Leadership educators are faced with the daily challenges of providing students with competencies and perspectives that will translate into successful personal and professional experiences. Specifically, the ability to think critically is paramount to develop within students as it leads to a rational and reasonable life (Elder, 1997). However competing values, an ever changing society, growing diversity, and expanding technology leading to a world of instant information complicate the efforts of leadership educators as they attempt to prepare the latest generation of leadership students. This challenge necessitates a more intentional approach to instruction as educators seek to cultivate competency development and meet the needs of Millennial learners. This study details a naturalistic examination of an intentional approach to leadership development through dissection of popular culture. Data illustrates that this approach engages undergraduate leadership students and empowers their leadership development. Data collection efforts also yielded emergent grounded theory linked to the critical thinking skill set noted by Facione (1990). The grounded theory provides leadership educators with a foundation for developing critical thinking skills in and promoting leadership education with undergraduate students. The conclusions and recommendations detail opportunities for leadership educators to identify with undergraduate students, raise their levels engagement, and develop leadership competencies that are paramount to professional, personal and civic success.





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