Well on last evening, I finished another great class in the master’s leadership program. At the end of each class, I participate in a period of time for reflexive journaling into the aspects of the course that have strongly impacted my leadership understanding and behavior. So I will just share a bit of this with you because it will add value to your thought process or perhaps someone’s in your life.
To discern means:
“to perceive by the sight or some other sense or by the intellect; see, recognize, or apprehend: to distinguish mentally; recognize as distinct or different”. Discerning includes a strong element of critical or analytical thinking as part of its inherent composition. Leaders MUST be exposed to this level of skillful thinking because it is an empowerment tool. Leaders cannot make the mistake of confusing subjective reaction with objective evaluation. Objective evaluation protects relationships, builds trust, aids in resolving conflict, and avoids unnecessary hurt to followers. Fact proves that personal paradigms shape our decisions and perception. Our mindsets are strong! Our thinking left to it self is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed and prejudiced. Therefore, a process of thinking is needed to hold oneself accountable for decisions that affect many people on many levels which have far-reaching consequences.
Thinking is defined by 8 elements:
1. think about the clear purpose
2. state the questions
3. gather information
4. clarify your concepts
5. watch your inferences
6. check your assumptions
7. think through implications
8. understand your point of view
Followers will certainly appreciate leaders who are critical thinkers and familiar with elements of thought analysis. Hopefully, these steps can provide a foundational standard for you. Discerning is an ongoing practice in leadership formation.