Conquer These Leadership Temptations In The New Year

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This is an update of a previously published post (that is even more timely today).

We’re starting a new year, with fresh possibilities, and it is a good time to think about our leadership values. What do we believe? How do we treat others? What matters to us? Can people determine our values by watching how we treat people?

13 Leadership Temptations To Conquer In the New Year

As we think about how we want to lead this year, we need to recognize that it is tempting to make easy short-term decisions that end up having negative ethical consequences in the long run. Sometimes those seemingly easy decisions are only “easy” because

  • we have oversimplified them
  • we have only considered how our choice benefits us and have failed to consider its impact on others, or
  • we have ignored important ethical factors.

The leadership temptations below are very real and we have all faced them. As leaders, it is our job to carefully resist them. To do that, we first have to admit that they exist and that they challenge us, and then we must decide to take positive actions.

We all have the capacity to do good or to do harm. Let’s resolve to do good and to resist these Leadership Temptations In the New Year.

13 Leadership Temptations To Conquer In the New Year

  1. Thinking that ethics is just about words and not about our choices
  2. Attacking people instead of attacking problems
  3. Choosing “quick fix” solutions that do more harm than good in the long run
  4. Judging others and thinking that differences are a threat
  5. Treating others with disrespect
  6. Avoiding change when we really need to adapt
  7. Thinking that rules and laws are for other people, not us
  8. Profiting at the expense of others
  9. Blaming other people instead of examining our role and taking responsibility
  10. Treating employees as commodities rather than as human beings 
  11. Ignoring feedback that we don’t like
  12. Reading only that which confirms what we already believe
  13. Doing anything that sets a bad moral example for others

Author’s Note: This post was inspired by British ethicist Mary Warnock in her speech about scandals in the British Parliament, shared on Vimeo by The School of Life. 

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership  

© 2009-2023 Leading in Context LLC


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