As a general concept, cognition is how we acquire, store and use information. The MRG research team recently conducted a study to explore this concept in a leadership context. We defined cognitive effectiveness as a measure of how well a leader is at acquiring and using information to make good decisions, adapt to changing environments, and consider broad perspectives. Our goal was to identify the behaviors closely related to higher levels of cognitive effectiveness.
This research led us to some interesting findings on behavior patterns associated with cognitive effectiveness. For example, leaders who were rated as effective in the cognitive domain were also more likely to be seen as persuasive and clear communicators. A lot of us tend to focus on the internal experiences associated with cognition. However, this finding suggests that despite originating in internal processes, cognitive effectiveness goes beyond the internal. Cognitive effectiveness may help us express ourselves clearly and get others on board with our ideas. Presumably this is because it gives us the ability to understand other perspectives well. We are reminded that there are many views different from our own.
This study reminds us of the importance of taking the time to consider those other views – it may just make us more compelling leaders in the eyes of others.