By 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.
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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