Changing Our Mind (It May Not Mean We’re Indecisive)

By Linda Fisher Thornton When we change our position on an issue, sometimes it is because we simply can't decide. But when you look at mind-changing from the perspective of human growth and development, you can see that there is often more to it than that.

Does “Politically Correct” Mean Inclusive and Respectful?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I studied Linguistics and Communications at The University of Virginia and I am fascinated by how words shape our perception of things. Lately there has been a lot of discussion about the term "politically correct," sometimes shortened to "PC." I have noticed it is used when people refer to the pressure to be polite to all people, including those who are different from themselves. 

Seeing The Facets of Facts Part 2

By Linda Fisher Thornton Building on last week's post about Seeing the Facets of Facts, this week I'm digging into the dangers of "Partialized Facts." When I say "Partialized Facts" I refer to treating one perspective on an issue that is only part of the picture as the whole truth. I have seen it happen so many times. It's time to call it what it is. Unethical.

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.

AI: Where Are We Now? Report via EDUCAUSE

By Linda Fisher Thornton Managing the ethics of artificial intelligence is only becoming more complex over time, and the stakes are high for finding a path forward. This week I am sharing a special report "AI: Where Are We Now?" published by EDUCAUSE. This timely report includes an article I wrote for the EDUCAUSE Review titled "Artificial Intelligence and Ethical Accountability." The article (on pages 8, 9 and 10 in the EDUCAUSE Special Report) explores the intersection of AI and ethical accountability and provides practical guidance, closing with Five Steps IT Departments Can Take to Manage the Ethics of AI.

Leadership is Evolving: Why More is Expected Now

By Linda Fisher Thornton The definition of "good leadership" is changing over time as people become more aware of the long term impact of poor leadership decisions. Other factors that change our current understanding of leadership include increasing ethical awareness and stronger physical evidence of the impact we are having on the planet. Watch this video for a quick overview of this evolution and why more is expected of leaders now.

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.