Focus on Teaching Students How to Think (Not What To Think)

By Linda Fisher Thornton Have you noticed that the current fray about what to teach about difficult subjects has been focused on teaching "one way or the other?" "Are you for it or against it? and "Which side are you on?" This approach completely misses the point that the purpose of education is not to teach students what to think. It's to teach students how to think, and how to navigate differences respectfully.

Transdisciplinary Thinking Leads to Better Decisions

By Linda Fisher Thornton There's a problem that people don't talk about often enough. In the quest to understand things, we have divided up content and areas of science and our world in general into categories that we label (like biology, art, and psychology for example) and think of as separate. People study inside these realms intensely until they become experts in them. The problem is that these divisions and their labels are false constructs that we have imposed on a world that is much more complex than the categories convey. When we think in these simple terms (and teach using them) we are oversimplifying our decision making, and that can lead us to make choices that don't lead to the outcomes we want.

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.

No Routine Decisions

By Linda Fisher Thornton As a leadup to a keynote I'm doing for the Michigan Association of School Boards, I was invited to submit a feature article for their fall issue of the MASB LeaderBoard. In the article, "Meeting the Challenge of Ethical Decision Making," I write about how since the start of the pandemic, decision making has become more complex and requires much more intentional decision making.

Leading the Return to In-Person Work: 5 Perspectives

By Linda Fisher Thornton This week I am sharing 5 interesting articles that tackle the challenge of leading the process of returning to in-person work. They each share a slightly different perspective. As a reminder, there are many human issues to consider beyond just keeping people well as we learn to live with COVID-19, and I discussed some of them in a previous post. Below are 5 additional resources, each highlighting issues to consider as you lead the return to the office this fall.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 6)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series on Recognizing Ethical Issues, I addressed the gaps in our thinking that require us to develop an ethical alert system. in Part 2, I explored why some leaders who want to do the right thing still don't "do the work" to learn how to do it. In Part 3, I dug into the importance of ethical awareness as the basis for ethical decision making. In Part 4 I described ways to develop ethical thinking. In Part 5, I shared some recent blog posts about how to recognize ethical issues in current events and make good decisions about them. In Part 6, I provide an overview of each post in the series and an opportunity for you to practice recognizing ethical issues with your teams.

Navigating Return to Work Challenges: Virginia Business

By Linda Fisher Thornton Today I'm sharing an article from Virginia Business called Future Shock that includes my recent interview with John Blackwell. His article focuses on how leaders are navigating through the many challenges of returning to in-person work after workers have enjoyed the increased flexibility of remote work during the pandemic.

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.

Leading In Times of Wear and Tear

By Linda Fisher Thornton We've been through a lot. We're tired, worn out, overwhelmed, and stretched too thin. We're worried about our health and well-being and the health and well-being of those we love. We can't lead as if we were in normal times because we're definitely not and everyone knows it.

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.

How Dangerous Are Conspiracy Theories?

By Linda Fisher Thornton How likely are we to believe things that aren't true? According to Lynne Malcolm in The psychology of conspiracy theories, "Psychological research suggests that we're all conspiracy theorists, thanks in a large part to our cognitive makeup."

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: