Detachment and Ethics Don’t Mix

20150804_194451By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethics and detachment don’t mix. In fact, combining high ethical expectations with detached behavior can lead to trouble. 

How can “detached leadership” contribute to ethical problems?

  • When we seem unapproachable, people are less likely to bring up ethical problems they’ve observed
  • Removing ourselves from day-to-day work keeps us unaware of ethical issues and potential ethical hot spots
  • When we are unapproachable and unaware, we can seem unconcerned, leading people to think that ethics is not a priority

Hands-off leadership can be as bad as micromanagement in terms of its ultimate impact on organizational ethics. When leaders lock themselves away and are not available to those they lead, they are removing themselves from the important role of championing ethical decisions and actions.

Ethics has to be personal, systemic and positive to drive an organization’s success. Detachment undoes all three important elements. 


Reader Opportunities:

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If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area, please join me for a Book Talk on April 7th at the Tuckahoe Library. This event is free and open to the public. See for details. I’m looking forward to sharing my story with readers of 7 Lenses and the Leading in Context Blog in this local author showcase!

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Also plan to join me for an International Leadership Association Leadership Perspectives Webinar: Seeing “Good Leadership” Through 7 Lenses of Ethical Responsibility, April 27th , 12-1 pm. Registration is open to everyone. There is a small fee for non ILA member registration.

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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!  

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership®

©2016 Leading in Context LLC


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 culturethe proper time orientation, focus, response, level and complexity.

5 Elements of the Ethical Workplace REV



We believe that ethics, integrity and trust are critical to our success.

…But what are we doing to clarify them, to anchor our work to them, to teach our organizations how to apply them?

…Are we doing enough?

 Linda Fisher Thornton Named to Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior 2013

Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business For 2013 and 2014

7 Lenses™ Workshops Engage Leaders in Learning:

  • What it really means to lead with “integrity”
  • How to center daily work in ethical values
  • What is means to be morally aware and ethically competent
  • How to lead in ways that bring out the best in others
  • How to use clear ethical thinking and decision-making
  • How to build lasting trust
  • How doing all of the above transforms organizational results

“thought-provoking”       “fresh”         “powerful”        “relevant”

Ethics is not supposed to be boring. Bring it to life with a 7 Lenses™ Workshop or Webinar!

Scheduling Now for 2015:

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics

2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
@leadingincontxt  @7Lenses  
© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 


Got Ethics? Are You Positive?

Got Ethics? Are You Positive?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Is your ethics training focused on positive values? In spite of all the bad news you’ve seen in the media about ethics, we don’t build ethical cultures by focusing on the negative. Let’s face it – thinking about fraud, embezzlement and conflict of interest won’t make us better leaders. But that’s what many of us are focusing on in our organizations.

The future of ethical leadership is intentional, proactive and positive. 

We need to stop focusing on NEGATIVE examples (what we don’t want) and start focusing on what ethical leadership looks like in action (what we do want). Ethical leadership at its best looks POSITIVE. That’s where we need to be focused in our conversations and our leader development.

Only by intentionally focusing on positive ethical values are we ethical leaders. 

Only by intentionally focusing on positive ethical values do we create ethical workplaces.

Operating in the realm of values means shaking off the temptation to become fixated only on laws and regulations. Laws and regulations are there to remind us of the minimum standards. We need to focus on the higher level values that should guide our work. Operating in the realm of values includes:

  • Having a positive vision of how values can transform our leadership and our organizations
  • Clearly understanding and communication the ethical behaviors we want people to use
  • Making day-to-day decisions based on positive ethical values

Being ready for the future of ethical leadership requires shaking off a compliance based mindset and operating in the realm of values. 

Have you “got ethics?” Is your ethics based on positive values?


For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

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