The Complexity of Ethical Thinking and Decision Making (Part 3)

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.

The Willingness to Admit We’re Wrong

By Linda Fisher Thornton We've all been wrong. It's only when we are willing to admit that we're wrong that we show what this John Templeton Foundation video describes as "intellectual humility." This video, titled "The Joy of Being Wrong" is a compelling visual portrayal of the process of being willing to admit we're wrong, and it describes the many personal and social benefits that result.

Ground Rules for Talking About Controversial Topics

By Linda Fisher Thornton Talking about controversial topics has become a daunting task. There are some things we can do, individually and collectively, to improve those difficult conversations. Use the important points below as ground rules for discussing potentially emotionally charged issues:

3 Steps For Dusting Off Your Leadership in the New Year

By Linda Fisher Thornton When we start a New Year, it's is a wonderful time to take stock of our leadership. The intense, conflicted global environment we face is formidable. Sitting still won't keep our leadership up to the task.  It's definitely not a good time to let our leadership get dusty from a lack of attention. It's time to take action. Here are three things you can do to dust off your leadership and discover your best capabilities this year: 

Grey Areas: Our Choices Define Us (Part 2)

By Linda Fisher Thornton This post is an updated version of a reader favorite.  There Will Always Be Grey Areas There will always be ethical grey areas.  We see plenty of information about lying, cheating, stealing and other obvious ethical violations. It is more difficult to know what to do when we encounter behaviors that fall into ethical grey areas, particularly in term of relationships with other people. Grey areas are difficult for anyone to handle but leaders bear the additional weight of needing to set the tone for the organization. Each decision impacts the ethics of the organization.

What is Meaningful Leadership? (Part 5)

By Linda Fisher Thornton What is Meaningful Leadership? Making a Difference By Building a Better Society For the Future 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 relational ROI. In Part 4, we examined how meaningful leadership requires truth-seeking based on ethical values. In Part 5 we'll take a look at how meaningful leadership makes a difference by building a better society for the future.  Meaningful leadership sees the world in terms of building a better future together. The important focus on together requires not drawing lines around "better" or "worse" people or creating "in" and "out" groups.

What is Meaningful Leadership? (Part 3)

By Linda Fisher Thornton 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'll look at the role of powerful conversations and a focus on collective success.

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.

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. 

Seeing The Nuances Of Ethical Leadership (A Developmental Model)

By Linda Fisher Thornton Leadership is not a position or a task. It is a complex array of roles, relationships and processes, and yet we use one term, "leadership," to talk about it. And in using that term, we often mean different things. What Then is Leadership?

Fear is a Poor Advisor (Moving Us Away From Ethical Thinking To Protect Us)

By Linda Fisher Thornton When we make decisions based on FEAR, our brains switch on the lower-level processor - which makes decisions based on a FIGHT-OR-FLIGHT response. The decision-making power of that part of our brain is extremely limited, turning our thoughts to lower level responses like "RUN!" or "HIT THEM FIRST." Obviously, ethical decisions must be based on better thinking than "RUN" and "HIT THEM FIRST." Our fear response takes us into PROTECT and DEFEND mode, and that mode causes us to shelter in place, retrench and protect our own interests. It drastically restricts the breadth of our thinking and doesn't give much energy to our impact - what our choices will do to others.