The humble leader asks:
- Does my experience really qualify me to work this issue? Am I quick to admit when I’’m in domains beyond my expertise?
- To what extent do my prejudices, attitudes or experiences bias my judgment?
- Am I open to consider novel approaches to this problem, and willing to learn and study where warranted?
- To what extent have I analyzed the beliefs I hold which may impede my ability to think critically?
- Do I demonstrate a willingness to yield my positions when sufficient evidence is presented against them?
- To what extent am I willing to stand my ground against the majority (despite ridicule)?
- Do I listen and seek to understand others’ reasoning?
- Do I accurately represent viewpoints with which I disagree? Do I accurately represent their views?
- Do I appreciate insights in the technical views of others and prejudices in my own?
- To what extent do I expect of myself what I expect of others?
- Do what extent are there contradictions or inconsistencies in the way I deal with technical issues?
- To what extent do I strive to recognize and eliminate self-deception or self-interest when reasoning through challenging issues?
- Am I willing to work my way through complexities in an issue or do I tend to give up when challenged?
- Can I think of a difficult similar problem in which I have demonstrated patience and tenacity?
- Am I willing to change my position when the evidence leads to a more reasonable position?
- Do I adhere to technical principles and evidence when persuading others of my position or do I distort matters to support my position?
- Do I encourage others to come to their own technical conclusions or do I try to coerce agreement?
- Do I think through technical issues on my own or do I merely accept others’ conclusions or judgments?
- Am I willing to stand alone against irrational criticism?
- Am I giving dissenting opinions adequate consideration?
- Has self-interest or bias clouded my judgment?
R. J. Niewoehner
United States Naval Academy
Applied Disciplines: A Critical Thinking Model