Flexible Thinking Leadership

Flexible Thinking: Some Basics

In Guest Blogs by William Brashers, PhD

Ask the Dr. Insight from William Brashers, PHD

FMA Guest Blogger

The last several articles have focused on visioning and its applications. In this article we are moving on to examine a very important part of leadership thinking.
I won’t put a label on this just now, but we’re talking about how to achieve flexibility, insight, and judgment in our thinking. We’ll begin with flexibility.

Developing the ability to think is the most crucial mission a serious leader faces. Followers constantly assess whether the leader remains smart enough to be worth following. Our people are a moving target. If we are doing our job as leaders, they will be growing. If we leaders are not growing, they will outgrow us.

The most basic factor in achieving mental freedom is to recognize that we are not our thoughts. We think thoughts, we embrace thoughts, we reject thoughts, we replace thoughts — we are not those thoughts. Until we realize this, we will identify with our thoughts and feel compelled to defend them as if they were our very life. You’ve met such people They are smart, but completely locked into a defined point of view, one which may or may not be appropriate to the situation at hand. When their ideas are questioned, or alternatives provided, they dig in to their off-base position and go on a defensive offense.

No one ever got smarter by rejecting better ideas in favor of outmoded ones. But to feel comfortable exploring ideas different from ours, we must distinguish who we are as the thinker from our inventory of thoughts. The beautiful thing about thinking is that you don’t have to believe everything you think. We are free to think almost anything without fear that we’ll lose ourselves.
Once we’ve made the distinction between ourselves as thinker and our thoughts as inventory, we can step back and evaluate what points of view we wish to affirm, embrace, and promote versus those we reject, discard, and suppress. It is not the thinking of the thought, but the adoption of the thought that gives it life.

Think this over, and experience the increased freedom and flexibility of your thinking. Have fun with it.

About the Author
William Brashers, PhD

William Brashers, PhD

Bartell & Bartell

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Dr. William “Bill” Brashers, Bartell & Bartell Ltd.’s director of development services, is an organizational psychologist specializing in adult development issues in organizations. Bill authors many columns a year in this space on organizational and leadership technologies. If you’d like a partner in your journey toward peak performance, FMA members are eligible for exclusive discounts on Bartell & Bartell’s most popular programs, which offer multiple levels of assistance unleashing potential in your people and optimizing your organizational intelligence. For more information, visit fmanet.org/membership or call 888-394-4362.

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