Tis The Season

By Linda Fisher Thornton

It’s the season of giving and gratitude and celebration, and today I’m sharing a sampling of this blog’s best seasonal messages. Each is meant to inspire us to become our best. As leaders we can promote unity or divisiveness, but of those two, promoting unity is the only ethical path.

12 Gifts of Leadership (Will You Give Them This Year?)

These 12 Gifts of Leadership are on the wish lists of employees around the world. They aren’t expensive. They don’t require dealing with the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, and one size fits all. Sure, these gifts are harder to give than a fruitcake, but they will be life-changing for those you lead.

A Message Of Gratitude

Take a moment, in this season of giving thanks, to share a message of gratitude with a leader who has changed your life and inspired your leadership.

A Message of Hope 

Great leaders inspire hopefulness. They imagine a better world, and they build the future accordingly.

Leaders, Keep Your Sense of Wonder

What happens when we lead with a sense of wonder? We are open to new experiences, and we tend to look for the best in others and in the world. A sense of wonder keeps us curious and helps us understand things in new ways.

Wishing You Joy

Joy is not something we simply hope for or wait for. It’s something that we create through our everyday actions and relationships. As we celebrate the Holidays and enter the New Year, I hope that you enjoy the timeless quotes about joy that follow. Notice how these reflections on joy tend to focus on gratitude, imagination, open-mindedness and service.

Wishing You Peace

Peace is one of those things that requires reaching out. Just as we must extend trust to receive it from others, we must also extend peace in order to receive it. When each side watches and waits for the other party to extend peace, they create a stalemate that is unresolvable…until someone takes the first step and reaches out.

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©2018 Leading in Context LLC


Will 2018 Be The Year?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

As a global community, we have learned some things this year. Business leaders have learned that ethical leadership transforms organizational metrics. Global citizens have learned that values are the most important defining characteristics of nations, and if we don’t operate from a base of values we descend into conflict and chaos. 

Perhaps 2018 will be THE YEAR. Maybe based on everything that has happened this year, it will be the year we: 

  1. Agree on values first, then on operational details
  2. Lead from understanding and collaboration rather than a quest to “win” at others’ expense
  3. Select leaders who are grounded in ethical values and know how to apply them in every context
  4. Raise the bar on ourselves as the world changes, to stretch and grow into rising ethical expectations
  5. Reach out instead of lash out

As we head into the holiday season, I wish you great joy, peace and understanding. May we all become better at seeing the things that bind us together (and the things that don’t) for what they really are. 


I wish you great joy, peace and understanding this holiday season. Thank you for putting the Leading in Context Blog in the Feedspot Top Leadership RSS Feeds in 2017!

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50 Ways to Lead For Trust (Part 3: The Last 20)


Make-Work-Meaningful-and (2)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This post is the third in a series on 50 Ways to Lead For Trust. Part 1 included numbers 1-15. Part 2 gave you 15 more, and this post includes the final 20 Ways to Lead For Trust.

Here are 20 more ways that you can build lasting trust through your daily leadership: 

31.  Ask What Keeps People From Success, and Remove Their Roadblocks

32.  Involve the Team in Charting Its Own Course For the Future

33.  Share the Credit

34.  Take Responsibility50-Ways-to-Lead-For-Trust

35.  Be Inclusive

36.  Support People’s Overall Well-Being

37.  Encourage Cooperation

38.  Bring Out Their Potential

39.  Promote Responsible Business

40. Trust Others To Do Great Work

41.  Require Respectful Interpersonal Behavior

42. Help People Handle Complexity

43. Ask Them to Work Smarter, Not Harder

44. Avoid Harm to Constituents

45. Do Good Works in the Community

46. Involve People in Service to Society

47. Be Positive and Proactive

48. Be Fair

49. Recognize Others

50. Make Work Meaningful and Rewarding

Use the 50 Ways to Lead For Trust to give yourself a “Trust Checkup.” Looking at these 50 actions, what will you choose to do TODAY to build a high-trust workplace where everyone can do great work?

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

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Do Differences of Opinion Set Off Your Threat Detector?

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.

We have all been in conversations with people who are open to hearing what we have to say and those who are not. When we perceive an idea as a threat, it may be a signal that we are CLOSED to learning. And that may lead us right into unethical territory, to disrespectful interpersonal behavior. 

As you review these descriptions, think about your recent conversations. Was the other person OPEN or CLOSED to learning? Did they perceive a difference of opinion as a threat or an opportunity to learn?

Sees a Difference of Opinion as a Threat

  • Different ideas are direct threats to my position
  • When we disagree, only one of us can be right
  • Listening to dissenting opinions is dangerous and should be avoided
  • People who disagree with my position should be belittled and put in their place to reduce their power

Sees It as a Learning Opportunity

  • Different ideas are opportunities to learn
  • When we disagree, we might both be describing different parts of a bigger concept
  • Listening doesn’t mean we have to change our beliefs, but we are open to that if it happens
  • Listening to dissenting opinions increases our understanding of issues we care about

Ethical leadership requires us to respect people and differences of perspective even when those differences may make us uncomfortable. 

Override your threat detection system when you hear information that goes against your current views.

If differences of opinion set off our “threat detection” system and make us angry, that may be a sign that we are closed to learning. I have noticed over the years that perceiving the ideas of others as a threat is signal that we need to listen. 

This week, notice what sets off your threat detection system, and see what you can learn when you choose to override it and remain open to learning.

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

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