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.

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

 

 

 

 

Well-Being is Trending

Well-BeingBy Linda Fisher Thornton

Have you noticed that well-being is trending? It’s not enough just to provide fair pay and good work conditions any more. People want to participate in something meaningful and work in high-trust cultures where they can flourish. They seek out companies that care about their well-being.

Making Life Better

Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte predicts in his article The Year of the Employee: Predictions For Talent, Leadership and HR Technology In 2014 that we will need to “re-imagine employee engagement in a new, integrated way” and seek to create “rewarding, exciting and empowering” experiences.

Our workplace focus is moving toward promoting general well-being.

We are beginning to focus on the wellness and happiness of the whole person, and are more aware of the importance of measures of success that incorporate overall well-being. Gallup.com has a Well-Being Index that shows trending levels of well-being over time. OECD publishes an annual “How’s Life?” Report that goes beyond financial measures to evaluate social well-being and progress. The Happy Planet Index  rates each country in the world on aspects needed for people to live long and happy lives.

Well-being is on the minds of consumers as well. Trendwatching.com comments in Internet of  Caring Things that consumers will “lavish love and attention on products, services and experiences” that actively care for their well-being and the well-being of their loved ones.

The Ethics Factor

Positive, intentional management of ethics in organizations supports the overall well-being of employees, customers and communities. Ethics also gives organizational metrics a boost. When we treat people well, we bring out their best.

Ethical leaders support the well-being of those they lead and serve.

Happy people who trust their ethical leaders tend to be more engaged, more creative and more productive. 

Paying attention to well-being makes sense.

In this case what’s good for employee well-being is good for the well-being of the organization too. 

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.

 

Got Ethics? Are You Positive?

Got Ethics? Are You Positive?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Is your ethics training focused on positive values? In spite of all the bad news you’ve seen in the media about ethics, we don’t build ethical cultures by focusing on the negative. Let’s face it – thinking about fraud, embezzlement and conflict of interest won’t make us better leaders. But that’s what many of us are focusing on in our organizations.

The future of ethical leadership is intentional, proactive and positive. 

We need to stop focusing on NEGATIVE examples (what we don’t want) and start focusing on what ethical leadership looks like in action (what we do want). Ethical leadership at its best looks POSITIVE. That’s where we need to be focused in our conversations and our leader development.

Only by intentionally focusing on positive ethical values are we ethical leaders. 

Only by intentionally focusing on positive ethical values do we create ethical workplaces.

Operating in the realm of values means shaking off the temptation to become fixated only on laws and regulations. Laws and regulations are there to remind us of the minimum standards. We need to focus on the higher level values that should guide our work. Operating in the realm of values includes:

  • Having a positive vision of how values can transform our leadership and our organizations
  • Clearly understanding and communication the ethical behaviors we want people to use
  • Making day-to-day decisions based on positive ethical values

Being ready for the future of ethical leadership requires shaking off a compliance based mindset and operating in the realm of values. 

Have you “got ethics?” Is your ethics based on positive 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.

Case Study: Overwhelmed

OverwhelmedBy Linda Fisher Thornton

“The issue of the overwhelmed employee looms large” according to Josh Bersin, Bersin by Deloitte. (Are You an Overwhelmed Employee? New Research Says Yes, LinkedIn, March 11, 2014). Employees are having a hard time managing an overload of information and tasks, and the problem is not getting any better as technology use continues to increase.

Have you ever gone to your manager to ask for help prioritizing your tasks? Usually we try to avoid it, and do it only as a last resort when we are overwhelmed. It may surprise you to know that how managers answer gives us a clue about their priorities, ethics and values. Let’s listen in as a manager responds to an overwhelmed employee who has come to her for help. 

Take 1

Employee Request: I’m working on 10 major projects, and all of them have tight deadlines. I’m getting behind and I’m not sure which ones are the highest priority. Can you help?

Manager Response:  They’re all important. I’m sure you’ll figure out how to get them all done.

Ethics and Values Insights: This manager has probably not communicated a set of values that should guide the employee’s work. She may not know how to prioritize the tasks herself, and is therefore not able to help her employee. Worse, she shows no compassion for the stress the employee is feeling, and the courage it must have taken to be willing to ask for help. She does not demonstrate respect or care for the employee or her work.

Without guiding values and a formal way to decide on priorities, work is overwhelming and lacks meaning.

Take 2

Employee Request: I’m working on 10 major projects, and all of them have tight deadlines. I’m getting behind and I’m not sure which ones are the highest priority. Can you help?

Manager Response:  There is a lot going on. Let’s take a look at your projects and how they support our top three department goals. Projects that support our top department goals will almost always have the highest priority, regardless of the deadlines… (reviews projects with employee). So that makes these two your top priorities. Let’s go back to the internal clients on these three lower priority projects to renegotiate the time frames.

Employee: That will help a lot, but both of those top two projects are due in the next three weeks. It will still be a challenge to get everything done.

Manager:  Give it your best effort this week and keep me posted on how it’s going. If you find that you still need help, I’ll see if someone from the product team can pitch in and help you one day a week. 

Ethics and Values Insights: This manager shows compassion for the stress the employee is feeling and offers to help, showing care and concern. She clearly knows the department’s priorities and sees her leadership role as enabling the success of her employees. It is clear that she values this employee and sees enabling her success as a leadership priority. Her leadership is based on the ethical values of respect and care.

With guiding values and a formal way to decide on priorities, work seems manageable, and employees feel valued. 

Dale Carnegie’s report “What Drives Engagement and Why It Matters” (White Paper, 2012) revealed that a “caring” manager is one of the key elements that drives employee engagement. So managers, let’s remove “It’s all important. I’m sure you’ll figure it out” from our vocabularies. It not only lacks respect and care, which are important ethical values, it also signifies that we are overwhelmed and incapable of helping employees sort things out.

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 award-winning 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).  See LeadinginContext.com/7Lenses for book details.

 

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

100 Trends For 2014 (Including Responsibility and Reputation)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Staying competent is an important part of today’s proactive ethical leadership.

As we head into 2014, these trend reports will give you a “business leader’s preview” of what to expect in sectors that range from consumer trends, human resources and leadership to food, fashion and technology. Grab your warm beverage (the temperature has been in the single digits here in Virginia this week) and as you read, pay particular attention to the growing emphasis on responsibility and reputation.

Trends to Watch 2014

Global Trends

10 Key Trends to Watch For 2014 (Trends 1-5), GlobalTrends.com

10 Key Trends to Watch for 2014 (Trends 6-10), GlobalTrends.com (Note the trend of combining profit with responsibility)

The Futurist Magazine’s Top Ten Forecasts for 2014 and Beyond, Patrick Tucker, The Futurist, wfs.org

Consumer Trends

7 Consumer Trends to Run With in 2014, Trendwatching.com (Note the trend toward ethical products and green thinking)

10 Trends Changing How You’ll Shop in 2014,  Beth Braverman, Fiscal Times, TheWeek.com

Digital/Technology Trends

7 Huge Tech Trends to Expect in 2014, Lance Ulanoff, Mashable.com

2014 Digital Trends and Predictions From Marketing Thought Leaders, Ekaterina Walter, Forbes.com

Gartner Identifies the Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2014, Gartner.com

People Leadership Trends

The Top 10 Workplace Trends for 2014, Dan Schawbel, Forbes.com (Note trend #10 Reputation)

5 Trends to Watch in Human Capital Management in 2014, Team Ceridian, Ceridian.com 

The Year of the Employee: Predictions for Talent, Leadership and HR Technology in 2014, Josh Bersin, Forbes.com

More Trends!

100 Things to Watch in 2014, Ann Mack, JWT Intelligence, JWTIntelligence.com

Looking Further With Ford, 2014 Trends, Ford.com (Broad trend look, not just auto trends)

Factors Affecting 2014 Medical Cost Trend, Price Waterhouse Cooper, pwc.com

Andrew Freeman and Company Presents: 2014 Trends #Blurred Lines, afandco.com (Food and Beverage)

Food Trends in 2014: from digital dining to healthy junk food, Amy Fleming, TheGuardian.com

First Look: The New Colors For Spring 2014, Alicia Lund, Elle.com

——

7 Lenses BookAbout Linda Fisher Thornton

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™. In 2013, she was named to the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.   Linda@LeadinginContext.com @leadingincontxt @7Lenses

leadingincontxt Twylah Fan Page

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.”   

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. 

Bringing Out the Best in People and Organizations

7 LensesBy Linda Fisher Thornton

After 4 years of researching and writing, I am proud to announce that my new book 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership is launching this week.

7 Lenses proposes a framework for learning the kind of ethical leadership that brings out the best in people and organizations. It is written for leaders who want to build ethical companies and cultures, stronger communities and a better world.

It provides a road map for learning how to lead in ways that fully honor personal, interpersonal and societal dimensions of ethical responsibility. The four-quadrant model and case studies give readers a clear picture of the kind of ethical leadership we need.

In the foreword, Stephen M. R. Covey writes “Use this wonderful book as a guide on your ethical leadership journey, and you will deeply engage your workforce and build enduring trust.”

Thornton_01v3

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

7 Lenses is organized in three parts. Part One answers the question “What is ethical leadership?” from 7 different perspectives that together form a multidimensional model I call the 7 Lenses™. Part Two guides leaders in applying 14 Guiding Principles that honor all 7 Lenses. Part Three explores how ethical expectations are changing, and describes six connected trends shaping the future of ethical leadership.

This book was written to answer these questions:

1) What is ethical leadership in a complex world?
2) Why don’t ethics experts agree about it?
3) What is the framework we should be using to guide our day-to-day leadership?
4) How can we stay ahead of changes in ethical expectations?

While 4 years ago, I did not have answers to these questions, now 7 Lenses answers them clearly and practically. It is no longer enough to honor the triple bottom line. This book will help you reach for the highest level of ethical leadership, honoring all 7 dimensions of ethical responsibility. See LeadinginContext.com/7 Lenses for more information. 

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

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 is 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership. She also teaches as Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies. 

The LeadinginContext Manifesto is a statement of belief about ethical leadership that is behind the book 7 Lenses and Thornton’s movement to bring out the best in people, organizations and communities. www.LeadinginContext.com

Leadership Responsibility: The Movement

LeadResponsMovement

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Taking Responsibility is “In”

We have reached a point in business where proactively taking responsibility as leaders has become a movement in its own right. We use many different words to talk about our leadership responsibilities.

Corporate Social Responsibility        Trust Building

          Sustainability             Character          Integrity

     Care                        Profitability                 Community Service      

Greater Good                  Ethical leadership        Compliance   

       Boundaries                 Impact                        Avoiding Harm

Leadership responsibility is multidimensional, and cannot be described in one or two words. It is personal, interpersonal, environmental and societal. Fortunately, that level of complexity is not stopping  leaders and organizations from taking the lead in demonstrating what it means to take responsibility in leadership. These articles describe the powerful movement toward proactively taking a high level of responsibility for our choices and our impact:

Understanding Our Impact

Our understanding of the purpose of leadership has evolved to include responsibility for a broad array of stakeholders over the long term. We have moved way beyond the command-and-control model. We now understand that our role includes bringing out the best in others and helping them achieve their potential while we all work toward the organization’s goals.

“Leaders of the future unleash human potential by instilling trust through authenticity, clarity of purpose and openness to continual learning. “

–Giles Hutchins, Leadership for the future: diversity, creativity and co-creation, thegaurdian.com

We now are beginning to see the powerful impact that responsible leadership has on organizational performance, employee engagement and other important metrics. In the process of creating responsible organizations, we also help employees find meaning in their work.

“Values-led leaders help create emotionally and mentally healthy organisations, where business goals are met without sacrificing personal values.”

Corporate Social Responsibility: How the Movement Has Evolved Since the 1990′s by Paul Monaghan

We understand the importance of leading for the long-term and taking responsibility for our impact on others, the environment and society.

“If capitalism is to remain a healthy, vibrant economic system, corporations must participate in taking care of the society and the environment in which they live.”

Simon Mainwaring

Learning For Life

It is becoming increasingly clear that responsibility is not optional in a global society – it is at the heart of our leadership when we lead well.  Leadership development has become a critical priority as executives acknowledge the increasing complexity of leading in a global society. Leaders need help learning through this maze of terminology and leadership expectations.

This is an ongoing quest for leaders and for students preparing to be our future leaders. As Thomas Paine said, “When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary.”

¤

About Leading in Context and Linda Fisher Thornton

In 2013, Leading in Context CEO Linda Fisher Thornton 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 is due out in early November. 

 

Ethical Leadership Brings Out the Best in People and Organizations

Leading in Context Website

By Linda Fisher Thornton

After taking the Leading in Context website and branding back to the drawing board, this week I’m delighted to introduce the Leading in Context® Website version 2.0. The new website features:

  • A theme and focus on bringing out the best in leaders and organizations through ethical leadership
  • A new company logo
  • My Manifesto – a compelling statement of my beliefs about responsible leadership, designed to fuel the movement toward intentional and proactive ethical leadership (please pass it on!)
  • An announcement of my new leadership book coming out in paperback and digital versions this fall (more about this soon!)

Why did I do a complete website makeover? I didn’t think that the Leading in Context website adequately conveyed the positive power of ethical leadership. It didn’t place a stake in the ground and say “this is what I believe” and it may not have inspired you to take action… I hope that you will find that the Leading in Context website version 2.0 is a clear call to action.

I strongly believe that ethical leadership brings out the best in people and organizations. I have believed that for many years, and the current research only confirms what many of us have known all along. Ethical leadership is not just a good practice – when consistently applied it also propels people and organizations forward in many positive ways:

  • It releases productivity and energy toward good work
  • It creates the kind of culture where people feel valued and can bring their energy and their best ideas to work
  • It helps leaders and organizations compete and succeed in a crowded global marketplace
  • It appeals to ethically-aware consumers
  • It brings out the best in individuals, and that brings out the best in organizations

Join the movement to Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™ 

Read the statement of belief at LeadinginContext.com/Manifesto. Take the intentional journey to becoming the best leader you can be. Inspire your organization to release its potential through ethical leadership. Spread the word.

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, Linda was named one of the Global Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.

Leading in Context is a leader in providing clear tools for businesses of all sizes for implementing “ethical leadership future.”  For more information, visit leadingincontext.com.

Managing Ethical Leadership as a Performance System

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When we think about ethical leadership as a performance system, we get a higher level view of what it takes to develop ethical leaders. This graphic shows what an integrated ethical leadership performance management system might look like (EL refers to ethical leadership).

system

The components of an ethical leadership performance management system are mutually reinforcing and must be closely aligned. If just one element shown on this graphic is missing, then the rest of the components will not work effectively. For example, clear communication about expected ethical behavior is important, but it isn’t likely to lead to ethical behavior unless you also holding people accountable for meeting the expectations.

An integrated system has:

  • alignment
  • clarity
  • positive role models
  • ongoing conversation
  • learning and practice
  • support
  • accountability, and
  • positive, proactive performance management

In Talking Values LRN: Bringing a “Pull” approach to Ethics and Compliance, Michael Bramnick shares his insights about “‘pull’ approaches to compliance that make training, codes of conduct, and related processes meaningful to employees.”   Pull approaches give employees a positive reason to engage in ethical behavior, rather than relying on punishments or reprimands. They support employee engagement in the direction of the ethical leadership we expect. They add positive power to the whole performance system.

Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context LLC, a leadership development consulting firm. Linda was named one of the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC. All rights reserved.

Responsibility and Respect (The 4th and 5th R’s)

Moral educationChildren Need to Learn Responsibility and Respect

In addition to the 3 R’s, two key principles that children need to learn in order to to live a successful life are responsibility and respect. As we teach knowledge and information, these areas need to be taught through an ethical frame of reference.

Not all information is equally helpful in learning to become a good citizen. While we encourage good thinking, we also need to encourage good behavior in order to provide a well-rounded education.

“Responsibility and Respect – known among proponents as the fourth and fifth R’s – are increasingly being taught alongside academic subjects as schools try to address what many see as the declining moral fiber of the country’s youth.”

Lori Miller Kase, Reading, Writing, & Respect, Parents Magazine

Wouldn’t it be helpful if we taught subjects like these along with the traditional classes?

  • Learning Self-Control (When What You Want to Do Seems Really Fun, But You Shouldn’t Do It)
  • How to Be a Responsible Thinker (Thinking Beyond Yourself)
  • How To Treat Other People (What Respect Looks Like)

What is the Role of K-12 Education in Moral Education?

Moral education is the key to helping students become responsible citizens. Shouldn’t it be more important to know how to treat other people than to know the exact date something happened in history? One you can look up. The other is harder to learn, but is critical for a civil society.

“Character education has taken many different forms, and has varied monikers- moral reasoning, moral education, character development, and civic education- but the substance behind the names has a common thread. The need for children to become productive citizens in American society is the heart of character education. Moral reasoning is imperative for schools to incorporate to truly reach this mission: an educated citizenry.”

Dolph and Lynca, Moral Reasoning: A Necessary Standard of Learning in Today’s Classroom, Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives in Education

Throughout history, morality transmission has been present in education. Furthermore, many people believe that there is a connection between learning academically and the development of mental power, and the learning of moral values and the development of strength of character. The development of the intellect and of moral character are intimately related. Just as there is an order in nature (the laws of science), in reason (the laws of logic), and in the realm of numbers, so too is there a moral order. One thing we need to do is recover the belief that there is a transcendent, unchanging moral order, and restore it once more to a central place in the educational process. (Nash)

Morality in Education, University of Michigan Department of Psychology, sitemaker.umich.edu

Teaching students how to research, read, write and do math is only part of the picture. Let’s make responsibility and respect equally important components of childhood education – then we’ll be developing the ethical leaders of the future.

Character Education Programs Designed for Children:

http://www.aaeteachers.org/index.php/character-education-programs

http://www.character.org/

http://charactercounts.org/sixpillars.html

http://www.wingsforkids.org/files/WINGS-Learning-Objectives.pdf

Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context LLC, a leadership development consulting firm. Linda was named one of the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.

How to Use the Leading in Context® Website

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC. All rights reserved.

Which of These Is Ethical Leadership?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Which levels shown in the graphic below represent ethical leadership?

Is Just Following Laws Ethical Leadership?

The first level on the left, sidestepping laws and ethics codes, is clearly not ethical leadership. This self-focused, opportunistic approach to leadership represents a leader operating below the law or seeking loopholes for personal gain.

Which of These is Ethical Leadership

What about the second level, in the middle? Is complying with laws and ethics codes ethical leadership? When leaders and businesses operate below the level of  laws and regulations, they are punished.

The punishment threshold, though, is definitely not the same as the level of ethical leadership that we need in organizations. If we settle for leadership at this level, we will be missing many other important aspects of ethical leadership that are well above the punishment threshold.  

Increasing Expectations

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.

There are more ways of interpreting ethical leadership than just the three shown in this graphic, but the graphic illustrates the point that leaders are interpreting “ethical leadership” at very different levels. 

As we understand our global interdependence more clearly, the expectations for leading ethically will only increase. Aiming for the principled level of ethical leadership, the highest level, prepares us to meet our challenges as responsible global citizens.

Questions For Reflection

  1. Which of the three levels shown in the graphic best depicts my perception of what ethical leadership includes?
  2. How can I convey the message to those I lead that expectations for ethical leadership and ethical behavior are increasing?
  3. How will I systematically learn what I’ll need to know in order to respond to the higher expectations of ethical leaders?
  4. How will I share what I learn with others?

Linda Fisher Thornton is CEO of Leading in Context LLC, a leadership development consulting firm helping business leaders lead responsibly in a complex world.  She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Leadership for the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies. Linda was recently named one of the 2013 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior by Trust Across America.

How to Use the Leading in Context® Website

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC. All rights reserved.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,651 other followers

%d bloggers like this: