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Critical Thinking and Military Leadership Many wrongly assume that critical thinking was invented by academics or scientists and has only recently been introduced into military thinking.
But, the opposite is true.
They applied their critical thinking skills of analysis, interpretation, inference, and evaluation to strategic, operational, and tactical problems of all kinds. The same can be said about the great military minds today.
Effective leadership at every level is as much about thinking as it is about motivating and following through. Plans must be devised and tested, adaptions made as conditions change, assumptions tested, and Critical thinking and leadership accounted for.
To lead anything well is to solve complex ill-structured, real-time, problems and to make sound, informed decisions. Successful leadership cannot happen without critical thinking. Strong deductive reasoning skills are vital whenever contexts are precisely defined, whenever operational planning establishes firm deadlines.
Deductive reasoning enables the leader to articulate the sequencing, define the performance tolerances, quantify the minimum and maximum limits, insure the provision of essential resources, and plans each event as a necessary condition for the next. Strong inductive reasoning is essential when making decisions in time-limited contexts involving risk and uncertainty.
Inductive reasoning enables the leader to function well with partial or inconsistent intel, when facing a clever and adaptable enemy, when evaluating the downside risks of unwanted secondary or tertiary effects.
Using inductive reasoning leaders develop contingency plans, improvise tactical work arounds as conditions change, and judge when to move forward aggressively and when to pivot to an alternative approach.
Adaptation achieved through critical thinking is important at every level of the military and defense structure today, given the challenges of combating stateless terrorism and violent fanatical extremism.
Responding to these global and local challenges effectively is not the responsibility of the uniformed military alone. Local law enforcement and intelligence services have major roles to play, as do government officials.
The need for critical thinking in our mutual defense has perhaps never been greater. Leaders trigger critical thinking in themselves and the groups they lead by asking ten key questions: How is this situation like prior situations?
How is this situation NOT like prior situations? What happens if we take this element out of the equation? What happens if we insert this factor into the equation? How is the problem changing over time? How can I adjust and adapt to those changes?
Why are standard approaches consistently failing? How can I drive the chances to achieve advantage?
Why are my people not seeing the complexity? Am I missing anything that other leaders are seeing?Critical thinking has always been a prized attribute of leadership, but over the years, especially as business schools have emphasized quantitative skills over qualitative ones, critical thinking.
Critical thinking is an objective way to assess situations and take actions. It requires elimination of false assumptions and evaluation of criteria-based thought for the purpose of drawing analytics-based conclusions and actualizing organizational potential. Critical thinkers are skeptics (this does not translate to pessimists) – think Yoda, not Homer Simpson.
The Critical Thinking India blog is an online meeting place, to help you stay on top of sophisticated decision making and problem solving as a professional and gain the critical thinking edge in the 21st century workplace. Always be mindful of the barriers to critical thinking, the skills needed, the necessity of discernment and the need to distinguish the truth from the lie.
Take a free practice Critical Thinking test and improve your skills! Take Free Verbal Critical Reasoning Test.
About Critical Thinking Tests. Critical thinking tests measure an individual’s ability to make analyse, conceptualise and reason effectively.
Even though a few classic leadership skills and strategies continue to be effective, today’s volatile environment requires a different leadership skill set. By utilising critical thinking ability at every level, leaders can comprehend the impact of their decisions on the overall business of an.