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Attitude + Organization + Communication

Leaders benefit from having the ability to think, lead and serve. While perhaps over simplified, and leaving politics and relationships for another time and place, critical thinking is a necessary attribute for leaders. The following is a construct of attitude, organization and communication relating to critical thinking..... and represent my offering of keys to success.

Bailin (1999) addresses attitude, with learning as a mindset. She asserts critical thinking is not simply a skill, nor a process, nor a procedure, nor behavior or a mental process. Any singular view of these categories is dismissed as superficial analysis. Adopting an attitude of continuous learning offers an opportunity for each learning experience to build upon the knowledge base and adds to one’s capacity to think critically.

Krapp (1998) outlines an organized approach to research and building critical thinking skills. The “Learn to Learn System” provides a guide for developing critical thinking skills. There are general guidelines: relevance, active learning, smaller component parts in relation to a bigger picture, process vs. memorization, and reinforcement. She also outlines three distinct stages: Input, Organization and Output, and provides a six step problem solving process.

Sussex (2010) concentrates on analysis and communicating results. Emphasis is placed on the value of solid research, defined methodology and concise delivery. The authority and validity of conclusions rest on the evidence of research, data and critical analysis. Knowing what questions to ask, which research and data to include, or exclude, performing the appropriate level of empirical data analysis, etc. are essential to building effective critical thinking skills.

From personal experience, there are three keys to success as a leader: attitude, organization and communication. An attitude of life-long learning, grounded in the ability to think critically, encourages leaders to learn and develop others. Organization brings focus to priorities, people and outcomes, helping leaders to cast vision, accomplish mission and measure results. Without the right attitude and organization, a leader’s communication is ineffective and potentially suspect. May your leadership capacity and effectiveness increase.


Bailin, S., Case, R., Coombs, J. R., & Daniels, L. B. (1999, May). Common misconceptions of critical thinking. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 31(3), 269−283.

Krapp, J. V. (1988, January). Teaching research skills: A critical-thinking approach. School Library Journal, 34(5), 32−35

Sussex Language Institute (n.d.). Critical analysis, argument, and opinion.


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