Commencement Address Answers “When Will It Get Easier?”

By Linda Fisher Thornton When I was asked by The University of Richmond SPCS to give a Commencement address, I did what most anyone would do - I struggled. I struggled to choose a topic, and struggled to write the remarks on a short deadline.

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.

Ethical Leadership Fuels Adaptability

By Linda Fisher Thornton The post “Leader Competence: Will It Be A Multiplier or Divider?” generated some great discussion on social media. Here’s a quote from the post: “Leader competence is either going to be a multiplier or a divider. When you have it, you multiply performance and trust, with exponential results. Without it, you divide your possible results by the incompetence factor.” After reading the post, one reader requested that I write more on the topic. This week I’m digging deeper into the multiplying and dividing effects of leader (in)competence, looking at how a leader’s ethical competence impacts trust, people, bottom line results and organizational adaptability:

The Danger of Us Versus Them

By Linda Fisher Thornton Any time you draw a line that excludes, you're leaving ethical territory. That's a bold statement, but when someone draws a dividing line that intentionally excludes people or groups, it can lead to an "us versus them" mentality. And from there, it's a short slippery slope to this and more...

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.

What is Ethical Leadership? Part 3

By Linda Fisher Thornton In part 3 of this series, I am sharing a clip from my recent talk at the Saint Anselm Center for Ethics in Society that answers the question "What happens when there is a serious conflict between two ethical values?" As you watch, think about the tradeoffs you and your organization have had to manage as you navigated the global pandemic.

What is Ethical Leadership? Part 2

By Linda Fisher Thornton Last week I shared a video clip of an overview of all 7 Lenses. This week, in Part 2, I'm sharing my response to the question, "Why haven't people agreed on one definition of ethical leadership?" from my recent talk at the Saint Anselm Center for Ethics in Society. Think about how many places you've seen recent disagreements about "the right thing to do" as you watch.

What is Ethical Leadership? Part 1

By Linda Fisher Thornton Which lenses must we look through to be ethical leaders? That is the important question I answered during a recent talk at the Ethics and Governance Forum at The Saint Anselm Center for Ethics in Society. As you watch the video clip overview of the 7 Lenses of Ethical Leadership, think about how you can apply all 7 Lenses in your daily thinking and leadership.

Top 10 Posts of 2021: Leading in Context Blog

By Linda Fisher Thornton Of the 52 individual posts published on the Leading in Context Blog in 2021, these 10 were the most popular. See if you notice a theme that connects these new topics that readers accessed most frequently:

22 Quotes to Inspire Leaders in the New Year (Part 2)

By Linda Fisher Thornton This series includes 22 quotes (linked to posts with leadership guidance) to inspire you and help you improve your leader development as we head into the new year. Part 1 included the first 11. Here are 11 more:

22 Quotes to Inspire Leaders in the New Year (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton Are your leaders prepared for the year ahead? Each day will bring new challenges, and to succeed within ethical boundaries, we’ll all need a clear picture of “good leadership.” This series is an annual tradition and this year’s posts include 22 quotes (each linked to a post with leadership guidance) to inspire you to grow your leadership skills to be ready for whatever 2022 may bring. Part 1 includes the first 11.

The Journey to Authentic Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton The journey to authentic leadership is not an easy one. It's full of challenges, and it requires developing a high level of self- and other-awareness over time. "Knowledge experiences" alone won't be enough to stimulate the kind of learning that is required on this important journey.

Leaders: Practice Perspective Shifting

By Linda Fisher Thornton Perspective shifting is a hot topic now for a very good reason. We're in a time when conversation can quickly become divisive, with otherwise friendly people choosing sides and ostracizing former friends and family members. This article will focus on the benefits of perspective shifting and how to practice it so that you can more quickly see beyond the disagreement to the bigger picture.

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.

Leadership, Blurred Lines and Sliding Scales

By Linda Fisher Thornton Leadership has entered a new realm, leaving the space of knowns and certainties (which was an illusion anyway) and entering the space of deep uncertainty, blurred lines and sliding scales. What it takes to succeed as a leader in this new realm is completely different from the leadership of ages past.