300th Blog Post: Answering Big Questions About Ethical Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I have spent the last six years answering the big leadership question “What does it mean to do the right thing?” The support, the unsolicited testimonials and the social shares of this work have been widespread and global. Could it be that the world is ready for a clear answer to this important question? 

I wrote 7 Lenses because I believed that we needed a clear answer to what it means to “do the right thing” in a global society. I believed that the answer was there, somewhere, and could be found by researching across disciplines, religions and geographic boundaries. It was a question well worth exploring. With a clear understanding of leadership responsibility and a framework for talking about it in all of its complexity, we could do business in ways that would also improved lives and communities. We could make a powerful positive difference through our leadership. 

Over three years of research and writing, I learned that “doing the right thing” means honoring 7 dimensions of ethical responsibility in leadership, not just one at a time, but all at the same time

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

 

Using these 7 Lenses (and the 14 Guiding Principles in the book for honoring them in daily leadership) gives us a holistic picture for leading ethically and teaching others. It gives us a high bar to reach for – the aspirational level of ethical leadership in organizations. It prepares us for the future as ethical expectations continue to increase.

Thank you for your feedback on 7 Lenses and for sharing the importance of proactive ethical leadership with your social communities. 7 Lenses is now being used by public and private universities to teach ethics and ethical leadership on three continents (if you are using it to teach, feel free to let me know!). Its message is reaching leaders across industries and around the world.

I enjoy blogging about the big ethical leadership questions, and welcome your input about what you want to read about that would further your leadership development. Below are some of the big questions I have been blogging about (and answers for today’s leaders). It is my hope that this blog will help you “do the right thing” on your journey to ethical leadership future.

What is Ethical Leadership?

How Are Ethical Leadership Expectations Changing?

What Does it Mean to Take Responsibility in Leadership?

Why Do People Often Disagree About The Right Thing To Do?

What is the Ultimate Goal of Leadership?

What is an Ethical Workplace?

What is Integrity?

What is Conscious Capitalism?

What is the Greater Good?

What is Authentic Leadership?

This blog has come a long way since the 150th Blog Post: Learning Out LoudThank you for making the Leading in Context Blog #37 on the Top 100 Most Socially-Shared Leadership Blogs of 2014!

Number Graphic 042115

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40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture (An Ethical To Do List)

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By Linda Fisher Thornton

Last week I blogged about 40 Ethical Culture Gaps to Avoid. This week, I’m sharing a ‘What To Do” list of 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture. This list includes many ways to incorporate ethical values into daily organizational leadership. 

Each one of these 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture can improve an organization. Leaders paying attention to all of these factors will reap rewards that include improved employee engagement, better financial performance, increased productivity and job satisfaction, improved competitive position and more.

Use this “ethical to do list” to assess your culture. Put a check mark beside the positive ethical actions that you have observed in your organization. Any that you leave unchecked are opportunities for improvement.

40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture

  1. ___Avoid Harm To a Wide Variety of Constituents
  2. ___Balance Ethics With Profitability and Results
  3. ___Carefully Build and Protect Trust
  4. ___Choose the Ethical Path, Even if Competitors Aren’t
  5. ___Clarify What “Ethical” Means in the Organization
  6. ___Clear Code of Ethics
  7. ___Clear Messages About Ethics and Values
  8. ___Commitment to Protecting the Planet
  9. ___Consistently Demonstrate Care and Respect for People
  10. ___Decision-Making Carefully Incorporates Ethics
  11. ___Develop Leaders in How To Implement Proactive Ethical Leadership
  12. ___Do Business Sustainably
  13. ___Enforce Ethical Expectations
  14. ___Embrace Corporate Social Responsibility
  15. ___Engaging and Relevant Ethics Training and Messages (Not The Same Old Boring Stuff)
  16. ___Ethical Actions Match Ethical Marketing
  17. ___Frequent Conversations About Ethics (That Honor Work Complexity)
  18. ___Full Accountability for Ethics At Every Level Including the C-Suite
  19. ___High Degree of Transparency
  20. ___Leaders Aware of Increasing Ethical Expectations
  21. ___Leaders Stay Competent as Times Change
  22. ___Open Leadership Communication and Invitation to Participate in Decisions
  23. ___Open, Supportive Leadership
  24. ___Performance Guidelines and Boundaries For Behavior
  25. ___Performance System Fully Integrated With Ethical Expectations
  26. ___Positive Ethical Role Models
  27. ___Recognize and Praise Ethical Actions
  28. ___Recognize and Punish Unethical Actions
  29. ___Safe Space to Discuss Ethical Grey Areas
  30. ___Set Ethical Boundaries
  31. ___Strong Commitment to Improving Leadership and Culture
  32. ___Take Broad Responsibility For Actions
  33. ___Think Long Term About Our Impact
  34. ___Treat Ethics as an Ongoing Priority
  35. ___Treat People With Care
  36. ___Use the Precautionary Principle
  37. ___Use Systems Thinking to See the Big Picture
  38. ___Values Mindset (Not A Compliance Mindset)
  39. ___Welcome and Act on Feedback From Constituents
  40. ___Willing to Do What it Takes to Become an Ethical Organization

When ethical culture is carefully tended, we are poised to meet the increasing expectations of our many stakeholders. Use this checklist of 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture to identify your organization’s current strengths and opportunities for improvement.

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40 Ethical Culture Gaps To Avoid

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By Linda Fisher Thornton

Leaders set the tone for how ethical values are applied. They mentor those they lead, and serve as positive role models. It is not enough, though. for them to talk about ethical values, model what they look like in action and mentor others. They must also fiercely protect the ethical dynamics within their organizations. They are also the caretakers of ethical culture.

Leaders are the tireless caretakers of ethical culture.

There are many types of ethical culture problems. Each one can cause trouble on its own. When several are at play, watch out – the organization is at risk of ethical failure. 

Use this list of 40 Gaps to Avoid to assess your culture. These are warning signs that your ethical culture is at risk. Put a check mark beside any that you have observed in your organization. 

40 Ethical Culture Gaps To Avoid

  1. ___Boring Ethics Training
  2. ___Compliance Mindset Instead of Values Mindset
  3. ___Controlling or Fear-Based Leadership
  4. ___Crowd Following, Regardless of the Ethical Implications
  5. ___Entitlement Mentality
  6. ___Failure to Build and Protect Trust
  7. ___Failure to Enforce Ethics Expectations
  8. ___Failure to Recognize and Praise Ethical Actions
  9. ___Failure to Recognize and Punish Unethical Actions
  10. ___Failure of Top Leaders to Take Responsibility For Actions
  11. ___Firing Scapegoats Instead of Fixing the Culture and Leadership
  12. ___Ignoring Boundaries
  13. ___Ignoring Complexity of Work and Complexity of Ethical Issues 
  14. ___Ignoring Customer and/or Employee Feedback
  15. ___Intentionally Causing Harm
  16. ___Lack of Accountability
  17. ___Lack of Care and Respect for People
  18. ___Lack of Clarity About What Ethics Means in the Organization
  19. ___Lack of Commitment to Protect the Planet
  20. ___Lack of a Moral Compass
  21. ___Lack of Performance System Integration
  22. ___Lack of Positive Role Models
  23. ___Lack of Relevant Ethics Training
  24. ___Lack of Transparency
  25. ___Leaders Not Aware of Increasing Ethical Expectations
  26. ___Leaders Not Staying Competent as Times Change
  27. ___Linear Problem-Solving
  28. ___Marketing an Organization as Ethical When It’s Not
  29. ___No Code of Ethics
  30. ___No Performance Guidelines or Boundaries For Behavior
  31. ___No Safe Space to Discuss Ethical Grey Areas
  32. ___Oversimplified Conversations About Ethics
  33. ___Oversimplified Decision-Making That Leaves Out Ethics
  34. ___Oversimplified Definition of “Ethical” (“Do the Right Thing”)
  35. ___Power Plays by Top Leaders Instead of Open Communication and Involvement
  36. ___Singular Focus on Profitability and Results
  37. ___Treating Ethics as an Event, Class, or Task Rather Than an Ongoing Priority
  38. ___Unintentionally Harming Constituents
  39. ___Vague Messages About Ethics and Values
  40. ___Widespread Acceptance That Unethical Behavior and Decisions Are “The Way Things Are Around Here”

Leaders need to be the “cultural caretakers,” always on the lookout for ways to improve the ethical dynamics in their organizations. Preventing these 40 Ethical Culture Gaps is a great start. 

 

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12 Trends Shaping the (Responsible, Human) Future of Learning

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Much of our success in a rapidly changing world will come from our ability to learn our way through difficult situations that have no clear solutions. Since we can’t use a scripted response for unexpected situations, we need to help people learn how to handle complexity and information overload and still make ethical choices. 

This graphic pulls together 12 important trends in learning that will be important to our success in the future. I believe that the transition from a focus on content to a focus on learner success in the real world is already underway.  It transcends settings, being equally important in classrooms and corporate training rooms. 

Trends Fut of Learning REV

Together these trends give us a picture of learning that is deeply human, grounded in respect for the learner and in helping people reach their full potential. We have the opportunity to change lives and organizations by igniting a love for learning. The right column in this graphic describes the environment and approach that will accomplish that. 

Take a moment to consider how you will help forward the (responsible, human) future of learning in your organization.

 

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What is Authentic Leadership?

How Do We Define Authenticity in Leadership?

Most people would agree that authentic leadership is a good thing. But what does it mean? What qualities do authentic leaders possess that set them apart from other leaders? Wikipedia provides many different interpretations of authenticity including this passage:

“Authenticity is something to be pursued as a goal intrinsic to “the good life.” And yet it is often described as an intrinsically difficult state to achieve, due in part to social pressures to live inauthentically, and in part due to a person’s own character. It is also described as a revelatory state, where one perceives oneself, other people, and sometimes even things, in a radically new way. Some writers argue that authenticity also requires self-knowledge, and that it alters a person’s relationships with other people. Authenticity also carries with it its own set of moral obligations.”                                                                                                                                                                 Wikipedia, Authenticity

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy describes authenticity as both personal and social: “The prevailing view seems to have been that, by turning inward and accessing the “true” self, one is simultaneously led towards a deeper engagement with the social world. This is why Taylor (1989: 419–455) describes the trajectory of the project of authenticity is ‘inward and upward’.”

What Are Its Inner and Outer Dimensions?

I believe that the following 14 personal, interpersonal and societal dimensions together form what we think of as authenticity. They involve overcoming the internal and external barriers to living an intentional, aware and ethical life. See if you agree.

Personal

Introspective

Self-Aware

Takes Responsibility

Has High Ethical Standards

Fully Present/Aware of Reality

Honest

Genuine

True to One’s Self

Aligned in Thought, Word and Deed (Has Integrity)

Committed to Growth and Learning

Interpersonal

Fully Respectful and Inclusive

Cares About Others

Service-Focused

Societal

Has An Identified Life Purpose or Calling

Reaches Individual Potential in Ways That Benefit Society

 

Growth Required

Discovering our authentic selves often involves venturing into areas where we are not a bit comfortable, but where we believe we can find meaning in our work and lives. As Herminia Ibarra wrote in her article Managing Authenticity: The Paradox of Great Leadership (HBR, January 2015) “The only way we grow as leaders is by stretching the limits of who we are—doing new things that make us uncomfortable but that teach us through direct experience who we want to become.”

 

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There Are No Quick Fixes For Ethics

 

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By Linda Fisher Thornton

I have been thinking about how lightly some leaders take the subject of ethics. Some ignore ethical issues altogether or think ethical issues are unimportant compared to concerns about profitability. It’s a risky choice to take ethics lightly. Why? Unlike heart or kidney transplants, there are no “ethics transplants” for people who have made bad ethical decisions.

We are responsible for our choices. If an ethics transplant did exist and we could easily start over, imagine how long the waiting list would be for that procedure! Since there is no quick fix for failed ethics, we need to protect our ethical reputations carefully, and choose to stay on an ethical path.

In our global society, where almost anything can be obtained for a price, you can’t buy ethics.

While people can recover somewhat from ethical failures, it takes them a long time to earn back people’s trust, if they ever do. In the meantime, they have to pay the price for failing to make ethical choices.

Our choices are very much ours to live with, good or bad, for the rest of our lives. 

The journey to an ethical life and ethical leadership is rewarding but it takes personal effort. Plato believed that we should make ethics more important than silver or gold. Silver and gold, after all, are commodities that can be bought, sold or traded at will. Ethics (on the other hand) requires personal effort and growth over time.

Ethics cannot be bought, sold, traded or transferred. It can only be learned, taught and encouraged. You can’t buy it. No one can give it to you, and you can’t replace yours when things go wrong. That makes ethics priceless.

 

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5 Ways To Bolster Your Organization’s Ethical Immune System

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By Linda Fisher Thornton

I was thinking about organizational culture recently, and noticed an interesting parallel. Actions such as eating healthy foods, exercising and getting enough sleep all boost our individual immune systems. What actions can we take to boost our ethical immune systems? And how could doing that help us create more ethical organizations?

Building a healthy ethical culture where people take steps to protect ethics and reputation takes intentional effort. It requires regular attention, similar to the way we must eat healthy foods and exercise daily to maintain our individual health.

An ethical organizational culture doesn’t just “happen” without leadership support. To support the overall ethical health of your organization, I recommend taking these 5 important leadership actions (and avoiding the corresponding DON’TS that undo the positive effects of ethical immunity).

1. DO Intentionally Ground Every Aspect Of Your Culture in Positive Ethical Values

(DON’T Leave ethics vague and just expect people to “do the right thing”)

2. DO Clarify Exactly What Ethical Leadership Looks Like in Action 

(DON’T give people ethical guidelines and leave them to figure out how to apply them to their ethical challenges)

3. DO Provide Resources For Ethical Thinking and Decision Making

(DON’T assume that people can make sense out of highly complex situations and choose the most ethical choices)

4. DO Create a Safe Environment For Talking About Ethical Challenges and Questions

(DON’T let the conversations happen only in ethics training – that’s not where people struggle with getting ethics right)

5. DO Model Ethical Leadership From The Top Down*

(DON’T Exempt the CEO and Senior Leadership from accountability for ethical leadership)

 *Failure to model ethical leadership at the highest levels of leadership is a common problem, and it destroys ethical immunity. 

For more guidance on ethical culture building, see these related articles:

7 Questions For Ethical Culture Building

Critical Roles of the (Ethical) CEO

How to Build an Ethical Culture

 

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Linda Fisher Thornton’s book 7 Lenses is your guide to proactive ethical leadership (in 7 dimensions that are all important).

 

 

 
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©2015 Leading in Context LLC

Leaders: Is Respect Enough?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Respectful behavior makes it possible for people to work together successfully. But when we ask the teams we lead to be respectful, I wonder if we’re aiming too low. Shouldn’t we be asking for more? 

Are we just settling for “avoiding conflict and tension?” Are we missing an opportunity to teach those we lead that respect is the minimum standard for workplace behavior, and that there is so much more?

Respect is incredibly important. In the quest to create workplaces where people can find meaning and do their best work, I believe that we need to aim much higher. We need to teach people what it means to genuinely care about others and support their success. We need to show them how to be in service in the world. That’s real ethical leadership. Are you aiming high enough?

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11 Paths To Ethical Leadership Competence

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Developing competent ethical leaders can be a huge challenge. Why is it so difficult? We live in a globally connected society, and are expected to be globally aware. We are dealing with catastrophic change and uncertainty. We fill many different roles in our organizations, industries and communities. Each role we play and each decision we face has different ethical implications. Ethical competence is definitely not something that “just happens.” 

Mastering ethical leadership takes intentional preparation and learning. I believe that there are at least 11 Paths To Ethical Leadership Competence. Seeing them together in this graphic illustrates why it can be so difficult to prepare leaders to handle ethical challenges. As you review these 11 Paths, keep in mind that we don’t fully prepare leaders for ethical leadership until we address all of them.

11 Types of Ethical Competence

Now I must ask you this important question: “How well are you addressing all 11 Paths to Ethical Leadership Competence in your leadership development?”

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CMOE ranked the Leading in Context Blog #37 on the Top 100 Most Socially Shared Leadership Blogs of 2014. Special thanks to CMOE and everyone who helped share this blog’s message!

 

 

Trust is a Relationship (Not a Commodity)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Waiting For Trust to Be Earned

I sometimes hear leaders say that they think “trust is earned” and that we should not trust others until they have earned our trust through their behavior and choices. I see several big problems with this way of thinking about trust.

1. This way of thinking about trust is narrowly focused on the leader, implying that trust is “someone else’s responsibility.”

2. This perspective imagines trust as a commodity, something that can be exchanged transactionally at will. 

3. The leader is not expecting trustworthy behavior, and withholds trust accordingly. This negative expectation may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There is a better way of thinking about trust that leads to more positive leadership outcomes.

Thinking About Trust As a Relationship

Trust is reciprocal, requiring relationship. It is something that must be built over time for mutual benefit, not just the leader’s benefit.

In a trust relationship, all parties are responsible for being trustworthy (personally) and trusting others (interpersonally). If we remove the interpersonal aspects of trust, what we are really saying is “I have all the power here. I’ll decide when you’ve been trustworthy.” That detached perspective is controlling and judgmental, and controlling and judgmental leadership is not effective leadership.

Why is controlling and judgmental leadership not effective? Because leadership (like trust) is all about building positive relationships.

 

 
7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics 41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner “7 Lenses” 
  Your Roadmap For The Journey to Ethical Leadership (Foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey)  
 
 
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Why Do People Lead?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Have you ever thought about why people lead? If you could look into the window of their motivations, what would you discover? I have noticed that people want to be in positions of leadership for very different reasons. Some of those reasons benefit them, and some benefit others.

Below is a starter list of motives that answer the question, “Why do people lead?” As you read the list, consider this question: Which motives reflect the highest levels of human development? 

Unethical Motives

“I Want Access to Money and Power for Personal Gain”

“I Want Employees To Do The Work While I Pursue Other Interests”

“I Want to Sabotage Others to Make Myself Look Good”

“I Want to Treat People Like Pawns in a Game, Keeping Them Guessing”

“I Want to Control Information To Cover Up Ethical Problems”

Self-Focused Motives

“I Want Power”

“I Want Control”

“I Want Visibility”

“I Want Decision-Making Authority”

“I Want Recognition”

“I Want a High Level Position So I Can Make a Lot of Money”

Other-Focused Motives

“I Want to Set a Good Example For Others To Follow”

“I Want to Build a Cohesive Team”

“I Want to Help Others Succeed”

Growth and Learning Motives

“I Want Responsibility”

“I Want to Bring Out the Best in Myself – To Stretch Myself and Learn How to Lead”

“I Want to Help Others Stretch Themselves and Learn”

“I Want to Find Out How Much We Can Accomplish When We Work Together”

Service Motives

“I Want to Serve Others”

“I Want to Help Others Serve Their Constituents”

“I Want to Leave Things Better Than I Found Them”

“I Want to Be in Service in the Community”

Societal Motives

“I Want to Help People Fulfill Their Responsibilities in Our Communities and Our World”

“I Want To Make the World Better Through My Leadership”

“I Want to Make Life Better For Future Generations Through My Leadership”

The journey to ethical leadership is a journey of human development. As we learn and grow, we begin to think beyond ourselves in ways that transform us and those we lead. We move from concern for self-interest to concern for self and others.

Which category of motives do you think reflects the highest level of human development? What reasons for leading would you add to this list? 

  
 
 
7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics 41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner “7 Lenses” 
  Your Roadmap For The Journey to Ethical Leadership (Foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey)  
 
 
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7 Questions For Ethical Culture Building

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We create organizational culture through strategic choices and daily actions. If we imagine building our culture as creating an elaborate painting, what will we depict on the canvas? Will we work together to carefully paint a background theme of positive values, or will we just give everyone brushes and “see where it goes?”

122314PerfSysGrphcThe graphic shows ethical leadership as a human performance system. At the center of the system are Positive Ethical Values and Trust. The arrows show a perpetual process of communicating and reinforcing values and ethical choices.

Having seen this model, ask yourself these questions to assess how well ethical values are “painted” onto your cultural canvas:

Questions

1. If a group of strangers walked into our organization for the first time and spent the day with us, what would they say is on our cultural canvas? What values would they see in action?

2. What positive ethical values do we make the focal point of our culture?

3. How will we “paint” those values in a lasting way onto the canvas of our culture?

4. How will we build the deep level of trust that is necessary for open conversation?

5. How will we align all of our messages and reward systems to aim directly toward the ethical values we say are important?

6. How will we prepare leaders to paint ethical values onto our cultural canvas through their daily leadership?

7. How will we know when everyone in the organization is committed to our values? What will we see happening?

When we communicate clear values and make trust a priority, we are creating positive conditions for:

  • making a lasting difference
  • bringing out the best in the organization
  • protecting our ethics

When our cultural canvas is clearly painted with ethical values and trust, the result may be a true masterpiece – an ethical organization.

 

 
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  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
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It’s All About The Trust

Trust is pivotal because it is the basis of every human relationship, every transaction, and every market.”

Dennis Nally, The Trust Agenda, Strategy & Business, PwC Strategy& Inc. Summer 2014

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Monday I received the wonderful news that I was in the Trust Across America-Trust Around the World 2015 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trust. I consider this a great honor because trust is critical to successful business. Trust improves communication, culture, performance, engagement and results.

Today I’m sharing some inspiring quotes from recent trust reports about why “it’s all about the trust” – why trust has such broad importance and impact in work relationships and organizations:

“Gaining trust from society at large also requires understanding what value means to a wider range of stakeholders than many companies are used to—including not just shareholders, but customers, employees, local community members, government officials, and others.”

Dennis Nally, The Trust Agenda, Strategy & Business, PwC Strategy& Inc. Summer 2014

 “Well-being promotes the greater business good and what’s good for the individual is good for the organization and its customers. Because of this, an organization needs to think about the work experience from their employees’ point of view and consider whether policies, structures and workplace culture are adding to their well-being or detracting from it.”

Justin Heifitz, Gallup Business Journal, December 15, 2014

 

“80 percent of respondents said that they chose to buy a particular product or servicebecause they trusted the company behind it. Sixty-three percent said they refused to purchase a product or service because they distrusted a particular company.”

Edelman Trust Barometer 2015, Executive Summary

 

“By focusing on building trust, companies can develop a compelling identity, one that sets them apart from competitors—assuming that they have the intent to deliver and the capabilities to do so.”

Dennis Nally, The Trust Agenda, Strategy & Business, PwC Strategy& Inc. Summer 2014

 

“For their part, senior leaders need to invest in systems, rewards, and habits that make it easy for managers faced with complexity and constant change to make solid commitments, connect the dots with other groups, and remember their promises. This is how thriving businesses create an upward spiral of trust and strong results.”

Elizabeth Doty, Does Your Company Keep Its Promises? strategy+business, July 18, 2014

In every dimensions of success, from employee engagement to stakeholder confidence to customer retention, building successful organizations really is all about the trust.

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41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

7 Lenses (Foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey) is a practical roadmap for learning the kind of proactive ethical leadership that builds lasting trust.

 
7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
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Imagining The Future Of Leadership

 

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Learning At 2,400 Tweets Per Hour

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to co-host the live #LeadWithGiants Tweetchat with @DanVForbes on January 19, 2015. The topic was “The Future of Leadership,” and the live chat trended on Twitter at about 2,400 Tweets per hour.

Many thanks to the #LeadWithGiants community members who participated in the discussion. Please note that I considered quoting individual Tweets, but there were so many good ones that I couldn’t narrow down which ones to feature! A link to the Tweetchat recap is provided below. Feel free to comment with more of your favorite insights from the conversation. 

During the Tweetchat, inspiring global voices weighed in on big questions, including these:

  • What will the future of leadership be like?
  • What is the best case scenario for the future of leadership?
  • How will we individually and collectively reach that best case scenario?

Envisioning Leadership Future

Here are some of the predictive insights shared during the discussion:

1. The future of leadership is globally collaborative and inclusive – communication, relationships and trust will be crucial.

2. Inspiring others through our leadership will not be about our words, it will be about our actions.

3. We will need to continually learn, stretch beyond our comfort zones, tackle complexity and adapt to rapid global change.

4. We will need to carefully balance our use of technology with maintaining human connections.

5. We must dig deeper and aim higher, taking daily steps to become the leader needed in a globally connected society.

6. We can take actions every day, no matter how small, to add value to the lives and work of others.

7. We must stand up for what is right, even when that perspective is unpopular.

8. Old rules will not apply and old mindsets will have to go.

9. We will need to deeply engage others in working toward shared goals, and develop them to be ready for future roles.

10. It will help to align ourselves with others who share this journey and provide positive support.

11. Without self-awareness, we will not succeed…

A Best Case Scenario

I believe that this is a possible best case scenario for the future of leadership:

When we say “leadership,” that term will include ethical responsibilities along with opportunities and benefits. “Leading” will be a positive term that will imply leading in the way that we want others to go, leading ethically, and leading in the way that creates a better future. With a clear picture of what responsible leadership looks like, unethical leadership will not be tolerated and will be less common. 

People who aspire to lead others will be drawn to the role by the opportunity to bring out the best in others (individually and collectively). 

Let’s actively create this best case scenario for the future of leadership through the choices we make today.

About the Tweetchat

A recap of “The Future of Leadership” #LeadWithGiants chat is here. Dan V. Forbes hosts #LeadWithGiants Mondays, 7 pm ET. 

My Journey: On April 1, 2010, I said the words ” I will never go on Twitter.” Later that same day, I started Tweeting. Read the story in my post “Leaders and Social Media: 5 Reasons to Engage.”

 

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™                  

FisherThorntonLinda_07_What_Is_Ethical_Leadership-522
 
 
@leadingincontxt  @7Lenses
LeadinginContext.com
 
 
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
© 2015 Leading in Context LLC

 

 

 

 

Prepare Now For The Future of Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Leading with positive values and demonstrating care are becoming expected ways of doing business. Leading now is not as much about leaders as it is about bringing out the best in those they lead and serve.

Part 3 of my book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership tells the story of how our understanding of the purpose of leadership is evolving.

Excerpt from 7 Lenses (Chapter 8 – Getting Ready For the Future of Ethical Leadership):

Our understanding of ethical leadership is continually evolving due to changes in the world and to the efforts of champions of responsible business. This evolving understanding incorporates the natural complexity of the challenges of leadership and the broadening scope of the constituents that leaders serve. As we move from thinking about leadership as “transactional” to thinking about leadership for the “greater good,” we increase our understanding of our moral responsibilities to others, our companies, our societies and our world…

Leadership was once considered transactional, without much of a human element in it at all. This one-way mindset was essentially based on “Tell people want you need them to do.” Fortunately, the general thinking about leadership shifted to include a service role, which brought the all-important human element into it. Later, we began to understand leadership as having a positive and transformative effect on individuals, groups and organizations. In this evolution, leadership had moved from being about self to considering self and others.

After incorporating others in our understanding of leadership, we began to add a consideration of society. Through the Corporate Social Responsibility movement, leadership responsibilities are seen to include sustainability and community well-being. We are currently experiencing a powerful leadership movement to support the greater good of society…

These changes in our understanding of the purpose of leadership have happened slowly over time. Understanding them helps us stay ahead of the curve, to be better prepared to lead in ways that meet future expectations.

Thornton, L. F. (2013). 7 Lenses: Learning the principles and practices of ethical leadership. Richmond, Va.: Leading in Context.  (© 2013 Leading in Context, All Rights Reserved)

If we focus on meeting current leadership expectations, we may be caught off guard. Don’t wait. Prepare now for the global-minded, values-driven future of leadership.

Special Event:

On Monday January 19th, 2015, I am the Guest Co-Host for the #LeadWithGiants Tweetchat with @DanVForbes. Our topic is The Future of Leadership

Join us at 7:00 pm Eastern Time on January 19th!

               

FisherThorntonLinda_07_What_Is_Ethical_Leadership-522
 
 
@leadingincontxt  @7Lenses
LeadinginContext.com
 
 
 
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™   
© 2015 Leading in Context LLC

 

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