How Is Critical Thinking Different From Ethical Thinking?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethical thinking and critical thinking are both important and it helps to understand how we need to use them together to make decisions. 

  • Critical thinking helps us narrow our choices. Ethical thinking includes values as a filter to guide us to a choice that is ethical.
  • Using critical thinking, we may discover an opportunity to exploit a situation for personal gain. It’s ethical thinking that helps us realize it would be unethical to take advantage of that exploit.

Develop An Ethical Mindset Not Just Critical Thinking

Critical thinking can be applied without considering how others will be impacted. This kind of critical thinking is self-interested and myopic.

“Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it. When grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful manipulation of ideas in service of one’s own, or one’s groups’, vested interest.”

Defining Critical Thinking, The Foundation For Critical Thinking

Critical thinking informed by ethical values is a powerful leadership tool. Critical thinking that sidesteps ethical values is sometimes used as a weapon. 

When we develop leaders, the burden is on us to be sure the mindsets we teach align with ethical thinking. Otherwise we may be helping people use critical thinking to stray beyond the boundaries of ethical business. 

 

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2019 Leading in Context LLC

 

Ethical Thinking Through the 7 LensesMay 22, 2019

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Beyond Civility

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Civility seems like a minimum standard or a fallback position, certainly not a desired end. We expect so much more from ethical leaders.

Without civility, communication is chaotic and difficult (if not impossible). Civility adds choosing words more carefully and avoiding blaming and attacking others. When I think about people “being civil” I get a picture of people who don’t like each other very much struggling to maintain their composure.

The origin of the word and its uses are interesting.

“The word civil has about twelve different meanings; it is applied to all manner of objects, which are perfectly disparate. As opposed to criminal, it means all law not criminal. As opposed to ecclesiastical, it means all law not ecclesiastical: as opposed to military, it means all law not military, and so on.” [John Austin, “Lectures on Jurisprudence,” 1873] https://www.etymonline.com/word/civil

Extrapolating on this definition, perhaps civil interpersonal behavior is “all behavior not criminal.” I advocate Civility, but not as an ideal. Just as law is the minimum standard of acceptable individual behavior in a society (below which you are punished) civility seems to be the minimum standard of interpersonal behavior (so as not to get in trouble with the law). Use these posts to learn about the nuances of civility as an ethical issue.

Civility is an Ethical Issue

Civility and Openness to Learning

The Questions We Have in Common

Top 100 Leadership Blog

 

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Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2019 Leading in Context LLC

Leaders Influence First By Who They Are

 

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By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethical leaders are not easily pulled off course – They stay focused on the values that are important in good leadership. They realize that they are influencing others, and they perceive that as both a privilege and a responsibility. They ask themselves, “In my leadership, am I making the path clear for others to follow?” 

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

If we see leadership as only a privilege (and not a responsibility) we may be tempted by personal gain. If we see it as only a responsibility (and not a privilege), we may miss the joys of bringing out the potential of those we lead. 

Because good leadership is centered in positive values, leaders influence others first by who they are and then by what they do. They do not need to promote themselves as responsible leaders because their actions convey what words cannot.

 

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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!

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Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Leader is a “Work in Progress” (Yes, Even You)

Every-leader-is-a-work

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When we reach a certain level of accomplishment as leaders, it is easy to think we can slide into neutral. Here are 14 compelling reasons why we can never afford to cut back on investing in our own leadership development and competence:

atching trends that impact our work and the success of those we lead

pening up to new feedback from followers and colleagues (and doing something about it!)

esponding to requests for new services, processes and communication channels

eeping up with changing times and technologies

 

nforming others of key information and engaging our networks in conversations about it

ever thinking we have “arrived” (leadership is a relational journey and the world is changing fast)

 

reparing for future challenges that we have identified through trend scanning

especting all other people including people who are not like us (it’s a constant learning experience)

ffering to take on new assignments and responsibilities

rowing into our new roles and responsibilities (whether we volunteered for them or not)

eaching for new skills and abilities to become the best leader we can be

ntertaining new ideas and perspectives on important issues (that don’t match our current beliefs)

implifying work and how we use our time to be able to keep up with increasing work complexity

tudying and responding to changing ethical expectations

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

Top 100 Leadership Blog

axiombronze

 

 

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!

 

LeadinginContext.com  

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC

 

Leader Development 2015: Human Growth Required

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When we want to prepare leaders for success in the trenches of business leadership, we don’t get very far by providing a cushy “spa-like experience.” We can easily focus too much on creating “events” for leader education and miss the much deeper preparation that leaders need.

What prepares leaders to handle their tough everyday challenges? Their success requires much more than knowledge building. It requires rewiring mindsets and developing new capacities. The best way to do that is through experiences that lead to real human growth. Leadership development should stretch leaders and help them develop the capacity to handle bigger challenges. These recent reports describe the need for leaders to stretch into new capabilities:

Josh Bersin, in his Forbes.com article “Spending on Corporate Training Soars: Employee Capabilities Now a Priority” says that “Global leadership gaps continue to be the most pressing issues on the minds of business and HR leaders.” 

Nick Petrie of the Center For Creative Leadership notes that “This is no longer just a leadership challenge (what good leadership looks like); it is a development challenge (the process of how to grow “bigger” minds). (Future Trends in Leadership Development, CCL.org)

The Wall Street Journal article “How to Develop Future Leaders” says that “Stretch assignments are growth-oriented exercises with some inherent risk. They’re designed to push participants past their skill level.”

“Leadership today is more than what you know. It requires the ability to adapt and respond to different circumstances and to connect with different kinds of employees, including employees of different ages and different cultural backgrounds” according to HBR Publishing “What the Future Demands: The Growing Challenge of Global Leadership Development” by Mercer and Oliver Wyman.

We are preparing leaders to handle a high degree of complexity and we need for them to consistently make ethical choices. At its best, leadership development is not an “event.” It’s a capacity-building endeavor. It’s a process of human growth and development.

Leaders must become capable of imagining more, doing and being more, and enabling others to accomplish more in challenging times. Only human growth will get them there.

Recent Leading in Context Honors:

CEO Linda Fisher Thornton in Global CEO’s TOP 100 CSR LEADERS and on Jeff Haden’s Inc. list of “100 Great Leadership Speakers For Your Next Conference” 

7 Lenses won an Axiom Business Book Award and Achieved a Top 100 Best Seller Rank in the “Ethics” category in the Kindle Store (June, 2014)

7 Lenses Used by Major U.S. Universities To Teach Leadership, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Over 80 Media Mentions in 2014 Including BBC-Capital and The Globe and Mail

And the greatest honor of all – Followers and Friends From 182 Countries (WordPress year-end report 12/31/14)

 

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