10 Tricky Questions About Ethics and Leadership Answered

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Go Into the New Year With Answers

What is the Ultimate Goal of Leadership?

“The question is not “Which one of these perspectives is right?” because they are all important ways of thinking about the goal of leadership. They are part of a bigger view that incorporates many dimensions of leadership responsibility. The question is “How can we honor all of them?”

What Does it Mean to Take Responsibility in Leadership?

“These surveys reflect increasing expectations for business leaders  – the expectations that we take responsibility well beyond managing our own Profits, to also improve life for People, support the success of Communities and protect the Planet. Profits and Corporate Social Responsibility are no longer seen as mutually exclusive ideals.” 

Why Do People Often Disagree About The Right Thing To Do?

“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

What is an Ethical Workplace?

“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 – the proper time orientation, focus, response, level and complexity.

What is Integrity?

“Following this definition, integrity is the alignment of our thoughts, actions and words with our personal values.  The tricky thing about integrity in organizations is that integrity is partly internal (what we think) and partly external (what we say and do).”

What is Conscious Capitalism?

“Conscious capitalism involves thinking beyond self-interests, demonstrating care for stakeholders at the global level, using a long-term time orientation and seeing the company’s role in the world through a systems view.”

What is the Greater Good?

“Many people refer to the “greater good” as an important part of leading ethically, and use different words to describe it. The descriptions they use collectively paint a picture of a responsibility to think beyond ourselves and to work for a better, inclusive society.”

What is Authentic Leadership?

“I believe that the following 14 personal, interpersonal and societal dimensions together form what we think of as authenticity. They involve overcoming the internal and external barriers to living an intentional, aware and ethical life.”

As you review these reader favorites, think about how you will adapt to changing ethical leadership expectations.”

As you plan for a successful year, keep in mind that ethics is a hot topic for consumers. How well you understand and apply ethical business leadership will have a strong bearing on your success.

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©2020 Leading in Context LLC

The Complexity of Ethical Thinking and Decision Making (Part 2)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

In Part 1 of this series I looked at the importance of Deep Thinking. In Part 2, we’ll consider the Context. No matter how much effort it takes to understand the context, we can’t expect to make an ethical decision without taking that step.

Understanding the Context

Without seeing the context – a broad and sweeping view of the issue we are discussing or trying to resolve and factors in the environment that affect it – we are just describing or trying to solve a SUBSET of the real issue. We are not seeing the whole issue. To use ethical thinking and decision-making, we must remind ourselves that the SUBSET is not the whole. 

If you drive a sports car on a crowded city street with your eyes closed, people are going to get hurt (including you). Making decisions without understanding the context is similarly risky. 

A clear understanding of the context is an important part of staying ethically aware and competent, and both are necessary qualities for responsible leadership. Ethical leaders know that there can be no ethical awareness without understanding the context, and without awareness, competence and responsibility are also out of reach.

    — Linda Fisher Thornton, Ethical Leaders Understand the Context, Leading in Context Blog 

It’s easy to find one or two pieces of information about an issue and think we understand it. In Context Matters: What We’re Learning About Food I explored what happens when we think about nutrition by looking at individual nutrients without considering the context. That example drives home the point because most of us have probably gone through life thinking about nutrition as a collection of individual nutrients.

“Applying the ‘food matrix’ concept we learn that we can’t accurately assess nutritional impact based on breaking down individual nutrients in isolation from the whole. We have to consider what we added and what we left out. In other words, context matters.”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Context Matters: What We’re Learning About Food, Leading in Context Blog

Understanding the context helps us make choices that “work” ethically in the particular setting and it prepares us to adapt to a changing world.  What is ethical in one context may not be in another.

Context Helps us See the Bigger Meaning 

Some people may feel that it’s wrong to hold someone accountable now for an ethical violation when the same action was not punished in the past. Considering the context helps us see that this change is not a result of “inconsistent” treatment, but of increasing expectations and accountability for ethical behavior.

“Full accountability – holding people accountable for ethical problems that were previously overlooked – may appear on the surface to be inconsistent and unfair. But when you take a closer look at the trends, you will discover an important reason why people are more frequently being held fully accountable. It is because ethical expectations are increasing and expanding.”

Linda Fisher Thornton, Full Accountability for Ethics: The New Normal, Leading in Context Blog

Context is an important element in ethical decision making. 

What Ethical Thinkers and Leaders Don’t Do

  • Assume they already know the context
  • Ignore new research or the informed opinions of others outside of their groups
  • “Save time” by ignoring the context so they can make a quick and decisive decision

What Ethical Thinkers and Leaders Do

  • Ethical thinkers and leaders take time to understand the context
  • They look outside of their own groups to see what others are learning about the issue
  • They carefully consider the context before making decisions or taking action
  • They adjust their thinking as new credible information emerges

Leaders who ignore the context frustrate those they lead and serve. Why? Ignoring the context and making a quick decision often leads to costly and time-consuming fixes later. The fallout from decisions made in a vacuum can be severe and leaders can miss critical ethical issues. Taking the time to understand the context, we more easily make decisions that fall within the ethical zone. 

Watch for Part 3, when I’ll explore the importance of embracing complexity


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©2019 Leading in Context LLC


Interview on the Leveraging Thought Leadership Podcast

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Today 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.

Click on the graphic above to hear the Leveraging Thought Leadership Podcast Interview with Peter Winick. The challenges I faced helped me grow and become a more authentic advocate for ethical leadership. Listen in!


Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2019 Leading in Context LLC


Ethical Thinking Through the 7 LensesMay 22, 2019



What is Meaningful Leadership? (Part 4)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

What is Meaningful Leadership? Seeking the Truth & Excavating Grey Areas Using Ethical Values

In Part 1 of this series we looked at how leaders generate meaningful environments where others can thrive. In Part 2 we explored a leader’s own quest for authenticity. In Part 3 we looked at the role of powerful conversations and a focus on collective success. In Part 4, we’ll examine how meaningful leadership requires truth-seeking based on ethical values. 

Meaningful leadership searches for the truth in a complex world. This requires seeing the nuances and moving beyond oversimplified either/or choices. It means investing time and effort in peeling away the irrelevant and the inaccurate to get to the heart of issues.

“Truth, like gold, is to be obtained not by its growth, but by washing away from it all that is not gold.”

— Leo Tolstoy

Meaningful leadership requires being willing to live in disequilibrium, without having all the answers.

“To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”

— Socrates

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain: either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow.”

— Friedrich Nietzsche

Meaningful leadership makes a lifetime commitment to learning and competence.

“Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.”

— Albert Einstein

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

— Viktor E. Frankl

Meaningful leadership sees complex issues from multiple perspectives, including the important perspective of what is best in terms of ethical values. Failing to see issues in terms of ethical values means abandoning the guidance system of human civilization.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

— Marcel Proust

Meaningful leadership uses ethical values to understand difficult issues, digging into intent and impact and revealing the best choices for multiple stakeholders.

Meaningful leadership requires working through discomfort but it is worth the effort. Ask yourself:

  1. How carefully do I excavate complex issues before I make a decision or take a side?  
  2. How consistently do I use ethical values as the basis for excavating the grey areas?
  3. What could I do with my teams to help us all get better at basing our thinking process on ethical values?

Top 100 Leadership Blog





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Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2018 Leading in Context LLC




Ethical Leaders Don’t Put the Brakes on Learning

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When leaders stop learning, they generate friction. Professionals who work with a leader who has “put the brakes on learning” are likely to experience conflict and dissatisfaction. A leader’s failure to learn starts a chain reaction that harms individuals and teams. 

How a Leader Who Puts the Brakes on Learning Affects a Team

  • Leader decisions based on outdated information frustrate competent team members and reduce their effectiveness.
  • Uninformed leader decisions often stray into unethical territory, with the leader pushing forward, pressuring team members to do what they know is not ethical right. 
  • Some highly talented team members working with an uninformed leader begin to look for other work.
  • Team members pressured to do things they know are not ethically right leave the team to find better working conditions. 
  • The departure of highly talented team members further reduces the effectiveness of the team.
  • The reputation of the team is damaged, making it hard to attract good people to fill positions.
  • Positions that remained unfilled put additional pressure on existing team members. More team members may decide to leave to find better leadership.  

When leaders put the brakes on learning, it cripples the whole team, starting a downward spiral to ineffectiveness. It damaged reputation and engagement metrics. It affects results. 

Ethical Leaders Learn

Responsible leaders know that learning must continue for a lifetime. Only then can they be ready to  make ethical choices as they handle the challenges of leadership. 

Good drivers don’t drive with the emergency brake on. Good leaders don’t put the brakes on learning. 

Top 100 Leadership Blog

Special 5 Post Series Celebrating the Second Printing of 7 Lenses

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 1)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 2)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 3)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 4)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 5)



22 Resources For Developing Ethical Thinking

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This week I’m sharing a collection of hand-picked resources that will help you upgrade your thinking. With all of the ethical messes in the news recently, this seems to be the right time to help you focus on PREVENTION as applied to thinking. It’s our thinking, after all, that determines what we decide to do under pressure. 

Ethical thinking has many important qualities, and one of them is that it is INTENTIONAL. It doesn’t happen on its own. Passive thinking is not likely to lead to ethical decisions or actions. Ethical thinking has to be intentional, developed and practiced. 

Use these resources to develop your ethical thinking skills. After upgrading your skills, you’ll be able to handle ethical issues at a higher level of complexity:

  The Missing Domain: Ethical Thinking

 The Missing Domain: Ethical Thinking Part 2

FINAL CHANGE THIS MANIFESTO_Page_01 What is Ethical Thinking? (and “What Ethical Leaders Believe”)

Ethics To Understand Complexity, Use 7 Dimensions of Ethical Thinking

Rethinking “Smart” Leadership in an Ethical Context

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 1)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 2)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 3)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 4)

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 5)

Ten Thinking Traps That Ethical Leaders Avoidthinkglobal8 Posts and a Trend Report on Global Thinking

Ethical Leaders Take Time to Think

Context and Responsibility 3Ethical Leaders Understand the Context


Ethical Grey Areas: Our Choices Define Us

Our Thinking is an Ethical Driver

Which Values are Ethical Values?

Fear is a Poor Advisor

Thinking Beyond Disciplines: Why We Need It

Five Unintended Consequences of Linear Problem-Solving

Take Your Thinking up a Notch: Strategies For Solving Complex Problems

Traps in How We Think About Leading: The Case of Focusing Too Much on Budget

Passive thinking does not work. As humans, we are flawed thinkers, and if we don’t manage the flaws in our thinking, those flaws will drive our choices. 

Get ready to lead in the volatile and unpredictable future. Read one of these resources each day to upgrade your thinking.


Follow The Leading in Context Blog for a new article each week!

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To Learn More, Read the Guide To Ethical Thinking and Leadership: 7 Lenses, Now in Its 2nd Printing!

Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 4)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

To celebrate 7 Lenses going into its second printing, this is the fourth post in a special series focused on Why Ethical Thinking Matters. In case you missed them, here are the previous posts in the series: Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 1),Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 2),and Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 3). Use the fresh perspectives shared in this series to guide your talent development plans for 2018.

You may already realize that ethical thinking is important, and if you do, I ask you to spread the word. To help you champion the cause in your organizations and on social media, I have included the business case below.

Ethics is an important part of brand value, so leaders need to be ready to model, implement, interpret and teach it. Teaching something to others and guiding them as they apply it requires a much higher level of skill than applying it only in one’s own work. To carry the company’s ethical brand value (EBV) forward, leaders will need to have mastered ethical thinking so they can guide others in how to use it. They will need to understand how ethics drives the economic engine of the company and the risks of a single ethical mistake that can reduce the company’s brand value in minutes. 

Leaders are ethical brand ambassadors. They need to be able to handle ethical challenges themselves, AND teach others throughout the organization

To be ready for the higher level requirements of  being an Ethical Brand Ambassador, leaders need clear ethical thinking. Here are some of the business reasons why that is so important:

Brand Value and Reputation Directly Impact Financial Results

“A business’s most valuable asset is its good name, its brand and reputation. In a recent survey released jointly by the World Economic Forum and the Fleishman-Hillard public relations firm, three-fifths of chief executives said they believed corporate brand and reputation represented more than 40% of their company’s market capitalization… Strong brand reputational value equals greater profits.”

Alexander F. Brigham Stefan Linssen, Your Brand Reputational Value Is Irreplaceable. Protect It! at Forbes.com

Ethical Business is A Powerful Consumer Trends

“…more sustainable, ethical, healthier modes of consumption that we’ve been tracking for years.”  


Leaders Guide Employees to Ethical Action

“Leaders ought to be a crucial source of ethical guidance for employees and should at the same time be responsible for moral development in an organization.”

Mihelič, Lipičnik, and Tekavčič, in the International Journal of Management and Information Systems

Ethics is the Heart of Brand Value

“In order to retain credibility, branding needs ethics at its heart”

Joshua Jost, Is Ethics the Saviour of Branding? Ethical Corporation

Keeping ethics at the heart of brand value relies on leaders who do more than just understand ethical thinking and action – they also need to live it and teach it to others throughout the organization. 

Read the Next Post in the Series: Why Ethical Thinking Matters (Part 5)

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©2018 Leading in Context LLC

Is Our Leadership “Good?”


By Linda Fisher Thornton

How will we know if our leadership is “good?” Since there are conflicting opinions about what good leadership includes, we need an understanding of the context to answer this important question.

This week I’m featuring a collection of posts that clear up questions you may have about how to define and practice “good” leadership. This is the kind of leadership that builds high-trust companies and communities. It is the high level leadership that brings out the best in people and engages them in meaningful work.

As you explore these posts, think about the ways you have learned about good leadership and who your role models have been. 

What is the Greater Good?

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

Is Your Leadership “Net Positive?”

What is the Ultimate Goal of Leadership?

We need “good” leadership at every level if we are going to build good organizations. Will our leadership stand the test of time? Will it be considered “good” by others looking back on it 100 years from now?

Top 100 Leadership Blog




Ethical Leaders “See” Their Choices Through All 7 Lenses

Includes case examples and questions.

Click the book cover for a preview.





Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2017 Leading in Context LLC

The Rise of Pay to Play

By Linda Fisher Thornton

It is sometimes difficult to sort out “pay to play” awards (you pay someone to say good things about you and give you an icon to put on your website) from legitimate awards (the judging process is objective — if you win you have actually earned it).

“Pay to Play” is On the Rise

Many businesses now provide “perks” if you like them on social media – but did they earn that like? In essence that like becomes a “payment” for the freebie that the customer wants, so the customer trades the endorsement for something they want. Are those likes real?

The gaming community uses “pay to win” strategies that let players pay extra to unlock advantageous perks that help them win. But in some cases this skews the advantage toward those who pay and the game isn’t as fun for those who don’t. Is that win fair?

In journalism, there is a temptation to grant “pay to play” favoritism to companies that pay to advertise in the publication, and reject stories about those companies that don’t pay. Is that fair and objective reporting? (Pay to play is rejected by the Society of Professional Journalists Ethics Code)

Without Ethics, Pay to Play Makes Good Sense (It Makes Money!)

Pay to play is a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” arrangement that may seem so attractive that it’s tempting to bypass our ethical responsibilities. 

Ethical leaders avoid the temptation and earn trust through fair dealings with people while following the ethics codes of their professions. They do the work to do it right. Now that’s real leadership.

Top 100 Leadership Blog





Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

Learn how ethical expectations are increasing, and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve.  


Click the cover to read a free preview!


Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2017 Leading in Context LLC







20 Quotes To Inspire Leaders in the New Year (Part 1)

Leaders-influence-others (1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

In the New Year, we will deal with leadership challenges we cannot predict now. To be ready, we need to set our leadership and learning on the path to success.

This series includes 20 quotes (linked to posts with leadership guidance) that will help you leverage your leadership planning. Here are the first 10:

Since our world and work are changing at the speed of complexity, every leader will always be a “work in progress.”

The changing leadership relationship requires us to put ego aside and work for the good of those we lead and serve.

Leaders are developers, team builders, imaginers, culture caretakers, roadblock removers and inspirers. Their success depends on the success of others. 

Leaders influence others, first by who they are and then by what they do.

Taking responsibility at the highest levels (even when it’s difficult) separates “good leaders” from the rest. 

Good leaders know that the road to profit leads through good work, good leadership and good ethics. 

When the leader improves, everybody can do more.

Real respect is not selective. It’s not selfish.

There is a vast difference between a leader who KNOWS and a leader who GROWS.

Leading with positive values inspires meaning-seekers who want to do more than just “show up.”

Is your organization crystal clear about what good leadership requires? Are you helping leaders get there? Use these articles as the basis for conversations that will clear things up going in to the New Year.

Top 100 Leadership Blog





Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

Includes case examples and questions.

Click the book cover for a preview.



Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC







5 Insights Into Leadership Development Future (Part 2)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This post is Part 2 in a series called “5 Insights Into Leadership Development Future.” Each post in this series will address trends in leadership development and how to prepare leaders for success in a complex, connected global society (In case you missed it, Part 1 addressed trends in ethical awareness, leading with values and changes in the learning landscape). 


We are beginning to think more holistically about the leadership role, including its global scope and broad impact. Today I want to describe the important trend toward wholeness that is helping us improve our effectiveness in many arenas and will be changing our approach to leadership development.  

Have you noticed that: 

  • In health care, we are moving away from just treating symptoms to supporting wellness
  • In the workplace, we are moving away from focusing on treating specific individual groups of people well toward a goal of full inclusion
  • In education, we are (slowly) beginning to embrace preparing the whole child for a good life rather than focusing only on knowledge and test scores
  • In religion, we are beginning to understand common values, rather than focusing only on separate religious traditions
  • In business, we are beginning to think about ourselves as one global community rather than just a disparate set of countries and boundaries

This trend toward wholeness is informing approaches to leadership development in important ways. To see how well you’re helping leaders adapt to this trend, ask yourself:

Are we giving leaders the whole picture and expanding their awareness of how things connect? Are we helping them see global patterns and trends? – Help Them See the Connections

Are we developing them as whole leaders, addressing their thinking processes and habits and not just their observable skills? – Help Them Understand Their Own Leadership Terrain

Are we giving them a holistic picture of leadership responsibility and not just focusing on laws and ethics codes? – Help Them See the Full Scope of Ethical Leadership Responsibility

Applying the trend toward wholeness to the way we develop leaders can have powerful positive effects. For example, we can help leaders examine and improve their leadership thinking – to find out where they might be thinking narrowly and not holistically. 

Marian N. Ruderman, Cathleen Clerkin, and Carol Connolly From The Center For Creative Leadership extend an invitation in their white paper Leadership Development Beyond Competencies: Moving to a Holistic Approach – “We call upon leadership developers to work together as a concerned community, to move beyond the established competency approach to offer deeper levels of leadership development.”

Specific Actions You Can Take Now to Help Leaders Adapt:

  1. Address leader learning on the internal as well as external aspects of leadership, helping leaders learn to manage their unconscious thoughts and become aware of how their thoughts can affect their behavior
  2. Help leaders understand the dimensions of what it means to take responsibility in leadership
  3. Get them talking about the places where they are observing a trend toward wholeness, and the impact of this trend on their lives and leadership

More to Come: I will be continuing this series with more important trends in leadership development and actions you can take to help leaders adapt.  Stay tuned for Part 3!

Top 100 Leadership Blog




Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

Includes how ethical expectations are increasing, and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve.

Click the cover to read a free preview!



Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC

The Future of “Leadership” (Do We Need a New Word For It?)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

While we are experiencing many global challenges, there is also a gradual global push toward better leadership.

There are many trends moving us toward a point where we clearly understand “leadership” to include good ethics and exclude any behavior that is purely self-serving or harmful to others. 

We have seen enough people making poor ethical decisions in the name of “leadership” to realize that we need to change something.  Some people may even think that things have gotten so bad that the term “leadership” should be replaced.

I disagree. Our understanding of what leadership means is evolving, so we shouldn’t throw out the word and replace it with a new one. We should continue the movement toward clearly re-defining it at a higher level.

What does redefining leadership at a higher level mean? 

  • When we say “leadership,” we will automatically include ethical responsibilities along with opportunities and benefits. 
  • When we say “leadership,” we will think “a privilege to serve” and not “a position of power.”
  • When we say “leadership,” we will think of the most humble, dedicated people who, working with others, try to leave the world better than they found it.

With this higher level understanding of leadership, we will never mistake a greedy, dishonest, fraudulent , harmful, toxic or care-less person who happens to have a title for a real leader. We will not be distracted by smoke and mirrors. We will look for substance and service. 

I am optimistic and I believe that this is the future of leadership. 

What do you think?  Are you ready to redefine leadership at a higher level? Are you ready to separate self-serving psuedo-leadership from real leadership?

Top 100 Leadership Blog




Bring Out Your Leadership Best: Learn To See Through 7 Lenses®. 

Includes how ethical expectations are increasing, and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve.

Click the cover to read a free preview!



Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC

No Shortcuts WIll Get You There

Good-leaders-know-that (1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

A for-profit company is an integral part of the global community, and its role is to provide value-creating services through the good work of good people. 

Good companies, like good citizens, make a commitment to positive purpose, positive intent and positive impact. That means that they do what’s right in the right way, showing concern for constituents and silent stakeholders.

People have tried shortcuts that go around respect, civility and tolerance, but there is no acceptable shortcut on the road to profit (or power) that “goes around ethics.”                                                                             — Linda Fisher Thornton

– See more at: http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2016/4/26/starbucks-ceo-whats-the-role-and-responsibility-of-a-for-pro.html#sthash.t9eTeK4V.dpuf

Good leaders don’t divide the world – they don’t treat people well only when it’s convenient or profitable. They treat people well because that is what good people do. Morally developed leaders understand that despite our differences, we are all part of the same group – the human group. Treating people that way build good neighborhoods and communities, on a local and global scale.

Shortcuts won’t get you there. Good leaders know that the road to profit leads through good work, good leadership and good ethics.  While it’s tempting to take shortcuts, our global understanding of “good leadership” is moving past a self-centered view of things. It’s time for leaders to step up.

Read more insights from Trust Across America Trust Alliance Members and Top Thought Leaders in this post on the FCPA Blog.


Top 100 Leadership Blog




Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

Learn how ethical expectations are increasing, and how to stay ahead of the curve.

Click the cover to read a free preview!



Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC


Ethical Failures: What Causes Them?

By Linda Fisher ThorntonMSJ-160130-08

This week Leaderonomics.com published “Understanding and Preventing Ethical Leadership Failures” as its Hard Talk Leadership Pick of the Week.

This article explores ethical failures and their individual and organizational causes.

It answers these leadership questions:
  • What are the intentional and unintentional causes of ethical failures?
  • What do you do when a senior leader isn’t meeting ethical expectations?
  • What culture gaps can lead to ethical failures?

Read the full article at Leaderonomics.com for answers to these important questions (Get an infographic-style version of the article by clicking the red PDF download button).

Why are the answers to these questions important for us to know if we want to build an ethical workplace? Understanding what causes ethical failures can help us build a more robust infrastructure for preventing them. 


2016 Top Thought Leaders

Top 100 Leadership Blog




Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

Includes how ethical expectations are increasing, and what you can do to stay ahead of the curve.

Click the cover to read a free preview!



Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC

What is Ethical Thinking?

FINAL CHANGE THIS MANIFESTO_Page_01By Linda Fisher Thornton

Today I’m taking you inside the mind of the ethical leader to explore ethical thinking

What do ethical leaders think about?

  • They are guided by a desire to have a positive impact.
  • They think about what’s best for others, and seek mutual benefit. 
  • They think about ways to demonstrate their values in day-to-day leadership, even when faced with difficult challenges.

Here are some ways that ethical leaders think about ethical responsibility:

Inside the Mind of an Ethical Leader

“I make decisions based on values, not money pressures.”

“I need to constantly learn in order to stay ethical.”

“I can learn something from you, even if we disagree.”

“Leadership means creating value for others.”

“Understanding multiple perspectives helps us find mutually beneficial solutions.”

 “Respect is the minimum standard.”

Excerpted From Inside The Mind of An Ethical Leader by Linda Fisher Thornton, Guest Post on Management Excellence by Art Petty.

The real test of our ethical thinking is in how we choose to handle our day to day challenges. 

Are we being dragged through the day reacting to the chaos, or are we making intentional, values-based choices? Are we the sum of our challenges, or of our choices?

Are We Our Challenges?







Or Our Choices?







Excerpted From ChangeThis Manifesto “What Ethical Leaders Believe” By Linda Fisher Thornton

The bottom line? Ethical thinking means we never lose sight of our positive purpose. We choose to be the sum of our values, not our challenges.

Top 100 Leadership Blog




Prepare Your Leaders For Ethical Leadership Future – Help Them Learn To See Through The 7 Lenses®. 

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®
©2015 Leading in Context LLC


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