Two Types of Leadership ThinkingArticle by Maynard Brusman, January 7, 2019
In this over-information age, an alarming number of business plans fail because leaders ignore the facts needed to make sound decisions. Misguided perspectives can be blamed on a lack of data, wrong data or the inability to understand relevance. Even in hindsight, some leaders fail to see what went wrong.
A fast-paced culture requires precise planning, effective decisions and timely actions, all relying on dependable information. Leaders who want to move their organizations forward must gather evidence, ask the right questions, verify presumed facts and decipher vast amounts of data.
Business plans suffer when:
- Leaders ignore available information.
- Necessary data aren’t acquired in time to make decisions.
- Data are available, but leaders fail to analyze them appropriately.
- Leaders may choose to overlook key details.
Two Types of Thinking
Of all the skills leaders require today, perhaps none is as challenging as adequately processing information. The ability to spot holes in data, conceive solutions and analyze results calls for sharp thinking.
Thinking can be broken down into two primary categories, suggests Harvard Business School Professor Max H. Bazerman, PhD, in The Power of Noticing: What the Best Leaders See (Simon & Schuster, 2015): intuitive and deliberative.
We employ intuitive thinking during crises, when immediacy is required. Our thinking is instantaneous, with emotion as a factor, and it produces reactionary responses. Sudden information is generally incomplete, incorporating whatever is available at the moment.
By contrast, leaders sift through information, take time to gather data and draw conclusions when employing deliberative thinking. Such thinking is reasoned and structured, diving deep into the issues at hand. We gather data from non-immediate sources, compiling and assessing it to make a more systematic evaluation.
Leaders frequently—and unnecessarily—put themselves in the intuitive-thinking mode, Dr. Bazerman asserts. They over-rely on speed, neglecting to step back and analyze data. Consequently, they avoid doing sufficient research and make ill-informed decisions and plans.
Dr. Maynard Brusman
Consulting Psychologist & Executive Coach
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Tags: emotional intelligence, executive coaching, leadership development, leadership thinking styles, mindful leadership