In a study from the Center for Creative Leadership, it was discovered that a leader’s key to success is their ability to ask questions and create opportunities for others to ask questions. Effective leaders use the power of questions to influence others, encourage teamwork, foster creative thinking, empower team members, build relationships, and solve problems.
The practice of thinking more critically begins with learning to ask powerful questions that provoke reflection, get meaningful information and initiate action.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
Yet, over and over we do exactly that – solve problems with current thinking. Round and round, we go and we wonder why we don’t get the results we want in our business or personal lives.
In his book, Thinking for a Change, John Maxwell indicates that the difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is how they think. How skilled is your thinking? How skilled are you at helping other people think? Do you encourage the kind of thinking that Maxwell suggests will increase your odds for success?
- Are you thinking beyond yourself and your world to see the big picture?
- Are you focused or are you distracted and full of mental clutter?
- Are you willing to step outside the box and get creative?
- Are you using realistic thinking to build a strong foundation?
- Are you creating strategic action plans that increase future potential?
- Are you seeing problems or looking for possibilities?
- Are you gaining a true perspective by reflecting on the past?
- Are you questioning the acceptance of popular trends to achieve uncommon results?
- Are you encouraging collaboration to attain compounding results?
- Are you looking for ways to add value to others?
- Are you focused on results to enjoy the return of bottom line thinking?
Believe it or not, it isn’t luck, education, or smartness that leads to greater influence and success. I am sure you know someone born into a privileged lifestyle but has not achieved meaningful personal success, or someone who has a great education behind them but is not using it to their full potential.
And then there are those really smart people … they may be brilliant subject matter experts, but they may lack the ability to think from a larger perspective.
Critical thinking can be traced back to the time of Socrates, who used the process of asking and answering questions to illuminate ideas.
Today it shows up through coaching and facilitation skills. When conducting meetings or presenting principles and ideas to others, take a moment and evaluate your approach.
- Are you unconsciously mind dumping everything you know in your allotted time?
- Or, are you taking the time to help others develop conclusions and their own thought?
- What will the difference be to your results if you changed your approach and encouraged various ways of thinking, problem solving, and formulation of new ideas?
Consider the benefits of helping others develop their critical thinking skills. When you change your thinking, you can and will improve your influence and change your results. Or, as the late Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”