I get this question often:
What is critical thinking?
Simply put, it is the attitude, or desire to test what you think you know, or what you believe, in order to ensure that it is true. Yes, critical thinking requires you to use your intellectual faculties and as the term implies that you engage in the act of thinking. It all starts with wanting to think properly, or to be correct about your conclusions. Now, we all want to be right all the time, but this particular approach involves that you are willing to accept that you can be wrong, that the endeavour of thinking is fallible and subject to errors. This is the starting point of intellectual honesty and humility.
How does it affect leadership?
If you paid attention to the above response, you understand that critical thinking is about making proper decisions or arriving at adequate, just conclusions. This being the case it is easy to see how we can apply the critical thinking attitude and formulations to the decision we make when leading others into more productive and beneficial outcomes. It is also plain to see how it goes back to personal growth and development. Read Finding True Self-confidence – Personal development Notes #2 for my explanation of how honest introspection will help you be more in control of your life.