Ethical Leadership Context

The Context for Ethical Leadership is Broader Than You May Think

The context for understanding ethical leadership is evolving as we connect information from a wide variety of disciplines that have not traditionally worked together. Here are some quotes from the Leading in Context Blog that illustrate the edges of  its context:

Curiosity and Imagination

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, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Curiosity and Imagination Necessary Ingredients in Ethical Culture” published May 18, 2011.

Beyond Profit

The trouble with using a profit-based definition of “ethics” is that by using profitability as a way to make decisions an entire spectrum of other issues is conveniently ignored. In order to avoid this trap and to move away from profit-based thinking, it’s important to broaden the variables we consider when making business decisions to include:

  • The impact of my products and services on consumers and society
  • The impact of my business operations on the planet
  • The long-term unintended consequences of my choices
  • The changing consumer mindset toward ethical business and avoiding harm
  • The erosion of customer confidence in my products, services and ethics
Linda Fisher Thornton, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Profit-Based Ethics: The Mindset Behind It” published May 11, 2011.
Harm and Inclusion

As we better understand how we are connected as a global society, and our thinking about ethical leadership evolves, our standards of  expected behavior begin to change.

We don’t accept treating people disrespectfully or abusively.

We tolerate less harm.

We think of harm more broadly.

We expect leaders to be inclusive.

We think of inclusion more inclusively.

…It raises the stakes for all of us.

Linda Fisher Thornton, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Curiosity and Imagination Necessary Ingredients in Ethical Culture” published May 18, 2011.

Respect and Trust
Have you noticed a trend toward more respectful behavior? Customers and employees aren’t accepting anything less. People are helping each other more, and sharing what they know more. They are expecting a higher standard of trust, respect and ethics.
Linda Fisher Thornton, in Leading in Context Blog Post “Leadership and…Respect: The New Minimum Standard for Workplace Behavior” published February 2, 2011.



For more, see new book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

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  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 


  1. Randal -Thank you for your interest in “Ethical Leadership Context.” If you would like to include an excerpt of this post in your newsletter, please let me know which part you’d like to include, and in what context it will be presented (with commentary, stand-alone article, quote, article review, humor, trends information, etc.) and please submit the link to the newsletter that will feature it. I’ll get back to you regarding permission to print.


  2. Excellent piece of writing and easy to realize story. How do I go about getting agreement to post element of the content in my upcoming newsletter? Offering proper credit to you the source and weblink to the site will not be a problem.


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