[October 20, 2017] There’s a saying that one of the most difficult skill for a leader to gain and maintain is thinking clearly and accurately. At first glance, one would not think it that much of an obstacle but the experience of senior leaders says otherwise. Accurate thinking means several things; most important of all is they do not allow others to think for them.
Good leaders are those who are able to complete their mission and have done so by separating facts from hype, myth, rumor, and the proverbial flood of information. Thinking accurately requires an investment in time and energy as well as focus to create and keep such thinking sharp.
“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” – Henry Ford, American captain of industry
There are many who talk about leadership, act like they know what it is, and pontificate endlessly on the subject. Those who teach leadership in the classroom often fall into this category because they fail to provide the environment where leadership is grown and accurate thinking is fertilized.
How do they grow accurate thinking?
Leaders who are accurate thinkers are the masters of their emotions; they are professionally unemotional and possess a degree of detachment. Yet they care about others. Emotions can interfere with the job and most senior leaders are particularly adept at preventing their emotions from entering into their decision making.
Those who study accurate thinking in senior leaders have found that the most successful leaders are able to quickly separate facts from mere information and separate facts into the important and unimportant. Military experience tells us that the latter is fundamentally important otherwise such leaders would be overwhelmed with data rather than analyses. They focus on the facts as well as the important.
Napoleon Hill, American self-help author, suggests that accurate thinkers “accept no political, religious, or other type of thought, regardless of its source, until it is carefully analyzed.”1 Ego is usually the culprit that acts as a barrier to such thinking but we are also not taught how to think. He suggests that a conscious effort be made to overcome commonplace barriers to thinking.
A mind must be cultivated into something productive and that must be learned. Use it wisely.
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- https://www.foodserviceresource.com/AboutUs/17%20Principles.pdf (see the last page).