29 Flawed Assumptions About Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I was pruning shrubs this week and it occurred to me that we have many mistaken assumptions about leadership that can lead us to make bad choices. Those flawed assumptions are like the deadwood we prune away from our plants in the spring.

…If we don’t prune regularly, the deadwood affects our growth and success.

10 Years of Top Posts: Leading in Context Blog

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This week I’m sharing The Last 10 Years of Top Posts on the Leading in Context Blog. It’s a time capsule of the issues you thought were most important over the last 10 years. For each year, I have selected a theme that reflects the topics and focus of the reader’s most read posts.        

Advancing Ethics in Your Organization (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Each day brings new challenges for leaders. They struggle to deal with uncertainty and complexity and sometimes the most ethical choices are not obvious. In this kind of environment, we can’t assume that things are going well even when there are no lawsuits or imminent ethical crises. What we need to do is build an ethical workplace that will discourage ethical problems.

The focus of this week’s post is on Ways to Improve Accountability For Ethics. Here are 3 ways to avoid relying on the status quo – that also help you “do good” in your organization, community and world.

Non-Violence and the Greater Good (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When we lead for the greater good, we leave a positive legacy for future generations. At this highest level of ethical leadership, we ensure quality of life and opportunities for others we may never meet, well into the future. We intentionally create a better world.

Get News Closer to the Source

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We have a “spin” problem in the media and it’s out of control. Unfortunately, many media channels have decided that clicks, and the dollars they generate, are more important than journalistic integrity. So we end up with people getting what they think is “news” when what they are actually getting is from sources of “infotainment,” and using that bad information to make bad decisions and even in some cases commit crimes. Infotainment sources that incite anger, violence, and bad decisions do not care about you. They are using you as a pawn for their own financial gain.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When a plane experiences heavy turbulence, a light on the overhead panel alerts passengers to take a seat and fasten their safety belts. The instructions are clear, people know what to do, and it’s usually an orderly process. When people make decisions in their daily rounds, though, there is no external alert or audible alarm to signal that they are stepping into an ethical issue or an ethical gray area and need to carefully consider ethical issues. This can be a problem, especially because there are so many cognitive biases working against us as we try to make responsible decisions.

Seeing the Facets of Facts Part 1

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Most of the time when we answer a question with a single response, that answer is only part of the picture. We have all seen leaders (who may feel a need to appear decisive) answer quickly without thinking through the implications of their response. When this happens, what they share is oversimplified and “partialized,” not a relevant or responsible interpretation of the complex issues involved.

The Disinformation Machine

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Global unrest is being fueled by widespread misinformation campaigns. Who’s fueling these campaigns? The bad actors who are creating misinformation? Or the platforms who intentionally or unintentionally share false information for profit? Or the people who believe the disinformation they read and incite violence? Or the leaders who fail to recognize the clear and present danger of the disinformation machine? Or the leaders who do recognize the danger and turn away, doing nothing? Together, all of these are fueling the disinformation machine in a systemic self-reinforcing loop.

Conquer These Leadership Temptations In The New Year

By Linda Fisher Thornton

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?

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Defining Characteristics of Unethical Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This week I’m sharing posts that clearly describe what unethical leadership looks like, and caution readers about the risks of allowing it to continue. While I have always blogged about proactive ethical leadership, my posts on unethical leadership continue to be some of the most popular, so I know you’re looking for answers.

How to Be Human (Together)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This week I’m sharing an edited compilation of three previously published posts that are relevant for leaders and organizations wanting to honor human rights in chaotic times. The first addresses the risk of excluding any humans from our organizational statement of inclusion. The second explains why values transcend borders and boundaries, and the third explains that how we perceive people who are ‘different’ impacts our behavior and our ethics.