Ethical Leadership: Complexity, Context and Adaptation

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethical leadership requires growth, a willingness to acknowledge complexity and an understanding of the broader context in which we lead. Use these resources to improve your ethical awareness, learn about how the leadership context is evolving and check for learning blind spots.

Ethical Leadership: The “On Switch” For 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 it, 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.

Imperfectly Human

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We are all imperfectly human. We make mistakes. We do things that aren’t responsible. Yes we ALL do things that aren’t responsible at times. If you think you’re exempt, let me ask you this.

Imagining The Future Of Leadership

  By Linda Fisher Thornton Learning At 2,400 Tweets Per Hour I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to co-host the live #LeadWithGiants Tweetchat with @DanVForbes on January 19, 2015. The topic was “The Future of Leadership,” and the live chat trended…

5 Powerful Trends in Ethical Consumerism

By Linda Fisher Thornton

If you think your customers are separate from your business, you are behind the times. Customers are becoming part of the fabric of organizations in ways that meet their very specific needs. This week I describe 5 powerful trends that are changing the rules of business, and require a heightened ethical awareness.

5 Elements of a (Proactive) Ethical Workplace

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Last week I wrote about how to prepare for leadership future by staying centered in ethical values. Grounding our work in values is critically important but it’s not enough. There’s much more to being ready for the future of leadership than just staying aligned with positive values. This week I’m sharing a graphic about 5 other variables that need to be in place to build a (positive) ethical culture.

Want To Thrive in Leadership Future? Tether Yourself To Values

By Linda Fisher Thornton

It would be “easy […] for organizations and leaders to become frozen by the magnitude of the changes under way” (McKinsey & Co., Management Intuition For the Next 50 Years). Success in future leadership requires being nimble and adaptive, flexing with constant change, and being ready for anything.

How should we stay grounded as we avoid crises and manage our way through a maze of increasing expectations?

What is Integrity? Beyond “I’ll Know It When I See It”

By Linda Fisher Thornton

During the recent 2014 NeuroLeadership Summit, Jamil Zaki (an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford) talked about an interesting experiment the Stanford Neuroscience Lab did. The team took a large number of Fortune 100 statements of company values and generated a word cloud from them to see which word would appear most often. Which word was it? Integrity was the most frequently used word. This experiment reveals a general agreement that integrity is important, but what exactly does it mean? People may understand it in very different ways.

7 Definitions of “Good” (Why We Disagree About Ethics)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Why is it so difficult to agree on the right thing to do? One of the reasons we may not agree is that each of us may be using a different definition of what is “good.” Here are 7 different interpretations of what is ethically good, based on the framework in 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership (2013). Which ones are you using in your leadership?

Leading For Ethics Future? (Or Ethics Past?)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We are expected to make ethical decisions in a rapidly changing global society, where there is increasing awareness of what “ethical” means. The question of where ethics is headed has been the focus of my research over the last four years.

I have learned that to be considered ethical, we must consider more constituents, honor more dimensions of ethics, and lead ethically through higher levels of complexity. How do we prepare for that? We reach higher and think longer-term.

Ethics Isn’t “Out There”: It’s Us And Our Choices

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Much attention is paid to the tactics of ethics – the ethics codes, compliance plans and such. We can easily begin to think that ethics is something we can see and touch. Something finite. Something written in stone. Something outside of ourselves.

But that’s not where ethics lives.

How Do We Achieve Corporate Integrity?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

In the quest for corporate integrity, we must do a number of things well. We need to have clear expectations for what ethical leadership looks like in our organization; we need a congruent system for managing ethics that sends a consistent message; and we need a clear message about what taking responsibility for ethics really means to us.

There is an ethics trend away from a “push” mentality when it comes to learning about ethics (making people do it) to a “pull” mentality (making it positive so that people will want to do it).

Taking on that “pull mentality” involves creating a positive ethical environment:

How Current is My Message About Ethics?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethical expectations are continually increasing, and it is not always easy for leaders to keep up with the changes. This week, I’m sharing an assessment to help you answer the question “How current is my message about ethics?”

Ethics is About What’s Right (Not Who’s Right)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve noticed that there is a lot of discussion about who is right. Each person has an individual perspective that seems to be right from where they sit. Each group has values and norms that seem right. How can we make sense out of it all? When we need to make a critical decision, and everyone around us is arguing passionately for a different approach, how will we know which one is most right?