Embracing Complexity is Part of Leadership Complexity has become a way of life. To make ethical decisions, we must embrace it and incorporate it into our thinking process. That means digging in to issues until we understand their multiple dimensions, connections and contradictions. It means being intentional about decision making and avoiding making snap judgments.
By Linda Fisher Thornton When Thinking is Starved For Context and Complexity Think about how easy it is to start using shallow breathing without being aware that we're doing it. This can happen when we're stressed or anxious, and it can impact our well-being. We may be unaware that we are using shallow breathing until someone notices we're turning pale and tells us to BREATHE. When we use shallow thinking, that similarly impacts the "well-being" of our decision making, leading us to false conclusions and ethically problematic decisions. It's almost as if when we use shallow thinking, our decision making is getting less oxygen. We can medically treat people who are having trouble breathing. But what do we do about thinking that is starved for context and complexity?
By Linda Fisher Thornton I've blogged about how to spot fake news and variables complicating media ethics. Today I'll explore the characteristics healthy media consumption. Let's begin with a dose of healthy skepticism. Healthy Skepticism You can't believe everything you see. Photographs and videos that appear to be "proof" of a story may have been altered. Your best best is to choose your sources of information carefully so that you can reasonably be assured that what you are seeing and hearing is real.
By Linda Fisher Thornton The last time I had to stop to let a flock of geese to cross the road, they were in no apparent hurry. Most likely, part of their territory had been turned into a housing development, and they were just travelling from point A to point B. The driver of the car in front of me enjoyed the nature moment - watching them quietly as they crossed. "One touch of nature makes the whole world kin." William Shakespeare The driver in the left lane, though, was clearly not happy with the interruption. The car inched forward, closer and closer to the geese, and the driver honked repeatedly to hurry them along.
By Linda Fisher Thornton I have a special message for our 2019 graduates. It includes five important life insights that I wish someone had shared with me when I was a new graduate beginning the next chapter of my life.
By Linda Fisher Thornton As humans, we are flawed thinkers who fall victim to biases and traps. The biases and traps we so easily fall into reshape our thinking in ways that can lead us to make bad decisions.
By Linda Fisher ThorntonEthical thinking and critical thinking are both important and it helps to understand how we need to use them together to make decisions.
By Linda Fisher ThorntonThe question of the day is "How does "shallow thinking" leads to ethical mistakes?" By shallow thinking, I mean thinking that is limited in breadth and depth. Think about taking a stroll on the beach as you read the characteristics of shallow thinking below. Think about how these characteristics describe the kind of thinking that leads to ethical mistakes and decision gridlock.
By Linda Fisher ThorntonToday I'm sharing my recent interview with Peter Winick on the Leveraging Thought Leadership Podcast. We had an interesting conversation about my journey including how I got my start, challenges I faced and "growing into" this important work.
By Linda Fisher ThorntonAlbert Einstein said "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Yet many leaders try to unravel increasingly complex issues using the same thinking process they have always used.
By Linda Fisher Thornton The traditional view of research in the U.S. has been that something has to be proven to a statistically significant degree using established research procedures. It should be able to be replicated to confirm that the results are accurate and true. The problem is that established research procedures generally call for isolating one thing at a time to prove cause and effect, but we live in a world of complex, connected systems.
By Linda Fisher Thornton How we think about something will impact what we do about it. To be ready to handle difficult challenges, our thinking needs to stretch to help us adapt. Nick Petrie, Center For Creative Leadership, writes in Vertical Leadership Development Part I that "In terms of leadership, the stage from which you are thinking and acting matters a lot. To be effective, the leader’s thinking must be equal or superior to the complexity of the environment." An "Un-Fixed" MindsetThe environment is constantly changing and increasing in complexity. When we change our thinking, we change our capacity. Capability, or what we can do, is still important, but it won't get us far if we're using an outdated mindset.
By Linda Fisher ThorntonSince I started researching ethical leadership, I have begun to notice just how many different people are trying to steer us in the right direction. Their ethical messengers cross geographic and time boundaries and professions. The messages they leave are compelling. They are trying to tell us something important.The messages are packaged in a multitude of different ways including books, music, quotes and stories. People who have realized important insights about ethics are leaving a trail for others to follow. But to follow, we have to notice.
By Linda Fisher Thornton The theme I noticed in the most viewed posts on this blog in 2018 was Looking For a Better Kind of Leadership. Google reported that the most popular Google searches in 2018 were about how we can be good people. It sounds like it's a great time to explore the question "What is Good Leadership? While it's tempting to over simplify leadership and think about it as any one thing, good leadership can only be fully understood by thinking about it in multiple ways. Here is a starter list of 16 defining characteristics of good leadership:
By Linda Fisher Thornton Civility seems like a minimum standard or a fallback position, certainly not a desired end. We expect so much more from ethical leaders. Without civility, communication is chaotic and difficult (if not impossible). Civility adds choosing…