We’ve developed the Healthcare Leadership Model to help you become a better leader in your day-to-day role. Who is it for?The Healthcare Leadership Model is useful for everyone because it describes the things you can see leaders doing at work and demonstrates how you can develop as a leader – even if you’re not in a formal leadership role.
How does it work?The model is made up of nine leadership dimensions, which you can explore in your own time, at your own pace. Kay: What, in your experience, are the three most important qualities of a leader (think about this as something that will make you automatically look up to the person who possesses these). Kay: Have you ever felt pulled back at taking on a task or assignment that includes managing and leading people? Kay: Is there any technique or something that you’ve deliberately practiced to hone your leadership skill? Beth: Confusion- I want to be as clear as possible so others know what is needed and how to accomplish it. Kay: Would you consider anything that is still in progress with your development – if you had the time and resources to develop just one more skill to add to your repertoire, what would it be?
Beth: Most recently, I coordinated 20 adult friends and 8 children to go on a weekend away. Kay: Well, thank you Beth for sharing your thoughts with us on this very interesting topic. Critical Thinking and JudgmentThe Key to Effective Leadershipby Colonel (Retired) Stephen Gerras, Ph.D.
Organizational Behaviorists cite several key attributes and competencies typically associated with effective leadership. Although many leaders assert the need for more critical thinking, one of the main impediments to understanding and using critical thinking centers on a lack of a common definition.
Figure 3-1 presents a critical thinking model that will be explained throughout the rest of this paper. An example of an automatic mode of cognitive thought is the routine of driving down the Interstate at 70 miles per hour to a familiar destination.
Exercising controlled thought involves the deliberate use of elements of critical thinking. A critical element, and often the first step, in critical thinking methodology is to clarify concern. As we attempt to empathize with the viewpoint of others, our own self-awareness becomes increasingly important. Unfortunately, this constant positive reinforcement in the form of promotion and selection for key jobs sometimes encourages an absolutist frame of reference within a narrow point of view. The arrows in the critical thinking model show that various assumptions influence all aspects of the model. Peter Senge wrote in The Fifth Discipline about the importance of dialogue, as opposed to discussion, in a learning organization. Another component of the critical thinking model that needs to be considered is to make sound inferences. Critical thinkers strive to become adept at making sound inferences.8 Ask yourself, What are the key inferences made in this situation? The most detailed part of the critical thinking model focuses on the evaluation of information and stems from the disciplines of behavioral economics, psychology, and philosophy. Decisionmakers often rely on simplifying strategies or "general rules of thumb" called heuristics, which are a mechanism for coping with decision-making in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) environments.
Heuristics as an aid to decision-making are not bad; in fact, if we did not use heuristics, we would probably be paralyzed with inaction. Heuristics help leaders to make good decisions rapidly a significant proportion of the time.
There are three general heuristics: (1) the availability heuristic, (2) the representativeness heuristic, and (3) the anchoring and adjustment heuristic. The representativeness heuristic focuses on the tendency for people to make judgments regarding an individual, object, or event by assessing how much the item of interest is representative. In addition to developing an understanding of biases and heuristics as a means to improve his or her ability to evaluate information critically, a strong critical thinker also assesses the soundness of the arguments presented. The premises are relevant to the conclusion and provide sufficient support for the conclusion.
The average viewer probably thought these arguments made sense, but as critical thinkers, we need to assess arguments, especially important and relevant arguments, to identify fallacious reasoning. As part of considering implications, the critical thinker needs to analyze the impact of a decision on all relevant stakeholders.
The bottom line is that a critical thinker considers all these things in a deliberate and conscious manner. Richard Paul and Linda Elder, Critical Thinking, Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life (Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001), 214. Theodore Schick, Jr., and Lewis Vaughn, How to Think About Weird Thingsa€“a€“Critical Thinking for a New Age, 3rd ed.
Lean Leadership Academy Executive Director Sam MacPherson presented at the TWI conference in Nashville Tennessee.


Lean Leadership Academy co-founder Sam MacPherson talks about what we can learn from special forces leadership. The presentation file for our talk at the AME conference in Toronto is very large due to the number of pictures included in the document.
The following is an update to the presentation I gave to Industry Week a few months ago regarding this topic. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. You’ll find brief descriptions of each dimension – why it is important and ‘what it is not’ – so that you can fully understand it in relation to your role. The best managers understand the qualities of a good leader and how to cultivate them in others.  Leadership goes far beyond just the task. Learn to communicate your ideas clearly to others so they can buy into your vision and join you.
I am still learning new ways to be more efficient and refining my own communication style to empower and share my vision with others. At some point the driver may recognize that he or she is not quite sure where he or she is or does not actually remember driving the last five miles; it is probably because the mind has switched to an automatic processing mode. Knowing when to reign back on automatic processing in order to conduct a conscious assessment of the parameters of the situation is more an art than a science. Leaders need to be self-aware of egocentric tendencies, which are probably the most significant barrier to effective critical thinking3. Many college students, for example, think that they have figured out how the world works, and they are exceedingly confident that their view is correct. Egocentric memory is a natural tendency to forget information that does not support one's line of thinking. Indeed, our point of view, our inferences, and whether we decide a problem is worthy of critical thinking all affect how we pose questions, seek solutions, and select answers. He posits, "In dialogue, a group explores complex difficult issues from many points of view. Critical thinkers need to be skilled at making sound inferences and at identifying when they and others are making inferences.
Critical thinkers need to appreciate not only the framework for assessing their own thinking, but also the heuristics that they and others rely upon when making decisions. Unfortunately, however, heuristics also can lead decisionmakers into making systematically biased mistakes. The availability heuristic acknowledges that people typically assess the likelihood of an event by the ease with which examples of that event can be brought to mind.
Several biases emanate from this heuristic; two of the most prevalent are problems with sample size and regression to the mean. Research has shown that decisionmakers develop estimates by starting from an initial anchor, based on whatever information is provided, and adjust from there to yield a final answer.10 Effective leaders are aware of this bias and consciously ensure they do not get locked into a course of action because they failed to shift from the first option provided. When we make an argument, we offer reasons as to why others should accept our view(s) or judgment.
Bad judgments prompted by fallacious reasoning that draws upon invalid and questionable evidence are the enemy of critical thinkers.
Many leaders, because they have never really learned the difference between a good argument and a fallacious one, are often persuaded to accept and believe things that are not logically supported. Critical thinkers need to understand the short-term consequences of accepting initial inferences or resisting opposing perspectives.
All leaders, but especially senior leaders, must continuously ask themselves, "Is this something I need to think about critically? Bazerman, Judgment in Managerial Decision Making (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2002), 6a€“7.
Since there has been considerable interest Industry Week was kind enough to post the slides and audio onto You Tube in the form of a video lecture. And it doesn’t matter whether you work in a team of five or are responsible for 5,000, you can benefit by discovering and exploring your own leadership behaviours. He teases out the pieces of a project so that others can work on it and share the ownership with him. I am VERY proud of this accomplishment even though it’s not what typically emerges as leadership.
Most of the material about critical thinking derives from philosophy, education, and psychology.1 Some leaders mistakenly refer to the critical in critical thinking as mere fault-finding.
A good rule of thumb is if you are in doubt as to whether to use critical thinking about an issue, you probably ought to apply critical thinking. When faced with a decision, leaders often spend the bulk of their time reviewing possible choices.
This type of egocentric leaning tends to also insulate leaders with regard to their actual thinking processes and often presents a significant obstacle to their empathizing with and considering the viewpoint of others.
Truly, the more in touch an individual is with his or her assumptions, the more effective a critical thinker he or she will be. Individuals suspend their assumptions but they communicate their assumptions freely."6 To suspend assumptions, leaders must first be aware of them.


An inference is a step of the mind or an intellectual leap of faith by which one concludes that something is true because something else is true or seems to be true.
Remembering the earlier components of the critical thinking model, obviously inferences are heavily influenced by the point of view and assumptions we bring to the issue.
The concept of heuristics relates strongly to the automatic mode of cognitive thought described earlier. Your heuristic might be, "If there's frost on the car, I wear the parka." Without this heuristic shortcut, you would have to check the thermometer and compare it to a chart that prescribed the correct coat to wear under certain temperature conditions.
Cognitive bias occurs when an individual inappropriately applies a heuristic when making a decision.9 As critical thinkers, we need to be aware of cognitive biases to more effectively evaluate information. Sample size bias occurs when decisionmakers improperly generalize the reliability of sample information.
As a critical thinker evaluates information, he or she needs to ask: Are the premises acceptable?
They obviously also have to appreciate the long-term consequences of the information they accept and the decisions they make, including the second- and third-order effects. Maher, "Cognitive Theory in Industrial and Organizational Psychology," in Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology, ed. For those parties interested in a copy a compressed pdf format is available for download in two sections. The other person I really look up to is a woman named Stacy Bartholomew, she easily navigates conversation and empowering others to accomplish the task at hand.
I am also proud of the way the students are progressing toward their business plan goals though NFTE. How does the brain permit this mode of thought while operating a 5,000-pound vehicle moving 70 miles per hour and within several feet of large tractor trailers moving equally fast?
The main point is that most routine decisions made on a day-to-day basis do not involve critical thinking; however, once familiar with the concepts and terminology of critical thinking, you are in the position to ask yourself whether the issue being considered warrants the application of critical thinking methodology. Egocentric righteousness describes a tendency to feel superior based on the belief that one has actually figured out how the world works.
This reflective self-inquiry, in relation to a specific concern, is extremely important in the critical thinking process, as is the creation of a climate in which individuals feel free to communicate their assumptions and to question others. This explains why two leaders viewing the same PowerPoint slide may come to completely different conclusions in terms of what the data mean or represent.
This heuristic works well in most instances; however, a critical thinker needs to be aware of the biases that result from an expeditious process. Leaders often draw important conclusions based on information they receive from one or two individuals; this is often problematic.
I just learned about Sheryl Sandberg, and I look forward to learning more about her style as a leader because I think I will resonate with it. The word critical refers to the purposeful, reflective, and careful evaluation of information as a way to improve one's judgment. The explanation is that over time, driving even at a high rate of speed becomes an "automatic" routine.
We want to develop a frame of reference that is evenhanded and open to other points of view. For example, a senior leader doing performance appraisals on two equally capable subordinates might be inclined to give the subordinate who challenged him at the last team meeting a lower rating.
What if the variables I think are defined are actually uncertain or quite different from what I think? As senior leaders, whether we are evaluating the information from a PowerPoint presentation at a business meeting, reading a newspaper article, or participating in a discussion with the head of our India office, we constantly face demands requiring critical thinking. The route we drive to work, what clothes we wear to a party, and what book we read on Saturday are examples of decisions or concerns that do not normally require critical thinking and can be made in an "automatic" mode of cognitive thought. To conserve mental energy, the brain tends to reduce focus, especially with seemingly routine activities.
In fact, it may become absolutely essential that we examine a problem from a variety of points of view. The recentness and vividness of the challenge might cause the senior leader to overlook the impressive accomplishments of this particular subordinate and accord a rating that is actually inconsistent with the individual's performance. What things haven't I considered that I need to consider?" Many of these questions will be ignored or minimized if the egocentric tendencies discussed earlier override sound judgment.
Consequently, one of the most important things that a leader must learn is not simply how to think critically, but how to do it well. Good critical thinkers, however, do their best to recognize their own point of view and to consider, understand, and even empathize with other views. Have I considered all the implications?" The more we can introduce these terms and concepts into our thought processes, the more we will exercise sound judgment and make better decisions, become more skilled negotiators, and improve our leadership skills. Many political, business, and public sector leaders emphasize the need for Americans to become better critical thinkers.



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