Different Perspectives (They’re Not a Threat)

By Linda Fisher Thornton Differences of opinion can be inconvenient and uncomfortable. We may be in a discussion with someone who has very different views from ours on a topic of great importance to us. How we handle it shows others the inner workings of our character.

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.

Don’t Let Your Ego Undermine Your Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton Ego has a way of undoing even our best intentions as leaders. We have to be aware of our ego and manage it to avoid getting off track. In a world that requires rapid adaptation to changing events and circumstances, ego tries to maintain the status quo and works against our ability to pivot in response to change. Think of the adaptable leader as piloting a boat, able to turn at a moment's notice as the situation warrants it. The ego-driven leader, in contrast, is living in a fortress with a moat around it, protecting status and the status quo at all cost. The fortress can't move, can't pivot, can't adapt to changing circumstances.

Ethical Culture: The Business Case For Prevention

By Linda Fisher Thornton After I published "Prevention or Cure: Your Choice" about reducing ethical risk and creating a positive culture a reader asked for more information about the business case for prevention. Here are some compelling reasons why the prevention approach is a better business decision than waiting for ethical problems and applying a "cure" after the organization is already in trouble.

Values-Based Culture: The Nudge

By Linda Fisher Thornton I was driving recently when the car beside me started to veer over into my lane. I was able to avoid an accident, but it made me think about what happens when employees start "crossing the line" in organizations. When someone becomes aware that another employee is doing something that goes against the company's values, what happens then? There are things leaders can do. Unlike the car example, the conditions needed to avoid a problem when an employee starts to cross the line are more complex. And the potential problems that can happen (if an employee crosses the line and does something unethical) are numerous. Under the right conditions, employees may nudge each other to stay in the lane, and a positive, high trust culture helps create those conditions.

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.

Navigating Paradox: Shift Your Perspective

By Linda Fisher Thornton What is a Paradox? "A paradox is a statement that contradicts itself, or that must be both true and untrue at the same time." --Literaryterms.net. Just like the many facets of a cut gem, there are multiple dimensions to issues and problems. Each facet reflects one particular element of the issue. When we encounter a paradox, we need to step back to get a broader view of the various facets.

Learning Ethical Leadership: Talent Development Implications

By Linda Fisher Thornton Ethical leadership isn't something we can ever say we've fully accomplished. It's not about arriving at any particular place, or about achieving a certain level of knowledge. Just knowing about ethics and leadership won't get us very far in an information-flooded, globally shifting, and unpredictable world where we are under time pressure and held accountable for making ethical choices under ever-more-extreme conditions including the current global pandemic.

How Values Change Everything

By Linda Fisher Thornton of values as a critical element in enabling and focusing individual and collective success. Values shape your life, leadership, career and relationships. If you are currently going through life without knowing what your values are, you're missing out on a powerful force for good that can offer a turbo-charged boost to propel you to where you want to go. This week I'm sharing how values change everything. Take a look at some of the many ways that values are transformational, and if you haven't identified yours yet, I'll share some advice on how to get started.

Unethical Leadership: What Causes Failures?

By Linda Fisher Thornton Ethical leadership failures can be caused by different types of problems that may compound. Some of these problems are individual and others may be embedded in the organizational culture.

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.

5 Easy-To-Spot Hallmarks of (Un)Ethical Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton Quibbling about terminology –the words used to describe unethical behaviors as they are uniquely defined by different groups – just misdirects our attention away from some foundational, easy-to-spot signs of unethical leadership.

Navigating Ethical Complexity

By Linda Fisher Thornton Developing ethical leaders and building ethical cultures have become critical business priorities. As if that weren't already challenging enough, managing ethics well also requires systems thinking and a broad understanding of ethical responsibilities. Why is ethics such a challenge for organizations? It has many dimensions, and while we are sorting them all out, expectations for how well we handle day-to-day challenges are increasing.  Keeping up is a formidable challenge. 

Elements of Ethical Leadership Development

By Linda Fisher Thornton Ethical leadership development is the ongoing process of guiding leaders to become ethical people and ethical leaders. It is not the same thing as compliance training or legal requirements, although those are also important. This is the human development that happens over time that brings leaders to the point of being able to handle what the world throws at them using ethical thinking and action.