By Linda Fisher Thornton
Leading With Care
Using an ethics of care changes how we think and act as leaders. It helps us remember that each person is important and that treating each other with care is part of our shared human experience. Caring shows that we know that people are more than task-doers and that leading is more than tactical, more than obligatory, and more than just a job.
Encouraging and Supporting Others is a Leader’s Job
It is part our job as leaders to bring out the best performance each person has to offer. When we do that with care we make sure that we demonstrate concern and respect for others and encourage each individual and team we lead to be the best that they can be.
Leadership is fundamentally about relationships and ethical behavior. It’s about accomplishing the mission of the organizations we serve in ways that enhance trust and relationships with people and honor ethical principles. Caring for others and supporting their success is an important part of that responsibility.
What Does Caring Leadership Look Like?
Caring as leaders includes not only leading with respect but also building cultures where people treat each other with respect. Encouraging ethical behaviors in those we lead while handling complex problems is a continual challenge.
Questions for Reflection
1. How well do we demonstrate as leaders that we care for others?
2. In what settings are we not currently demonstrating care?
3. How will we help our leaders know what caring leadership looks like?
4. How will we incorporate the concept of care ethics into our leadership development?
For Further Reading
The Moral Psychology of Business: Care and Compassion in the Corporation by Robert Solomon, Business Ethics Quarterly v.8 no3 (July 1998)
Care Ethics Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Caring in Education by Nel Noddings
Leadership and the Ethics of Care by Joanne Ciulla
Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership
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