5 Leadership Development Priorities

5 Leadership Development Priorities

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The recent post “It’s Not About Us” set a new daily record for the most views on the Leading in Context Blog. It described how our understanding of leadership has moved beyond a focus on the leader to a focus on creating shared value for others.

 

In a human development sense, our understanding of leadership has essentially “grown up” and moved past personal ego and a self-centered view of things.

This week, I want to share how the trends in our understanding of leadership are changing the fiber of what successful leadership looks like in organizations. If our organizations are not yet ready to respond to them, these trends should become our top priorities for leadership development.

5 Leadership Development Priorities

 

1.  Progressing from compliance-based ethics to values-based ethics.

TEACHING THE BEHAVIORS  WE WANT, NOT THE ONES THAT WILL BE PUNISHED

 

2.  Getting comfortable with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (V.U.C.A.).

PRACTICING WITH COMPLEX PROBLEMS IN REAL TIME USING V.U.C.A. STRATEGIES

 

3.  Thinking like global citizens in a world of connecting systems.

MANAGING ETHICS UP AND DOWN THE SUPPLY CHAIN, UNDERSTANDING SYSTEMS, APPLYING THE PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE AND THINKING LONG TERM

 

4.  Embracing the responsibilities that come with leadership.

GOING BEYOND THE TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE, HONORING SEVEN DIMENSIONS OF ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY

 

5.  Embracing the opportunities that come with leadership.

CHANGING LIVES, IMPROVING COMMUNITIES,MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD

 

While these 5 leadership development priorities may seem challenging, the good news is that by addressing them proactively we will also be enabling the overall success of our organizations.

Leading with values and taking responsibility broadly helps us adapt

The clarity we find in leading with positive values makes decision-making easier, and helps us adapt to the rising expectations in a global marketplace. We are no longer buffeted by every small change in the law, because we are aiming at a much higher level, the level of human values.

 Linda Fisher Thornton is an author, speaker, consultant and adjunct faculty member who helps  organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™. Her new book is 7 Lenses.

 

 

 

 

It’s Not About Us

By Linda Fisher Thornton 

You may have noticed that society’s expectations of us as leaders are continuing to increase. Consumers prefer to choose companies that genuinely care about their well-being. Employees want to work for companies that treat people well, do meaningful work and give back to the community. To survive in this new land where ethics is key to success, we must understand that it is not all about us.

Its Not About Us

In a human development sense, our understanding of leadership has essentially “grown up” and moved past personal ego and a self-centered view of things.

Leadership may have once been defined by eloquence, power, or charisma, but today’s successful leadership is defined by creating value for others.  In a human development sense, our understanding of leadership has essentially “grown up” and moved past personal ego and a self-centered view of things. It has progressed from being “all about us” to being about our long-term impact on others.

FROM  SELF-CENTERED VIEW             TO  OTHER-CENTERED VIEW  

FROM  DEMONSTRATING POWER      TO  CREATING SHARED VALUE

What does this less self-centered view of leadership look like in action? It looks like this in a typical day:

  • Talking with employees, customers and other stakeholders to learn their deepest needs
  • Treating everyone with respect
  • Asking how we can make things better for those we lead and serve
  • Being open to change, adapting quickly, and staying competent (because these things define how others experience our leadership)
  • Keeping ethics at the center of everything we do and every decision we make

We need to avoid thinking that it’s all about us. Today’s less self-absorbed leadership is all about proactively and ethically creating value for others.

About Linda Fisher Thornton          

As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton  helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.™ Linda’s book 7 Lenses (with a foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey) provides a clear multi-dimensional framework for leading ethically in  a global society.

LeadinginContext.com    Linda@LeadinginContext.com   @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

                     

Making Decisions Like Global Citizens

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Character is important, but leading ethically in the fullest sense requires much more than just demonstrating good character. In this 2 minute video, I describe 7 different perspectives that you may hear around the table as you discuss ethical dilemmas in your organization. Instead of being competing perspectives, each one is an important element of the full picture of what it means to lead ethically in a global society.

As you watch, see how many of these 7 different perspectives you can recognize in your organization’s dialogue about ethics.

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About Linda Fisher Thornton         

As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.™  Linda’s book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership provides a clear framework for proactive ethical leadership (foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey).  

Linda@LeadinginContext.com @leadingincontxt @7Lenses

How Do We Achieve Corporate Integrity?

Corporate IntegrityBy Linda Fisher Thornton

To achieve corporate integrity, we must do a number of things well. We need to have a clear message about what taking responsibility for ethics means to us; clear expectations for what it looks like in our organization day-to-day; and a congruent system for managing for ethical performance. 

There is a current ethics trend away from a “push” mentality when it comes to learning about ethics (making people do it) to a “pull” mentality (making it positive so that people will want to do it). Taking on a “pull mentality” involves creating a positive ethical environment, which includes:

  • Reaching beyond laws and regulations (they represent the punishment threshold, not ethical business)
  • Reaching for ethical values – respect, care, trust, doing good and avoiding harm

There are specific actions that we must take to develop a positive ethical culture where our ethics message and our day-to-day actions are clearly aligned. The 7 actions listed below are some of the most important ones to take on the journey to corporate integrity.

Companies With Corporate Integrity Develop:

  1. An ethical leader’s mindset.
  2. A multidimensional understanding of what ethical responsibility means in a global society.
  3. An ethics message that we keep current as times change.
  4. An awareness that profitability is not an ethical value and decisions about money must always be balanced with ethical values. 
  5. A well-informed leadership team that knows what leading ethically looks like in action.
  6. A quick response to problems, and full accountability for ethical behavior. 
  7. A consistent and integrated performance system that rewards ethical behavior.

About Linda Fisher Thornton        DSC_9672  As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.™  Linda’s book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership provides a clear framework for proactive ethical leadership (foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey).  

How Current is My Message About Ethics?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethical expectations are continually increasing, and it is not always easy for leaders to keep up with the changes. This week, I’m sharing an assessment to help you answer the question “How current is my message about ethics?” 

We convey our beliefs about ethical responsibility through leadership development, ethics training, regular communications and daily actions.  The message we send sets the tone for the ethics of our organizations.

This assessment is based on the holistic 7 Lenses™ framework described in my book 7 Lenses. It will help you identify strengths and areas for improvement in your ethics message. Notice that the assessment is organized into 7 different perspectives on ethical responsibility. Each of these 7 Lenses™ is an important part of leading ethically in a global society, from profiting responsibly to contributing to the greater good of society. 

See how many of the 21 items below are already incorporated into your message about ethics, and check those off. After completing the assessment, add any items you didn’t check off to your list of goals for this year. 

What is My Message About Ethical Responsibility?

Lens 1: Profit

___ I describe profit as the result of doing business ethically and creating shared value.

___ I talk about ethics just about as often as I talk about profits to be sure that people know that it is just as important.

___ I lead open conversations about how to balance ethics and profits, because I know that at times they will seem to conflict.

Lens 2: Law

___ I make it clear that laws are the minimum standards in society, not the expected levels of behavior. 

___ I let leaders know that we need to aim higher than laws and regulations, to the ethical values behind those laws.

___ I talk openly about how we’ll handle situations where something is legal, but may harm our constituents and is therefore unethical.

Lens 3: Character

___ I go well beyond telling people to “do the right thing” and give them details about what that means in our organization.

___ I demonstrate ethical competence and expect it from every leader in the organization.

___  I make moral awareness an important part of leader education.

Lens 4: People 

___ I don’t tolerate negative interpersonal behaviors (like teasing, blaming and belittling).

___ I ask leaders to demonstrate respect for every person, regardless of differences. 

___ I expect leaders to honor the rights and dignity of each person, and they understand what that looks like (and doesn’t  look like) in action.

Lens 5: Communities

___ I make it clear to leaders that community service and involvement are key values in our organization.

___ I offer opportunities for leaders to be actively involved in efforts to support community programs. 

___ Our message is that supporting healthy, thriving communities helps everyone, including us. 

Lens 6:  Planet

___ I make sure that leaders know that in our organization sustainability is more than a pamphlet or a report, it is the way we work every day.

___ I let leaders know that life, nature and ecosystems are silent stakeholders that we must protect.

___ Our message is consistent – actions about sustainability and protecting the planet match our words.

Lens 7: Greater Good

___ Leaders know that our organization believes in creating a better world for all.

 ___ When making decisions, I ask people to think farther ahead than 1-5 years, to consider the long-term impact of their choices 100 years or more into the future.

___ I help leaders balance short-term gains with long-term responsibilities when they make decisions.

How current is your message about ethics?

About Linda Fisher Thornton          

As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton  helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.™ Linda’s book 7 Lenses (with a foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey) provides a clear multi-dimensional framework for leading ethically in a complex world. Linda@LeadinginContext.com @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses 

 
“Each lens is part of ethical leadership, and when any one is ignored, we fail to lead ethically in its fullest interpretation.”
Linda Fisher Thornton, in 7 Lenses

What is the Ultimate Goal of Leadership?

Goal of LeadershipBy Linda Fisher Thornton

What is the ultimate goal of leadership? This question seems simple enough at first, and then begins to get tricky because it can’t be answered in one simple statement.

  • Is the goal of leadership to provide direction and model the performance we expect from others?
  • Is it to respect and serve?
  • Is it to support others and remove obstacles?
  • Is it to teach and mentor?
  • Is it to help bring out the best in those we lead as we work toward a common purpose?

Of course, leadership is about all of those things and more. So what is its ultimate goal? Here are four very different ways of thinking about the ultimate goal of leadership.

Profit

Using the Profit perspective, the goal of leadership is to ensure that the organization makes a profit so that it can continue its work. A theme song for this perspective might be “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays (theme song for the U.S. version of The Apprentice).

People

Using the People perspective, the goal of leadership is to bring out the best in people through respect and care, and continual support for their success.  A theme song for this perspective might be R.E.S.P.E.C.T” by Otis Redding, sung by Aretha Franklin.

Service

Using the Service perspective, the goal of leadership is to serve others in ways that uplift lives and communities. A theme song for this perspective might be Lean on Me” by Bill Withers.

Greater Good

Using the Greater Good perspective, the goal of leadership is making choices that ensure a good life for future generations. The theme song for this perspective might be We Are the World” by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie.

The question is not “Which one of these perspectives is right?” because they are all important ways of thinking about the goal of leadership. They are part of a bigger view that incorporates many dimensions of leadership responsibility. The question is “How can we honor all of them?” In my new book, 7 Lenses, I explore these concepts in a framework of 7 important perspectives on what responsible leadership includes.  A 7 Lenses Book Club Discussion Guide is available to help groups discuss what they have learned and how they can apply it for individual and organizational improvement.

7 Lenses Book

About Linda Fisher Thornton        

DSC_9672

Linda’s book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership provides a clear framework for leading ethically in a complex world (foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey).  As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.™

Linda@LeadinginContext.com @leadingincontxt @7Lenses

Leading Ethically in 2014 (The Mindset and Action Steps)

123113NewYearsRBy Linda Fisher Thornton

During the launch of 7 Lenses:Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership, I have introduced the philosophy and mindset behind the book. This is a mindset that sees ethical leadership as both a responsibility and an opportunity. 

The proactive 7 Lenses mindset is one that will lead to ethical leadership and also transform organizational metrics.  These timely articles published in Fox Business, The CEO Magazine, 800ceoread via LeadChange.com, the Management Excellence Blog and the LeadBig Blog, detail the mindset for ethical leadership success and the specific action steps that leaders can take to be intentional and proactive about ethical leadership. As you read, think about how taking these positive actions can transform your organization in the New Year.

“Face the complexity involved in making ethical choices.”                                                                                                           7 Steps to Ethical Leadership, Chad Brooks, Fox Business, smallbusiness.foxbusiness.com

“As leaders, we have to stay sharp, not just in terms of best leadership practices, but also in terms of our ethical competence.”                                                                                                                                                                                      Inside the Mind of an Ethical Leader, Guest Post, Management Excellence Blog by Art Petty

“Winning to the 7th power” means making decisions that honor all 7 Lenses – Profit, Law, Character, People, Communities, the Planet and the Greater Good. The whole picture, the full scope of our impact as leaders, pops into focus with this view. What we see matches the complexity of our work, our connections and our world.”                     Honoring Multiple Stakeholders (Without Losing Our Moral Grounding), Guest Post, LeadBIG Blog by Jane Purdue, Brainthwaite Innovation Group

“The evidence is clear that ethics has powerful positive benefits. Instead of thinking about the problems we can avoid through ethical leadership, we need to be thinking about how to take advantage of the powerful opportunities that proactive ethical leadership provides.”                                                                                        Ethics: Moving From Problems to Opportunities, Article, The CEO Magazine, the-ceo-magazine.com

“Aristotle said ‘We are what we repeatedly do.’ He was right. Our daily choices define us. They show just how far beyond ourselves we’re thinking, how broadly we imagine our constituents, and how we see ourselves in the world. As we navigate the turbulence of today’s workplace, there is power in asking ourselves, ‘What is it that I repeatedly do?’”                                                                                                                                                                             What Ethical Leaders Believe, Manifesto, leadchange.com via 800ceoread

Use these resources to develop your plan for leading ethically in the New Year. For more articles and resources, visit http://leadingincontext.com/resources/helpful-resources/ and http://leadingincontext.com/news/media-mentions/.

Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2014!

Linda

7 Lenses BookAbout Linda Fisher Thornton

As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations bring out their best by developing ethical leaders and aligning ethical leadership performance systems. In 2013, she was named one of the Global Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.  Her new book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership provides a clear framework for learning to lead ethically in a complex world.   

10 Ethical Leadership Questions For the New Year

10 Questions

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethical leadership is evolving, and expectations are increasing. Will we be ready? As we go into the New Year, here are some questions to ponder:

1. What does “ethical” mean to me?

2. Would someone observing my leadership know that I intend to be an ethical leader?

3. If so, how would they know? If not, what could I do differently so that they would know?

4. How broadly am I considering what happens to my constituents?

5. Where could I be more proactive and intentional about my ethics?

6. How carefully am I managing my ethical competence?

7. How consistently do I show respect when my views don’t align with someone else’s views?

8.  How well do I seek solutions that are mutually beneficial, not just self-serving?

9.  How well do I model the highest ethical values so that others can learn from me?

10. How am I using my leadership and service to make a positive difference?

In the New Year, let’s be intentional about our learning journey, and seek ways to improve in all of these aspects of our leadership. If you’re feeling especially open to learning, ask your team to help you answer these questions about yourself. The insights you gain could be amazing.

7 Lenses Book

About Linda Fisher Thornton

As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations bring out their best by developing ethical leaders and aligning ethical leadership performance systems. In 2013, she was named one of the Global Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. Linda’s new book is 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership


Leading in Context is a leader in providing clear tools for businesses of all sizes for implementing “ethical leadership future.”   

16 Trends Shaping the Future of Ethical Leadership

Thornton

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Today, I want to share with you the picture of the future that I see, based on a powerful movement toward positive, proactive ethical leadership. As a global community, we are increasingly aware of the impact of our choices on others.  We are more aware of our human connection and our responsibilities to one another. 

There is a trend toward considering our responsibilities broadly, beyond making profits to also making a difference. 

Here is my list of 16 trends shaping the future of ethical leadership. 

As we head into the New Year, let’s help our leaders be ready for this positive, proactive “ethical leadership future.”

16 Trends Shaping the Future of Ethical Leadership

To learn more about the future of ethical leadership, see the “What Ethical Leaders Believe” Manifesto by Linda Fisher Thornton at ChangeThis.com.

7 Lenses Book

About Linda Fisher Thornton

As CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations bring out their best by developing ethical leaders and aligning ethical leadership performance systems. In 2013, she was named one of the Global Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. Linda’s new book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership provides a clear framework for learning to lead ethically in a complex world. 

Leading in Context is a leader in providing clear tools for businesses of all sizes for implementing “ethical leadership future.”   

Ethics is About What’s Right (Not Who’s Right)

What's RightBy Linda Fisher Thornton

If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve noticed that there is a lot of discussion about who is right. Each person has an individual perspective that seems to be “right” from where they sit.  Each group has values and norms that seem right to its members. How can we make sense out of it all? When we need to make a critical decision, and everyone around us is arguing passionately for a different approach, how will we know which one is most right?

Moving Beyond Who’s Right to What’s Right 

In order to move beyond who’s right to what is ethically right, we’ll need to consider multiple questions when we evaluate our choices. Here are five important elements that make up the concept of “ethically right”:

CHARACTER

Which approach best demonstrates a strong character and moral awareness?

THINKING BEYOND SELF

Which approach demonstrates the most care and concern for others?

DOING MORE THAN THE MINIMUM

Which approach advocates the highest moral principles?

DOING GOOD (AND AVOIDING HARM)

Which approach does the most good (and the least harm)?

MUTUAL BENEFIT

Which approach benefits the most stakeholders?

Moving the Conversation From Who’s Right to What’s Right

Ethics has been getting a bad name in the press lately, because almost all of the coverage about ethics is about the lack of it.  I think it’s time we stopped talking about failures, and started talking about what ethics is really all about. It’s about demonstrating moral awareness and grounding, caring for what happens to other people, and doing good in the world. Are you suprised? Ethics is not about power or punishment. It’s about doing what’s right.

How can we move from a who is right discussion to a what is right discussion?

I suggest that we think about that question from a learning perspective. When we approach ethics as something we need to learn, the conversation changes in powerful ways:

  • Ethics becomes personal, about us and our choices, not about impersonal rules and regulations.
  • Since the world is always changing, we approach ethics as an ongoing learning journey.
  • We are open to other people’s ideas and that helps us resolve problems and make ethical decisions.

Being open to learning completely changes the conversation. When we use a learning mindset, the “debate” about who is right becomes a dialogue about how we can all do better.

About Linda Fisher Thornton

7 Lenses BookAs CEO of Leading in Context, Linda Fisher Thornton helps forward-thinking leaders and organizations bring out their best by developing ethical leaders and aligning ethical leadership performance systems. In 2013, she was named one of the Global Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. Linda’s new book is 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership

“What Ethical Leaders Believe” Manifesto, ChangeThis.com

Leading in Context is a leader in providing clear tools for businesses of all sizes for implementing “ethical leadership future.”   

The 7 Lenses Story – A Closer Look Radio Interview

By Linda Fisher Thornton

ThorntonI am honored to have had the opportunity to do a radio interview last week with Pam Atherton of A Closer Look Radio. She invited me to talk with her about my new book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership. In the interview she asked questions that many of you may have about ethical leadership, and I walked listeners through the book’s framework for leading ethically in a complex world (click below to listen).

Ethics in business – The 7 Lenses of ethical responsibility

with Linda Fisher Thornton

7 Lenses

It has been wonderful to hear from so many of you in the past week about how 7 Lenses is helping you, and your plans to use it for leader learning in your organizations.

7 Lenses clarifies what it means to lead ethically in the fullest sense of what that means in a complex world. I am enjoying receiving many unsolicited comments from readers. Here are some of my favorites - “It’s about time!” “I wish I’d had this book years ago…” If you haven’t read it yet, it is available at Amazon.com and 800-ceo-read, with digital versions for Kindle, iPad and Nook available soon. 

About Linda Fisher Thornton

Linda was named one of the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. Her new book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership is a clear framework for leading ethically in a complex world (Foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey). In addition to her role as CEO of Leading in Context LLC, a leadership development consultancy, she also teaches as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies. 

What Ethical Leaders Believe

By Linda Fisher Thornton

ChangeThis.com is an 800ceoread project for “spreading good ideas and changing business thinking for the better.” I am honored that today they published my Manifesto about what ethical leaders believe. This Manifesto begins with an Aristotle quote “We are what we repeatedly do” and then asks us to think hard about what we repeatedly do. “Is our thinking on autopilot?” “Is that autopilot programmed to make ethical decisions?”

“What Ethical Leaders Believe: The Leading in Context Manifesto”

111.04.7LensesChangeThisCover

Our daily choices define us. Please help spread this important message by sharing “What Ethical Leaders Believe.”
© 2013 Leading in Context LLC
7 LensesAbout Linda Fisher Thornton

Linda was named one of the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. Her new book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership is a clear framework for leading ethically in a complex world (Foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey). In addition to her role as CEO of Leading in Context LLC, a leadership development consultancy, she also teaches as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies. 

What is Ethical Leadership?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

What is ethical leadership? I have been exploring that question on the Leading in Context Blog for the last four years. This week, I’ve chosen some highlights from popular posts to illustrate what leading in a complex world requires of each of us.

Leading ethically in a global society requires much more than following laws and regulations. We must take on a global mindset, maintain an openness to learning, actively build trust, and so much more.

We must move away from a compliance mindset, and reach for a values-based mindset that considers much more (see the highest level on this three-level graphic).

Which of These is Ethical Leadership

Expectations Beyond Compliance and Laws

“Following laws and regulations is just above the punishment threshold for ethical leadership. Expectations are moving to a much higher level, a level at which we are expected to do much more. Look at the third level, the highest level of the graphic. Aren’t transparency, sustainability and honoring human rights now expected of all businesses? I believe they are, and there are other factors we need to consider that are not on this list. The minimum standard is gradually moving to a higher level as we better understand the impact of our choices on others in a global society.”       

Linda Fisher Thornton, Which of These is Ethical Leadership?

Openness to Learning

“When we are not open to learning, we can easily misinterpret another perspective that does not match our own as a threat. That perspective that we are actively arguing against may in fact reflect a more current, more advanced, or more ethical perspective than ours. Failing to acknowledge that there are other perspectives on an issue (and that the people who hold them have a right to their views as much as we do) shows a lack of respect, and a lack of awareness…”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Civility and Openness to Learning

Inclusion

“Managing diversity without inclusion as the ultimate goal can make a big difference in the way employees experience our organization. We choose a way of thinking that represents what we’re trying to do and then build a process/program/structure or measurement based on that foundation. If diversity is our way of thinking, we may get an approach based on “differences,” rather than one based on creating an inclusive culture where a diverse group of people can do their best work.”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Differences or Inclusion: Which Are We Focusing On?

Service and Care

“One of the elements of ethical leadership that may be overlooked when we view ethics using a “legal lens” is supporting and developing the potential of the people we lead. While many leadership ethics programs focus on the risk side of ethics – compliance with laws and regulations, avoiding lawsuits, etc., there is an equally important side of ethics that involves care.” Linda Fisher Thornton, Ethical Leaders Care

A High Trust Environment

“On the surface, it doesn’t seem that curiosity and imagination are related to ethics. But think about what would happen in an environment where people were not able to use them. Could employees still be relied on to consistently behave ethically in an environment where they were not engaged in their work, and where they did not feel respected or fairly treated?”

Linda FIsher Thornton, Curiosity and Imagination Necessary Ingredients in Ethical Business

A Global Mindset

“When we see the world as a global society, we see that we need to act as if what happens to others, even people we may never meet, matters. We all share space, food and natural resources. We also share international communication and transportation systems and a global economy. Thinking about our planet as home to a global society, it is clear that we must act as if what happens to the environment matters. Our survival is dependent on the limited resources we have available and how responsibly we use them.” 

Linda Fisher Thornton, Ethical Leadership and… a Global Society

Honoring Human Rights

“As leaders, we are expected to protect human rights in all that we do. In our quest to lead responsibly, we must continually consider the question “How do we need to change in order to better honor human rights?” If you are in the process of developing a corporate human rights policy, A Guide for Business: How to Develop a Human Rights Policy (UN Human Rights, Global Compact) is helpful in beginning the discussion.”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Honoring Human Rights is Essential

Staying ready to lead ethically in a globally networked world will require continual learning and a broad understanding of what ethical responsibility includes. Let’s get started…

About Linda Fisher Thornton Linda Fisher Thornton is the author of  7 Lenses, a guide for learning how to bring out the best in people, organizations and communities through ethical leadership (available for pre-order on Amazon.com, due out November 7th). Linda was named to the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. As CEO of Leading in Context, she helps organizations learn to Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership.™ For more information, visit leadingincontext.com. 

10 Questions On “Leading With Ethics”

Leading in Context Blog 101613By Linda Fisher Thornton

I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to co-host the live #leadfromwithin Tweetchat with @LollyDaskal on October 8th. The topic was Leading With Ethics, and the participation was robust, with thousands of Tweets per hour! In spite of the fast pace, it was an open and heartfelt discussion about what ethical leadership means, and what it looks like in day-to-day practice.

Many thanks to the #leadfromwithin community members who participated in the discussion on which this brief overview is based. 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! Feel free to comment with more of your favorite answers to these 10 Questions.

10 good questions we should ask ourselves about leading with ethics, with highlights from the #leadfromwithin conversation:

1. What Does Leading With Ethics Mean To You?

Some of the responses to the question were very personal. They were about valuing principles, using our moral compass, leading with integrity and core values, and putting ethics before rules. Others were interpersonal and societal, focusing on thinking beyond our own interests, being fair and leading with respect, service and care for others. Valuing principles before profit and leading with the heart were clear themes.

2. What Do Ethical Leaders Believe?

Ethical leaders believe that what they do and how they do it matters a great deal. They believe that doing what’s right cannot be compromised. They believe that other people matter a great deal, and that the good of the group matters more than self-interest. They believe that transparency and an open heart and mind are especially important. They believe in themselves and their ability to help those around them. They believe in compassion, honesty, trust, growth, humility, demonstrating concern for the greater good and leaving a positive legacy for future leaders.

3. What Does Your Favorite Ethical Leader Do Best?

My favorite ethical leader provides consistency; puts the needs of others first; helps others to grow;  is trustworthy and leads by example with the highest integrity; gives the credit to others; makes ethical choices even when it’s extremely difficult to do; is inclusive; sets clear boundaries and guidelines; leads from within; listens compassionately without judging; believes in colleagues; and takes risks for things that matter.

4. How Does an Ethical Grounding Bring Out Your Personal Best?

Our values bring out the best of who we are, giving us both moral guidance and boundaries within which we can be our best. With an ethical grounding, we act in alignment with our own truth, and are compassionate with others. An ethical grounding provides a consistent framework for making difficult decisions and brings out our positive intentions and positive impact. An ethical grounding builds trust, which encourages us be our best.

5. How Can You Model the Highest Ethics Every Day?

Model the highest ethics every day by committing to integrity and learning. Listen to others and really get to know them. Stay focused and model the ethics you expect of others. Lead from within without letting the world corrupt you. Don’t be afraid to care. Teach others to use the highest ethics. Focus on making a difference and not on being right or making your point. Speak up when something is unethical. Stay humble and avoid judging others. Live your values and don’t let failure define you.

6. What Stakeholders Should We Consider as We Lead?

Everyone is a stakeholder at some level, and all stakeholders are important. We should consider all stakeholders as we lead – those we serve, those we lead, the powerless, the silenced, the planet, and all of humanity.

7. How are Trust and Ethical Leadership Connected?

Trust is required – without it, we cannot have ethical leadership. Trust creates the environment that brings out ethics – Ethical leaders trust themselves and others, leading others to trust them.  Ethical leaders use trustworthy behaviors that demonstrate that they are worth trusting.

8. How Does Leading With Ethics Transform People?

Leading with ethics first transforms the leader, then the transformed leader strengthens others and brings out their best. Doing this helps people pursue their chosen calling, and makes work meaningful and fun. It removes barriers and opens up possibilities. It discourages unethical behavior. It shows people that we can be successful leading with integrity and pursuing a higher purpose. It helps them become ethical leaders themselves.

9. How Does Having an Ethical Culture “Power Up” Organizations?

An ethical culture “powers up” organizations through vision and action aligned with values. Doing the right thing generates a positive energy in organizations, inspiring people to reach higher. It involves people in service and increases productivity, profitability, engagement and innovation. It creates a clear focus and reduces time spent on dysfunctional relationships and tangents. These things provide a stable foundation that removes fear and unlocks potential.

10. When We Lead From Within With the Highest Ethics, How Do We Make a Difference?

When we look within, and choose to be self-aware and ethical, we bring our values to everything we do and everyone we meet. We create a positive ripple effect. We make a difference. We are the difference.

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This post was based on the #leadfromwithin community conversation about “Leading With Ethics” on October 8, 2013. Special thanks to Lolly Daskal for inviting me to co-host – it was an amazing experience. You can participate in the #leadfromwithin Tweetchat every Tuesday from 8-9 pm ET. 

About Linda Fisher Thornton Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context LLC. Her forthcoming book  7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership provides a clear road map for bringing out the best in people, organizations and communities through ethical leadership. Linda was named to the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. 

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Take Your Thinking Up a Notch (Strategies For Solving Complex Problems)

Take Your Thinking Up a NotchBy Linda Fisher Thornton

Leading responsibly requires that we use long-term thinking, consider our impact on a wide variety of constituents, and avoid using outdated thinking to solve problems. Cause-and-effect thinking and short-term thinking not only won’t solve systemic problems, they can do more harm than good.

Taking Our Thinking Up a Notch

How can we tackle tough problems responsibly? Looking at them in great detail doesn’t usually help us solve them unless we also think broadly enough to make the puzzle as a whole become clearer. In this post, I’ll talk about strategies that help us move from one level of thinking to another. It may be necessary to use all of them (and more) when solving particularly complex problems:

  • broadening our thinking
  • lengthening our time orientation
  • looking at systems and connections
  • considering patterns

Broadening Our Thinking

Connected systems don’t stop at the boundaries of a discipline. If our research stops there, we won’t get a clear picture of most problems. We need to step back, broaden our thinking, and take in the scope of the whole problem. It is this broader level of thinking that is needed to help solve today’s complex, interconnected problems. Seeking information across knowledge areas provides a clearer, richer picture.

Lengthening Our Time Orientation

Lengthening our time orientation can help us see past our short-term assumptions about the problem. Questions we might explore include: What will happen in 10 years, 25 years, or 100 years if this problem continues? Will it worsen over time?  How? What other seemingly unrelated trends will impact this problem over that same time period?

Looking at Systems, Connections and Patterns

A systems view notices relationships and intersections, not just independent parts and functions.  It considers the unintended consequences and long-term impact of decisions in addition to the short-term benefits to the leader and the company.

If we don’t look at the systems that are connected with the problem, we can easily oversimplify (take the easy way out) or over-solve the problem (sometimes doing more harm than good). Staying current as the world changes and keeping our thinking skills sharp helps us lead responsibly. It is especially important when we are leading or teaching others.

Resources for Learning

Over 50 Problem-Solving Strategies Explained, John Malouff, Ph.D., J.D., University of New England, une.edu.au

Dial It Back” (Oversolving Problems Can Be Unethical, Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog

Problem-Solving Skills: Start Here!, MindTools.com

Leading in a Systems World, Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog

Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving, Jon Kolko, in Stanford Social Innovation Review, ssireview.org

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

 About Linda Fisher Thornton

Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context LLC. Her forthcoming book  7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership provides a clear road map for bringing out the best in people, organizations and communities through ethical leadership. Linda was named to the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America. 

For more information, visit leadingincontext.com

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