.
- This REFLECTIVE CRITICAL THINKING process enables them to determine the kind of data they will need to study the problem and explore solutions.
- They gather those data, and then ANALYZE AND INTERPRET those data.
- They use models and analogies to help them INFER possible solutions and then they evaluate those potential solutions in the light of the available evidence and standards.
- When numerical contexts are involved, which is almost always, they use QUANTITATIVE REASONING to confidently draw INDUCTIVE and DEDUCTIVE INFERENCES as precisely as the evidence allows.
- They organize their findings and make evidence-based arguments to EVALUATE solution options.
- As their professions demand, they are ready to carefully EXPLAIN their findings and recommendations.
The capitalized words emphasize the many points where critical thinking and quantitative reasoning are vital.
The most important consideration for these leaders is to achieve an optimal resolution based upon solid evidence. This approach is self-monitoring and self-corrective.
Leadership must be strong in analysis, interpretation, deductive inference, inductive inference, evaluation, explanation, and numeracy. Leaders must be reflective and monitor their own thinking processes. They must also make any adjustments to their preliminary conclusions, when evidence demands.
Engaging these Skills, Leaders Require 7 Mindset Attributes
- That mindset includes being TRUTH-SEEKING. This means being committed to following reasons and evidence wherever they may lead.
- They must be OPEN-MINDED about ways of defining the problem and alternative solutions. This allows them to explore those possibilities objectively.
- They must have the FORESIGHT to anticipate the kinds of evidence that will be needed, and they must be SYSTEMATIC and focused in gathering those data.
- Science and engineering, especially, demands CONFIDENCE IN REASONING. Demonstrated success will cause others to have confidence in their work.
- Scientific and engineering leaders must be INQUISITIVE. They strive to understand why and how things work. They look for causes so that they can explain, predict, and, where possible, control phenomena.
- They are RESOURCEFUL and COLLABORATIVE because the problems they embrace are large, complex, and important.
- They do not tolerate ill-conceived or over-simplified responses to complex problems. Instead, they exhibit a timely MATURITY OF JUDGMENT.
The capitalized words show the importance of mindset for success in science or engineering leaders. These positive mindset attributes literally define the best professionals in these and other fields.
Assessing and training leaders in critical thinking
Insight Assessment provides solutions to to build strong critical thinking skills and mindset attributes.
We offer a comprehensive array of assessment instruments for business professionals, first responders, educators, health science practitioners, military and defense specialists, and legal professionals, staff, and executives. These assessments target core critical thinking skills and mindset attributes as they are applied in specific professions.
Fortunately, these skills and attributes can be assessed and trained at all levels.
- Assess these metrics when using INSIGHT Science and Engineering Professional for hiring and talent identification.
- STEM college students can demonstrate their strengths when assessed with the CCTST and the CCTDI.
- INSIGHT Development Program is an online training program designed to help employers build critical thinking in teams as well as in individuals.