3 Reasons Why Leadership and Thinking are Irrefutable

Thinking

image by @boetter

Leadership is about taking action while thinking is primarily about taking mental action (Click here to Tweet that). To fully engage in the mental action of thinking requires that you separate yourself from the demand of life and leadership (Both physically and mentally).

This can be a challenge because leaders can become so action and task oriented that they overlook the value and benefits of concentrated thinking. Below are 3 reasons why thinking is irrefutable in your leadership journey.

1. It assists you in finding the best solutions-

When you are faced with a problem, obstacle, or issue you can come to the best solution when you take time to think on it. The amount of thinking time depends on the size of the needed solution. The day to day problems or obstacle can be solved quickly (with little thinking time required). However, huge and seemly insurmountable problems or obstacle require that you engage in specific problem solving thinking. The best leaders take time to think fully through the problem to find the best solutions.

2. It allows you to learn from your experiences-

Life and leadership offer countless experiences. Everyone goes through successes, failures, personal accomplishments, professional achievements, memorable and less than memorable experiences. You are able to grow and learn through your experiences when you are deliberate about thinking on them. Investing in thinking about the experiences you have been through allow you to see what worked and what did not work. It can allow you to make changes so you are better able to handle the future.

3. It sparks creativity and ideas-

The principle of specific thinking is about, “taking time to think on or about a specific topic, such as those connected or related to your industry, field, niche, strengths, passions, and dreams”~The Leadership Mandate. When you concentrate your thinking on one of the above areas, it will spark your creativity and ideas for that specific area. When you need an innovative or new idea, take time to adapt this principle into your life. You will be amazed with the results.

Question: What other reasons can you add to why thinking is irrefutable in a leaders life? What are you going to do to implement thinking into your regular schedule?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Agree completely that leaders need think time. Leaders need to be mindful of situations and process all the information taken in. Time should be taken to think through options or think about innovative approaches. Spending the time to think will enables leaders to lead more effectively. Great points, Dan.

    • Hello Jon,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and add to the discussion. Thinking is beneficial and valuable for a leader but many don’t implement regular thinking time.

  • DS

    When we stop and think it allows our mind to catch up, instead of constantly reacting. Then if we take the time to think we can reflect on events or decisions. When we allow our mind to reflect, it can work on our problems and decisions in the background subconsciously. Once we do that we really tap into some power.

    • That’s a great point! In a fast past world our minds need time to reflect and “catch up.” Thank you for reading and adding to the topic.

  • Everyone needs to think, not just leaders. A life void of thinking is a messy life, very disorganized. Thinking is the process by which we capture our thoughts. We determine which ones need to stay and be processed further and which ones are unhealthy and need to go. Thinking helps prevent problems, and it helps strengthen relationships. Thinking takes us from mediocre to excellence. I am a thinker and spend regular time thinking. Actually, I tend to over-think things, meaning I need to take action and quit thinking sometimes. Habits I used to think include no music during windshield time and sometimes not even when I run or bike. I also have an idea book where I write down ideas and also one that is more visual where I do a lot of mind mapping. Thinking really means not being lazy about what happens in your inner life.

    • I totally agree, thinking should be adapted by everyone:) What great thoughts, Kari! I really like the idea of a “idea book.” I use Evernote to write down my ideas and thoughts. It;s important to have a place to write out our thoughts then to put them to action! Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • Excellent post Dan. I believe everyone should commit time and engaged intentionally on thinking habit because otherwise, he/she cannot control his or her life. Excellent post, Dan, as usual.

    • Thank you, Takis:) It’s an essential aspect to success and leadership. Thank you for stopping by to share.

      • You welcome, Dan. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

        • I’m glad to start the conversation/topic in a post. But I’ve found the comments are where the golden nuggets of wisdom can be found.

          • You have right, Dan. Conversation is one of the ways to build strong communities, clarify views and aspects and communicate more clear your ideas. Besides, leadership starts from clear communication and a coherent vision. Thank you for sharing.

            • Great point, “Leadership starts from clear communication and a coherent vision.” That’s some wise words. Thank you for sharing:)

  • Great post Dan. I some times get in the false mentality that I don’t have time and make way to quick of decisions. When I have slowed down and thought about it I have saved way more time. So that would be my other reason. backing off and thinking will save you and me time and energy. Due to smarter working not harder working.

    • Thank you, Zech! It defiantly requires being intentional and deliberate. Those are great addition to taking time to think, thank you for sharing:)

  • My first thought was the same as Zech’s below. One of the main benefits of “stopping to think” is the stopping part.

    • Yes, I totally agree. We should turn that into a regular habit. Thank you for taking the time to share.

  • reflection such an important habit for leaders – otherwise we find ourselves down the wrong path, much further along than we wish – and then we realize that pothers have been following us there too!

    • Yes it is. Great point, it’s not only for our own benefit but those who follow us. Thank you for reading and adding to the discussion.

  • I have worked for too many managers who simply don’t think first. They act, or worse re-act to situations. Sometimes, a few days — or a least a few hours — can spell the difference.

    I enjoyed Thom Raniers’s article on 7 Deadly Thoughts of Leaders that compliments this article.Pastors.com

    • That can be dangers, to act or re-act without thinking through a situation. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

  • I have worked for too many managers who don’t think. In fact, we often act — or re-act – far too quickly. Just let things simmer — think for a few days or even hours can make all the difference in the world.

  • Thinking, and…..talking to others? Sometimes I spend so much time in my head, that talking to others about what I’ve thought helps me learn from situations more.

    • Great point, talking out our ideas and thoughts to others is so essential. Thank you for sharing you wisdom with us:)

  • If a leader isn’t thinking ahead to what might be coming there way, they’ll get blindsided by a Mack truck… What worked this season may not the next. It is the leaders with wisdom that navigate the shark filled waters successfully. No thinking, no wisdom… Good one, Dan.

    • So true, Floyd. Great analogy. Thank you for adding to the discussion:)

  • I don’t have time to make the same mistake twice (though I too often do it anyway- wink).

    Taking the time to reflect upon situations is a great way to learn what worked and what didn’t work.

    I remember in nursing school I used to study for hours. I would go to bed thinking about procedures and diseases. Doing that helped me really LEARN it. I never wanted to err and hurt someone because of carelessness or ignorance, so I invested my time in learning how to be the best nurse I could be.

    • I feel your pain:)

      I’ve read research studies talk about the things that we thinking about right before going to sleep, that we tend to think on those things subconsciously while sleeping. It’s why I try to be praying or talking with God before bed. I want those thoughts to be with me while sleeping. Thank you for adding to the discussion.

      • That’s an interesting study.
        I like to sing my favorite praise songs before falling asleep. Often, I wake to check on the kiddo and find they are still spinning in my head. Singing helps keep the “to-do” list from stealing my sleep.

        • Yes, I’ve read it several times in studies and books.

          That’s really cool! Great point about allowing singing (Or praying) to allow us to sleep and not worry about what we need to do:) Thank you for sharing.

  • The biggest reason why thinking is a must for me is because I know that if a don’t my leadership will tank, the quality of my sermons and writing will also suffer greatly.

    • Great point and mindset! It’s clear about how necessary thinking is, to you and others.
      Thank you for taking time to add to the conversation.

  • Great post Dan! I think growing intellectually is a huge way we grow as leaders. I like to read more academically challenging books to grow mentally.

    • Thank you, Dave! Personal growth is defiantly a great way to spark or enhance our thinking! Thank you for sharing that:)

  • I fully agree with what others have said here about thinking. But the best time for me to have intentional focused thinking time is early in morning (i’m definitely a morning person). Making time to think and pray about big decisions that need to made are best done before I head off into my crazy day.

    • That’s an important point about thinking. We have to know what time of day allows for the best thinking. Thank you for taking the time to read and add to the discussion.

  • Dillon Hazel

    Awesome post, Dan! It’s funny, I just wrote a post today about a very similar topic. It’s about John Maxwell’s quote: “A great leader knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”

    Often times I find myself getting so excited about a new project that I skip the “knowing” step and jump right into the “going” step. Not thinking through my projects and developing a vision FIRST typically ends up being the ultimate demise of the undertaking.

    • Hello Dillon,

      Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Great minds think a like:) Can you leave a link in a comment so we can go to your post?:)

      I hear you, I’ve done the same thing. I’m still learning the importance of thinking through a project before putting on my action shoes. Thank you for being open and sharing.

  • great post Dan, I am currently trying to finish up a manuscript before the end of the year and one thing I’ve lacked is enough thinking margin. My brain feels packed to the brim :) Still figuring out ways to slow down and breath even as i race towards my deadline. : great post

    • Thank you, Ngina:) I hope your able to create some more reflecting and thinking time. I think you would greatly benefit from it. Good luck with your goal!

    • Hi Nigina, I like your term “thinking margin” I could use some of that.

  • Thinking helps me to solve problems and renew my action plans. Although lately I’ve had little time to think because I’ve had to be in constant action.

    • Those are great benefits. Thank you for taking the time to read and share.

  • Finding time to do deep thinking can be hard for a lot of people. There is a constant stream of distractions begging for our attention.

    I’ve found that I do my best thinking while I’m driving. Long stretches of road provide the perfect opportunity to ponder your life and increase your leadership capabilities.

    • It sure can be. The key is to be deliberate about thinking.

      What a great way to use your time. Thinking in the car is so valuable! Thank you for reading and adding to the topic!

  • Clearly something I need to work on. Similar to #1 would be able to see oncoming obstacles before they become real issues. Also, thinking allows for vision creation and implementation.

    • I think most people could work on thinking more:) Great additional points. Thank you for taking the time to add to the discussion.

  • I couldn’t agree more. We live in the information age. We can’t just sit and absorb information, we have to twist and change it into useful applications. That means thinking through things and finding the right solutions. I think if you’re a leader now, you have to also be a thinker. You can’t separate the two anymore. You could say that bad leaders don’t think at all.

    • Hello Steve,

      Great point about “bad leaders not thinking at all.” I totally agree with that. You can tell if a person/leader takes time to think. They just speak and act differently.

      It’s important to take time to think then take action on the things we think. Thank you for taking the time to read and add to the topic.