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  • Deb McClelland, onBOARD Training

Are you a critical thinker, or just critical?

When I speak with boards about recruiting new directors, I talk about the importance of finding true leaders; influencers who will help their boards make good decisions and formulate solid direction for their organizations.


In order to develop a strong board, we need to have diversity of opinion around the boardroom table. If all directors think alike, a board’s decisions may not be thoroughly thought out. They may not have considered other perspectives. That means it is important to have different types of thinkers or decision-makers on our boards.


One such influencer is a critical thinker.


I am careful to describe this person as someone who can see all sides to a situation and help others to consider those perspectives before they all come to a decision together.


However, we must be able to discern the difference between a critical thinker and a critical spirit.


A critical spirit would believe their perspective is the only valid one to consider and would not accept the board’s decision if it contradicts their own opinion. A critical spirit is argumentative in board meetings and would speak negatively about the board outside of the boardroom.


A productive critical thinker delivers their message in a positive manner. They acknowledge that others have different opinions than themselves and agree that those opinions are also valid. They actually invite and enjoy thorough, healthy discussion. A productive critical thinker accepts the decision of the whole group and is supportive of the board outside of their meetings.


A critical thinker is therefore looked upon as being a positive influencer for the board and a valuable part of the team.


If you consider yourself a critical thinker, my question is – are you a positive influencer or are you just a critical-spirited person? I hope that you choose to use and develop your critical powers for good!



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