A couple of months ago, Stephen L. Guinn, Ph.D. and Gary A. Williamson, Ph.D., posted an article on AMAnet.org entitled “Eight Habits of Effective Critical Thinkers.” Most of us would like to be thought of as effective critical thinkers, so what are the eight habits?
- Habit #1: They are more concerned about getting it right than about being right.
- Habit #2: They avoid jumping to conclusions and rushing to judgment.
- Habit #3: They do not accept information at face value.
- Habit #4: They avoid over-analysis that leads to paralysis in decision-making.
- Habit #5: They are continuous learners and work to stay well-informed.
- Habit #6: They show flexibility in their willingness to consider alternative ideas and opinions.
- Habit #7: They use critical thinking on themselves.
- Habit #8: They have a distinctive behavioral style.
All of these habits are important, and most of us have seen these habits observed and violated during our careers.
On reading this article, I was struck in particular by Habit #1: Worrying more about getting it right than being right.
How many times have we seen leaders fail to change course when presented with new information, primarily because they don’t want to look stupid? Or acting without the information they need, because they don’t want to admit they don’t have the information? In fact, it is a fiduciary responsibility of leaders to act in the best interest of their organization, not of themselves.
Unfortunately, it is a human tendency to act in our own best interest.
Have you ever been guilty of worrying more about being right than getting it right?
Which of the other habits do you think are particularly important?
Please leave a comment.