What makes someone an effective leader? For one thing, people look for leadership from those they trust to exercise good judgment. Not every decision can be simply data-driven; many involve difficult tradeoffs among competing priorities, or calls that must be made based on limited information (as in making plans for the future). Great leaders are able to objectively analyze these complex and often politicized situations and arrive at their own conclusions. They have a high capacity, in other words, for critical thinking.
Your essay should offer a point of view on whether the emerging generation of leaders is being sufficiently prepared to exercise the critical thinking required of them. What conditions of the twenty-first century are making this more difficult—or in what ways is critical thinking better supported than in the past?
Showcasing your own powers of independent thought, your essay might address matters such as the following:
How can one discern truth in the jungle of rumor, media, social media posts, websites, analytics, statistics, influencers, etc.?
How do you develop, expand, retain critical thinking skills in yourself?
What actions would you recommend to cultivate more critical thinking—whether at the level of the individual, the team, across society or cultures?
How can we benefit from cultural differences in thinking styles-for example, between East and West?
What lessons have you learned from observing leaders who have exercised good (or bad!) judgment?
Suggested reading: Peter Drucker Managing Oneself; The Effective Decision
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