Are you an egocentric thinker? Do you know of or work with any leaders who are egocentric thinkers? I’ve been reading Critical Thinking Concepts and Tools by Dr. Richard Paul and Dr. Linda Elder who are associated with The Foundation For Critical Thinking. I have to admit this information is very interesting to me! As I continuously work to improve my leadership skills, reading information like this is beneficial to my growth.
What is an egocentric thinker? Paul and Elder conclude the following-“egocentric thinking results from the unfortunate fact that humans do not naturally consider the rights and needs of others.” When I read this sentence, I immediately thought about the current status of our country. We appear to be moving in a direction where more and more people are not considerate of others. The world has always had this problem but it seems to be a growing trend.
Continuing the explanation-“We do not naturally appreciate the point of view of others nor the limitations in our own point of view. We become explicitly aware of our egocentric thinking only if trained to do so. We do not naturally recognize our egocentric assumptions, the egocentric way we use information, the egocentric way we interpret data, the source of our egocentric concepts and ideas, the implications of our egocentric thought. We do not naturally recognize our self-serving perspective.”
“Instead of using intellectual standards in thinking, we often use self-centered psychology standards to determine what to believe and what to reject. Here are the most commonly used psychological standards in human thinking:”
“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I BELIEVE IT.”
“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE WE BELIEVE IT.”
“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I WANT TO BELIEVE IT.”
“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE I HAVE ALWAYS BELIEVED IT.”
“IT’S TRUE BECAUSE IT IS IN MY SELFISH INTEREST TO BELIEVE IT.”
The authors provided an explanation for each of the psychological standards mentioned above. All this information can be found at http://www.criticalthinking.org
If you are a public school leader or a leader of any organization, what type of thinker are you? I believe we can all analyze successful leaders we worked with or know about to determine their approach to leadership. Was the person you thought about an egocentric thinker? Based on this information, egocentric thinkers are more than likely not effective leaders but is all dependent on the organizational needs at the time they were leading as well as other factors. When I read the last psychological standard regarding selfish interests, my thought quickly went to the bull in the china shop analogy!
If we want to be effective leaders, reflection has to be used to analyze how we operate for improvement purposes. Self-reflection is not easy for some (can be learned though) so find a mentor or someone you trust to provide feedback. Once you know where you stand, make adjustments to make sure you are or on the way to become an effective leader.