5 Unexpected Teaching Insights

By Linda Fisher Thornton

After teaching for more than 20 years, I was surprised last week by the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies with the Itkowitz Family Distinguished Faculty Award. This is especially meaningful recognition for me, since I had ‘learned through’ the process of completely redesigning my Applied Ethics course as an online course and changing my teaching approach during the pandemic. This course redesign was an arduous process, and one that stretched me to become a better professor and a better person.

Senior Leaders: Set Clear Expectations For Values

Senior leaders set the tone for the organization’s ethics, but the senior leadership responsibility for values leadership includes much more than that. Today, I’ll look at the senior leader responsibility for sharing clear expectations, and explore more important roles that go well beyond setting the bar for expected behavior.

The Evolving Purpose of Leadership: Why More is Expected Now

By Linda Fisher Thornton

What ever happened to command-and-control (transactional) leadership and what has taken its place? How is our understanding of the purpose of leadership changing? Where is it headed?

In this video, I explain our evolving understanding of the purpose of leadership, and provide a context that explains why more is expected of leaders now.

Top 10 Posts 2014: Changing Ethical Leadership Expectations

By Linda Fisher Thornton

There were 52 Leading in Context blog posts published in 2014, and the ones isted below are the 10 that were most popular with readers. They are focused on learning proactive ethical leadership and building a high-trust culture. If I had to describe the theme of these posts it might be “learning how to keep up with changes in ethical leadership expectations.”

As you review these reader favorites, think about how you will adapt to changing ethical leadership expectations in 2015.

The Give and Take of Trust

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The post Should Trust Be Freely Offered or Conditionally Earned generated lively discussions in LinkedIn Groups about extending trust when we meet someone new. It was clear from reading the discussions that trust has many different dimensions.

Readers shared how they perceived trust – some saw it as an emotion, some saw it as a relationship, others described it as a mindset. They took the discussion beyond the original question and explored how we extend trust to others based on many variables.

Should People Have to “Earn” Your Trust?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When we meet someone new, should we trust them right away? Should we assume that they are trustworthy and give them the benefit of the doubt, or should we hold back until we are sure that they are worthy of our trust?

Unethical Leadership: Selective Inclusion

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I previously wrote about the problem of selective respect and today I’ll address it’s evil twin. It has been happening right in front of us and has been amplified by social media – leaders speaking from a perspective of selective inclusion. This week, I’m sharing a collection of posts that explain the importance of full inclusion and how to recognize examples that stray from it.

Leading In Times of Wear and Tear

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We’ve been through a lot. We’re tired, worn out, overwhelmed, and stretched too thin. We’re worried about our health and well-being and the health and well-being of those we love. We can’t lead as if we were in normal times because we’re definitely not and everyone knows it.

Setting Stretch Goals? Build in Ethics

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Employers using stretch goals to motivate employees to higher levels of performance need to take note of the ethical risk. If the push for higher performance doesn’t come with an emphasis on ethical behavior, it may be encouraging cheating.

The Human Journey

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The human journey. We’re all taking it, but we don’t always know where it’s headed. We can’t always see where we’ve been until later, when we have the long-term perspective and can begin to make sense of the twists and turns we’ve taken throughout our lives.

Adaptability is an Ethical Issue

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ego-driven leaders want to be “right” even when the evidence shows otherwise. They see rightness as something fixed that they can control. Of course, it isn’t fixed and they can’t control it, but they may not want to be confused with the facts. Conversely, when ego is not driving the thinking process, leaders can adapt to changing information and circumstances and change their minds.

Sensemaking

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Richard J. Cordes write in Making sense of sensemaking: What it is and what it means for pandemic research (Atlantic Council), that “Sensemaking is our brain’s response to novel or potentially unexpected stimuli as it integrates new information into an ever-updating model of the world.” While the research on Sensemaking is deep and complex, there are some practical questions leaders who are trying to make good decisions and help others make sense of a torrent of information can use to begin to identify and map out meaning.

Leaders who make sensemaking a priority will not only make better decisions themselves, they’ll also help employees make better decisions. People don’t just need leaders to share relevant data, they need them to share observations and insights about what data means and why the meaning is important. They need leaders to make sense out of information.