Strategic decisions made by General Dwight Eisenhower during WWII were significant and give excellent examples of four components of Steve Gerras’ Critical Thinking model.
Generals during World War II faced daily innumerable difficult and grave decisions. Critical decisions made during WWII did not have the depth and speed of today’s modern communications infrastructure. Eisenhower quoted, “Making decisions is of the essence in leadership.”1
During World War II, while in command of the Mediterranean theater, Eisenhower made the strategic decision of making the commitment to radiate confidence no matter how dire the circumstances or how pessimistic he might actually feel. He wrote, “My mannerisms and speech in public would always reflect the cheerful certainty of victory that any pessimism and discouragement that I might ever feel would be reserved for my pillow.” 2
Critical thinking according to Professor Steve Gerras is deliberate. Gerras’ Critical Thinking Model components are as follows: “clarify the concern, point of view, assumptions, inferences, evaluation of information, and implications.” The model is not meant to be sequential or linear, however always starts with “clarify the concern”.
Evaluation of Eisenhower’s decision to radiate confidence no matter how dire the circumstances in context to Gerras’ Critical thinking model spotlights “clarify the concern” and “point of view”. Application of these two components to his strategic decision demonstrates purposeful and directed thought.5 Looking at Eisenhower’s decision to radiate confidence is “clarify the concern”. 6
Eisenhower was unknown during his command of the Mediterranean theater. He spent a lot of time in reflection writing in his journal and not feeling in control of his situation. To help pass the time, Eisenhower drew up the “Worries of a Commander” a brief list focusing on the lack of information and his troubles with the French. Eisenhower in one of his writing gave descriptions of how strain and tension wear away at the leader’s endurance, his judgment and his confidence.7 By Clarifying the Concern, Eisenhower put a framework around his lack of uncertainty and lack of confidence to create personal infrastructure.8
“Point of view’’ or frame of reference looks what vantage point an issue is viewed and adapt to seeing the issue from another person’s angle.9 Eisenhower knew the importance of showing confidence...