10 Ways Great Thinking Boost The Problem Solving Energy Of Leaders
All leaders think but some think much more than others. Leaders are thinkers, but a few perform better than others when it comes to thinking and converting their thoughts into reality – that is the output of the exercise. For a leader, there is always a concern as to what they think and the impact of their thoughts on their actions. A leader can boost their problem-solving energy in the following ten (10) ways
- Information acquisition. What makes a great leader is the quality of information she/he is exposed to that inspires them to greater thinking. Information is the food of the mind and the quality of information a mind is exposed to makes it more nourished and enriched with innovative ideas. Leaders feed their minds with information or the results of studies carried out by other researchers. They filter useful and applicable knowledge from these materials and adapt it to suit their ideas. Such information is available in good books by proven authors, brochures, magazines, compact discs, etc.
- Being concentrated and focused in your thinking. Every problem has layers of difficulty wrapped around its core. By concentrated and focused thinking, a leader peels each layer from the problem by finding workable answers through experimentation, consistent practice and unrelenting demonstration of faith in achieving what is impossible to many, in some cases.
- Mental framing of solutions through thinking. Every leader must know that all problems have more than one solution. Through thinking, a leader must develop several mental frames of solving the problems by asking critical questions. Mentally framed solutions create thinking frames that constitute the backbone of solving problems. At the end, more answers are produced than questions out of which the leader can select the best preference.
- Engaging in self-talk through mind debate or confrontation. Do leaders talk to themselves? The answer is yes, though a few seldom do. Critical thinking involves mind debate where the leader confronts ideas, solutions and strategies with different arguments in order to detect the strength or weakness of their thinking. In leadership, no matter how intense the thinking process was, there may be weaknesses. Through self-talk or confrontation, the leader can eliminate these lines of weaknesses before they are placed in public domain. Ideas can be great but until they are debated, you will never know their strengths or weaknesses.
- Reflective thinking. Leaders undertake reflective thinking when they consider information from different sources by examining successes, failures and by challenging the results produced by their current circumstances. Through reflection, they reach conclusions that if the context fits with the information, an action leads to results.
- Problem-focused versus result-focused thinking. Leaders sometimes become engrossed by permitting either problems or results to cloud their thinking processes. Problem focused thinking is when a leader becomes too absorbed by the magnitude of a problem making it difficult for him/her to see solutions. On the other hand, result focused thinking is when the leader is result oriented and pays little or no attention to the core of the problem statement. One side of the divide emphasizes pessimism while the other deals with utmost optimism. In between, the leader must think the issues through to balance out problems with solutions.
- Analytical thinking. Leaders do engage in analytical thinking when difficult situations are broken into parts and the impact of each components are analyzed to find out what works and what doesn’t. It is more complicated when the problem is like onions. You must adopt onion/dough approach by removing each layer, deal with it, and peel out another
- Experience-based thinking. This is borne out of the personal experience of the leader who believes that because a strategy worked or failed in the past, it will always produce the same result. Experiential thinkers try to validate their future with experiences of successes or failures which can constitute a blockade to new thinking and ideas in solving persisting problems. It can also lead to new ideas created from the experience.
- Group/Team enhanced thinking. Leaders sometimes engage experts, peers or their followers in discussing ideas, programs and tasks to gain support and incorporate their suggestions/recommendations prior to implementation. In securing group/team input, the leader should introduce the subject and allow members to make their contributions to facilitate enhanced thinking. This helps in building idea ownership and team spirit of group/team members in driving the project to its successful end.
- Diversity based thinking. Leaders do this by bringing together people with diverse and opposing ideas to discuss and think through a course of action. By so doing, the leader gains insight into diverse views and works out modalities of harnessing these views for the benefit of all. In doing this, the leader should be careful so the opposes do not become destroyers.
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