Yes, Leaders. Behavior Matters

By Linda Fisher Thornton

As leaders, we are expected to uphold the highest standards of ethical behavior, and that includes interpersonal behavior (HOW we get the results we get, and how our behavior impacts others).

This week I’m sharing a review of behaviors that are a “NO GO” for ethical leaders. Click on each link to learn about why the behavior is outside the bounds of ethical leadership.

Yes, Leaders. Behavior Matters

It is not okay to blame, name call, bully, threaten, or shame.

It is not acceptable to yell and use foul language.

It is not fine to get angry and attack people who disagree with us.

It is not okay to avoid information that conflicts with our beliefs.

It is not acceptable to exclude those who aren’t like us.

It is not okay to treat only certain people with respect.

It is not acceptable to damage relationships with our negative behavior.

It is never okay to skip learning because “we are already a leader.”

Isn’t It Obvious?

These reminders may seem obvious (yes, we learned them in Kindergarten), but don’t leave it to chance. Be sure your leaders are all on the same page about appropriate interpersonal behavior. Your employees, customers and communities will thank you.

Use this post as the basis for conversations about ethical interpersonal behavior in the workplace and beyond.

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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?

TIME PRESSURE

MONEY PRE$$URE

INFORMATION OVERLOAD

COMPLIANCE

STRESS

RISK

Or Our Choices?

RESPECT AND CARE FOR OTHERS

COMMUNITY SERVICE

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

FOLLOWING LAWS

PROTECTING FUTURE GENERATIONS

RESPONSIBLE PROFITABILITY

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.

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Just Say No To 10 Behaviors That Kill Competence

20140322_142728By Linda Fisher Thornton

On the lifelong quest to become our best selves, we must stretch and grow and learn from our mistakes. Being a flexible and willing learner, we more easily stay competent as the world changes. 

Here are 10 things that we must NEVER do if we are to accomplish the elusive goal of becoming our best selves:

Just Say No To 10 Behaviors That Kill Competence

  1. Being Too Busy For Professional and Personal Development
  2. Refusing to Use Time-Saving Tools Because We Don’t Want to Learn Them
  3. Ignoring Signs That We Need to Change
  4. Thinking Current Trends Are “Just a Fad” That Will Pass
  5. Refusing to Read or Be Open To Anything That Disagrees With Our Point of View
  6. Working Harder But Never Smarter
  7. Refusing to Listen To Feedback
  8. Thinking We Can Treat People Any Way We Want To, Using Any Kind of Colorful Language 
  9. Stubbornly Clinging To An Opinion In the Face of Overwhelming Evidence To the Contrary
  10. Doing The Same Things We’ve Always Done (As the World Changes….)

Why Are These Behaviors Competence Killers?

If we say Yes to any of these behaviors, we are no longer adding value. We are no longer learning.

We have moved from being an organizational asset to being a liability.

Competence is a critical part of responsible leadership. We may miss some steps along the way and make mistakes as we learn, but we should always make it a priority to stay competent. Say NO to these 10 behaviors that kill competence.

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Possibility, Service and Making a Difference

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The Manifesto

Recently, I released the Leading in Context Manifesto, a bold statement about the kind of ethical leadership  that I believe we need to use every day. Today, I want to explore the mindset behind the Manifesto. It opens with this statement about our purpose as leaders:

“We are here to focus on what’s right and what’s possible, not on what’s historical or convenient. We are here to serve others, not to profit from their vulnerabilities. We are here to make a positive difference, through intentional leadership and responsible choices.”

The Leading in Context® Manifesto

Possibility, Service and Making a Difference

The Mindsets

How do these three important mindsets move us toward our goal of being a great leader?

Possibility

Service

Making a Difference

How do they inform our choices?

What is their effect on our teams and organizations?

The Impact

When we lead for possibility, we reach for the potential of people and organizations. We expect the best of ourselves and others. We accomplish more than we thought we could.

When we lead for service, we see ourselves in a role of making life better for others. We look for ways to do that every day. We lead in ways that improve lives and communities. We do more than we have to do.

When we lead to make a positive difference, we believe that one dedicated leader can have a positive impact, and we continually look for ways to make a difference through our leadership. We think about the legacy we are leaving for future generations.

There’s another important concept mentioned in that statement that cannot be overlooked – doing what is right. It doesn’t stand alone. It’s reliant on the strength of our moral center, and embedded in how we think about the purpose of leadership.

Questions to Ponder : Are we more likely to do what is right when we intentionally Lead For Possibility?; When we Lead For Service?;  When we Lead To Make a Positive Difference?;  How do these mindsets help us make more responsible choices?

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 

 

Cultural Competence Required

Intercultural CompetenceBy Linda Fisher Thornton

Openness to learning about other cultures has become a necessary component of leadership.  One way to help people respect cultural differences is to build what UNESCO calls “intercultural competence.” To accomplish this, we need an open mind, and a willingness to learn from others who do not think or live as we do.

“Intercultural competences are abilities to adeptly navigate complex environments marked by a growing diversity of peoples, cultures and lifestyles.”

Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework, UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.org

If we’re lucky, we’ll have the opportunity to work with people who have very different backgrounds and mindsets from our own. If they’re lucky, we’ll be open-minded and want to learn more about their culture and beliefs to understand them. Ghassan Salame′, Dean of the Paris School of International Affairs, said in his Speech to the United Nations General Assembly that “mistrust, which anthropologists have found in most cultural traditions of the past, is not necessarily higher today; it only has many more opportunities to express itself in these times of multiform interaction.”

When we are not open to learning about other cultures, of course those cultures will seem “wrong” to us.  Stephanie Quapp and Giovanna Cantatore describe such a situation well when they say “Misunderstandings arise when I use my meanings to make sense of your reality.”

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”                                                  Carl Jung

Globally-aware leaders intentionally develop cultural competence. Being open to learning from others builds a bridge that helps us overcome any differences. Judging them simply closes the door.

Resources for Learning:

Intercultural Competences: Conceptual and Operational Framework, UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.org

What is Cultural Awareness? Stephanie Quapp and Giovanna Cantatore

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 

 

“Dial it Back” (Over-Solving Problems Can Be Unethical)

Dial it Back

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Sometimes out of fear, convenience or profit, leaders use a solution that goes way beyond what is necessary to solve the problem or meet the need. There are broad ethical implications of over solving problems, and this post explores some of them.

When we choose a solution that is more extreme than necessary, we may cause negative unintended consequences. And the more extreme that solution is, the more extreme the consequences may be. See Overuse of Antibiotics: Antibiotic Hand Soap is Part of the Problem for a current example. In this example, the consumer may feel “safe” using antibacterial soap to kill germs. The problem is that over time, using antibiotic hand soap actually worsens the problem it is trying to resolve.

Possible Unintended Consequences of Over-Solving Problems

When we over-solve problems, we may be thinking only short-term. In the antibiotic hand soap example, when a customer washes her hands at the kitchen sink, the soap kills germs (short-term). Long-term, though, that choice can make the problem worse through  a “rebound effect,” and risk human health by putting a steady stream of antibiotics into our water supply.

Using Systems Thinking to Anticipate Unintended Consequences

It may sound like common sense to use the solution that causes the least harm and still solves the problem. But consider how different that choice seems when an extreme solution that would cause unintended consequences is 50 times more profitable.

Using systems thinking helps us think beyond profitability and helps us prevent the kind of narrow, short-term thinking that leads to unethical choices. When we think in systems, the variables of time, interdependence and connectedness are “built in.”

“Systems thinking can be thought of as a language for communicating about complexities and interdependencies.”

“An inherent assumption of the systems thinking worldview is that problems are internally generated—we often create our own “worst nightmares.”

Michael Goodman, Systems Thinking as a Language, Pegasus Systems Thinker online at appliedsystemsthinking.com

As leaders, we need to be mindful of the need to “dial it back” to the least harmful solution that solves the problem, and to choose sensible solutions based on much more than profitability.

These related posts illustrate why we need to use ethical thinking: 

5 Unintended Consequences of Linear Problem Solving      Precautionary Principle: Profiting With Care

10 Reasons to Embrace Complexity      Ethical Leadership Context

These websites provide free tools and articles for thinking through complex problems:

powerful-problem-solving.com        mindtools.com       pegasuscom.com        appliedsystemsthinking.com

Questions for Reflection:

1. Where in our work are we using a solution that is much more extreme than necessary?

2. What are the potential unintended consequences of that choice?

3. How can we dial it back to a solution that better fits the problem and minimizes unintended consequences?

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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
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC 

 

What is Unethical Leadership?

The Boundaries of “Unethical Leadership”

How do we define unethical leadership?

While there are hundreds of stories that illustrate examples of unethical leadership in the news, those stories taken together still do not clearly define the boundaries of what unethical leadership includes.

To be relevant, our definition of “unethical leadership” has to be broad enough to include the many ways that leaders behave unethically. To guide ethical leadership behavior, it must also be specific enough to provide boundaries for leadership behavior and decision making.

Defining Unethical Leadership 

Our definition must be broad enough and specific enough to define what society considers to be moral behavior. Brown and Mitchell, in their 2010 Business Ethics Quarterly article Ethical and Unethical Leadership: Exploring New Avenues for Future Research , define unethical leadership as “behaviors conducted and decisions made by organizational leaders that are illegal and/or violate moral standards, and those that impose processes and structures that promote unethical conduct by followers.”

Using that definition, we quickly find ourselves trying to determine exactly what the “moral standards” are that ethical leaders are expected to follow. According to Wikianswers.com, “A moral leader is an individual who governs or makes decisions based on fairness and ethical guidelines, rather than personal, political, or financial considerations.” (wiki.answers.com, What is a moral leader?)  

Being unwilling or unable to think beyond our own personal interests and our own personal gain can lead to unethical leadership, but not all unethical leadership decisions are made intentionally.

Types of Unethical Leadership

Unethical leadership appears in a wide variety of forms and happens for a variety of reasons. Sometimes unethical leadership is motivated by greed and involves harming others to make more profit.

“Dark side research has uncovered a variety of unethical leader acts. Various terms have evolved in the literature, such as abusive supervision (Tepper, 2000), supervisor undermining (Duffy et al., 2002), toxic leadership (Frost, 2004), and tyrannical leadership (Ashforth, 1994). Research shows these leaders are oppressive, abusive, manipulative, and calculatingly undermining (Tepper, 2007). Their actions are perceived as intentional and harmful, and may be the source of legal action against employers (Tepper, 2007). Therefore, destructive leader behavior is unethical.

Unethical leadership, however, transcends beyond the leaders’ own behavior. In seeking to accomplish organizational goals, leaders can encourage corrupt and unethical acts within their organizations.”

Michael E. Brown and Marie S. Mitchell, Ethical and Unethical Leadership: Exploring Avenues for Future Research, Business Ethics Quarterly

Unethical leadership may also happen when leaders fail to take the time to consider the impact of their choices on the many stakeholders involved. Decisions with unintended consequences can be just as harmful as intentionally unethical decisions.

“We need to understand the ethical challenges faced by imperfect humans who take on the responsibilities of leadership, so that we can develop morally better leaders, followers, institutions, and organizations. At issue is not simply what ethical and effective leaders do, but what leaders have to confront, and, in some cases overcome, to be ethical and effective. “

Joann B. Ciulla, “Ethics and Leadership Effectiveness,” Book Chapter in The Nature of Leadership. Eds. J. Antonakis, A. T. Cianciolo, and R. J. Sternberg.

Leaders are dealing with a high degree of complexity, yet lack a detailed road map to guide their process. As we develop leaders for success in the future, we must focus on the ethical elements of their work, and help them work through the many difficult choices they will have to make.

The Complexities of Unethical Leadership:

Unethical People Thrive on Ignorance of Others by Gordon Clogston, leadershipcourseware.com

Examples of Unethical Behavior in the Workplace by Victoria Duff, Demand Media at smallbusiness.chron.com

Spotting the Unethical Leader in 2010 by Dr. Daryl Green, e-zinearticles.com

Systems Thinking: Twisted Leadership Safety Ethics by Dr. James Leemann, ishn.com

Ethical Leadership Culture: The Case of the Dissenting Senior Leader by Linda Fisher Thornton, LeadinginContext.com

Moral Leadership Standards:

The Moral Foundations of Ethical Leadership by Hester and Killian, in the Journal of Value Based Leadership, valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com

Moral Leadership as Shaped by Human Evolution by Paul Lawrence, blogs.hbr.org

The Difficulties of Being a Moral Leader in an Unjust World Speech by Jim Sterba, University of Notre Dame, online at scu.edu

Leading for Ethical Performance by Linda Fisher Thornton, LeadinginContext.com

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Collaborative Leadership in a Global Society

What is Collaborative Leadership?

What does collaborative leadership look like in a global society?

At the societal level it’s taking the best that all of us know and can do and putting it together in ways that help everyone.

At the partnership level, it’s working across organizational and group boundaries to solve problems and accomplish shared goals.

At the workplace level, it’s respecting each other, clarifying complex issues and managing productive conflict.

Accomplishing these things requires that we learn a new set of approaches that are vastly different from the leadership that we may have used in the past.

What Do Collaborative Leaders Do?

Share Control

The problem is that companies face a mismatch: They have developed a strong base of operational leaders who perform well when they have direct control over a specific set of resources that they can deploy to achieve accountable results. Unfortunately, the matrixed, global structure that is becoming the norm for many organizations requires leaders who can subordinate their agenda, yield power and give up resources for the greater good.

Rick Lash, The Collaboration Imperative, Ivey Business Journal, iveybusinessjournal.com

Build Connections and Influence Outside of Formal Systems

Collaborative Leadership is an influence relationship, which engenders safety, trust and commitment.

John Dentico, Collaborative Leadership Defined, Leadsimm.com

In her 1994 Harvard Business Review article “Collaborative Advantage”, Rosabeth Moss Kanter talks about leaders who recognize that there are critical business relationships “that cannot be controlled by formal systems but require (a) dense web of interpersonal connections…”[1].

Wikipedia.org, Collaborative Leadership

Work Through Ambiguity and Complexity Using Creativity and Innovation

It is clear that collaboration is a necessity in navigating today’s complex work environments where ambiguity and change are constants.

Susan Hoberecht, Ph.D. student in organizational systems at Saybrook University, Rethinking Complexity, Saybrook.thinkpad.com

Collaboration, by its very nature, tends toward disorder at times and a lack of central control by any one entity.

Academics and Practitioners on Collaborative Leadership, Turning Point Leadership National Excellence Collaborative

The CEO’s in the IBM study saw the need to work with ambiguity in ways that engage creativity and support innovation. Our belief is that leaders who understand the nature of transformative learning will stop focusing on discredited controls and instead embrace creative collaboration – the lifeblood of truly 21st century organizations.

Nancy Southern, Organizational Systems Program, Saybrook University, Organizational Systems, What Leaders Need to Know, saybrook.typepad.com

Respect Others and Build on Differences

David Archer and Alex Cameron in their book Collaborative Leadership: How to succeed in an interconnected world, identify the basic task of the collaborative leader as the delivery of results across boundaries between different organisations. They say “Getting value from difference is at the heart of the collaborative leader’s task… they have to learn to share control, and to trust a partner to deliver, even though that partner may operate very differently from themselves.”[4]

Wikipedia.org, Collaborative Leadership

Align Goals and Accomplish a Shared Outcome

Collaborative success depends on trust, and trust depends on good communication. Collaborative leaders must not only be clear about their own goals, they must also understand and respect their collaborative partners’ goals in order to find ways to bring these diverse goals into alignment.

Rick Lash, The Collaboration Imperative, Ivey Business Journal, iveybusinessjournal.com

Hank Rubin author and President of the Institute of Collaborative Leadership has written “A collaboration is a purposeful relationship in which all parties strategically choose to cooperate in order to accomplish a shared outcome.” In his book “Collaborative Leadership: Developing Effective Partnerships for Communities and Schools” Rubin asks “Who is a collaborative leader?” and answers “You are a collaborative leader once you have accepted responsibility for building – or helping to ensure the success of – a heterogeneous team to accomplish a shared purpose .

Wikipedia.org, Collaborative Leadership

Continuously Learn and Adapt

In the years ahead volatility and uncertainty will tyrannize markets, and companies will need leaders who are highly adaptive, continuous learners, able to lead diverse groups across functional disciplines, regions and cultures.

Rick Lash, The Collaboration Imperative, Ivey Business Journal, iveybusinessjournal.com

The journey to a collaborative way of working is a daily challenge of learning and transformation.

Collaborativeleaders.us, What is Collaboration?

Learning how to lead collaboratively will stretch us and transform how we work. We will need to learn continuously and become comfortable with not having the answers and not controlling the process. We will need to build trust across boundaries. While we will not have the answers ourselves, using collaborative leadership we will discover them together.

Related Posts: 

Complexity, Creativity and Collaboration, Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog

What is Creativity, Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog

10 Reasons to Embrace Complexity, Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog

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For more, see new 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
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

What is Creativity?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

What is Creativity?

In the leadership development world, creativity is currently getting a great deal of attention. But what is it? Can you learn it? Is it a skill? How do we lead in ways that encourage it?

When we explore the question “What is creativity?” from a thinking and learning point of view, an open and active mind is clearly required – one that can see new possibilities. But is there more to it than that? This post explores the variables that make up what we think of as “creativity.”

 Definitions

Creativity is studied across a number of disciplines, and according to Wikipedia:

“Scholarly interest in creativity ranges widely…Creativity and creative acts are therefore studied across several disciplines – psychologycognitive scienceeducationphilosophy (particularly philosophy of science), technologytheologysociologylinguisticsbusiness studies, and economics. As a result, there are a multitude of definitions and approaches.”

“Creativity,” Wikipedia.com

Is it A Skill or a Mindset?

Can you learn “creativity” as a skill? According to John Maxwell in his book Thinking for a Change, creativity is not a single skill or attribute, but a mindset that embraces a broad array of different things including Ambiguity, Learning, Possibility, Connecting, Ideas, Options, Exploring Gaps and Inconsistencies, the Offbeat, and Failure.

In his book The Evolving Self; A Psychology for the Third Millennium, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi reflects on the limits of reason and says “We must foster intuition to anticipate changes before they occur; empathy to understand that which cannot clearly be expressed; wisdom to see the connection between apparently unrelated events; and creativity to discover new ways of defining problems, new rules that will make it possible to adapt to the unexpected.”

Creativity, then, is as a way of thinking – a flexible, connecting mindset that helps us deal with a changing world, and keeps us nimble and adaptable.

How is it Different From Critical Thinking? 

 How does creative thinking relate to critical thinking? According to Sir Anthony Jay (Management Trainer) “The uncreative mind can spot wrong answers, but it takes a creative mind to spot wrong questions.” Gail Sheehy (Author) says that “creativity can be described as letting go of certainties.” 

The University of Michigan “Criticial and Creative Thinking” Page at umich.edu sees criticial thinking as “the process we use to reflect on, assess and judge the assumption underlying our own and others ideas and efforts” and creative thinking as “the process we use to develop ideas that are unique, useful and worthy of further elaboration.” 

In his paper “Critical Thinking and Creativity:An Overview and Comparison of the Theories” Jean Marrapodi wrote that “Creative thinking is designed to create, and critical thinking is designed to analyze. It seems that creative thinking has aspects of critical thinking, and critical thinking has aspects of creativity.”

How Do Creative Thinkers Handle Failing?

Creativity is now seen as generating a great deal of value in our complex global society, but it requires the element of action and a tolerance for failure. In his article “Wierd Rules of Creativity: Think You Can Manage Creativity? Here’s Why You’re Wrong” Robert Sutton says that

If you want a creative organization, inaction is the worst kind of failure—and the only kind that deserves to be punished. Researcher Dean Keith Simonton provides strong evidence from multiple studies that creativity results from action. Renowned geniuses like Picasso, da Vinci, and physicist Richard Feynman didn’t succeed at a higher rate than their peers. They simply produced more, which meant that they had far more successes and failures than their unheralded colleagues.

Robert Sutton, “Wierd Rules of Creativity: Think You Can Manage Creativity? Here’s Why You’re Wrong” , Harvard Business School Working Knowledge for Business Leaders, online at hbs.edu

The Role of Creativity in Leadership

As leaders, we need to create an environment where learning and creativity are encouraged, where people are respectful, and where work is meaningful. In such an environment, people can actually enjoy what they’re doing.

Here are two compelling definitions  that place creativity in the context of the fun and the joy of learning:  

“Creativity is the joy of not knowing it all.” Ernie Zelinski, Creativity Expert 

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”  John Maxwell, Leadership Author

When we use our creativity, we can do our best work.  In her article “What is Creativity Anyway” Huffington Post author Jan Phillips says that “Creativity is about being fully alive, living courageously, or as the painter Joan Miro´ says, ‘Expressing with precision all the gold sparks the soul gives off.’ ”

Using our creativity is part of expressing our authenticity as leaders. Leaders who are leading authentically and using their creative capacities within ethical boundaries will find it easier to

  • stay ahead of change
  • build a loyal, productive team
  • find innovative solutions to complex problems, and
  • engage others in the work of meeting goals and advancing the organization’s vision and mission.

In his article on HBR Blog Network called “Why Are Creative Leaders So Rare?” Navi Radjou describes “a new breed of visionary and empathetic leaders who act less as commanders and more as coaches, less as managers and more as facilitators, and who foster self-respect rather that demanding respect.”

Creative Thinking Resources:

Creativity Tools, MindTools.com

Creativity Tools, WatchOut4Snakes.com

Tools for Creating Ideas, CreatingMinds.org

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For more, see new 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
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

 

The Adaptability Paradox

The Well Worn Path

Recently in the “Strategic Thinking for Leaders” Class I teach, I talked with students about how difficult it can be to change when we have been successfully doing something the same way for a long time.

The well worn path that we have followed for years is easy to follow. We know the rules, the processes, the tools, the pitfalls and all other aspects of that path.

Our comfort with that path makes it harder for us to see that even though the ‘way we have always done things’ has led us to success in the past, it may not in the future.

The Adaptability Paradox

Sometimes the familiarity of the well worn path makes it harder for us to see what’s changing around us. And even if we do see changes, we have to choose to adapt to them. One element that makes it difficult for us to easily embrace change is the time involved in learning new ways of doing things.

Learning Through Change

Adapting to change and learning new ways of doing our work makes our jobs easier – but only after an adjustment period. The paradox is this – When I adapt to change, it will be MORE DIFFICULT short term and also EASIER long term.  

More Difficult Initially, we must accept that it will be more difficult as we learn new tools, skills and approaches.

Easier Long-term, our productivity will increase and it will be easier for us to get work done. When we learn through the changes, our lives and work become EASIER because we are approaching them in new successful ways – with new thinking, new tools, new information and new skills.

Warning Signs

Here are some of the warning signs that our skills are becoming outdated:

  • People are routinely using terminology we don’t know
  • It is becoming more difficult to get things done the way we’ve always done them
  • People are not seeking out our input the way they used to
  • Coworkers are adapting to new approaches and are more productive than we are
  • There are new studies, books and articles being mentioned that we haven’t read
  • There is free technology for improving efficiency  in our line of business that we aren’t using
  • We feel out of the loop somehow but can’t quite figure out why

If we miss the signs of change (or if we see the signs but do not adapt), our skills become outdated fast – just as fast as the speed of change.

When a change in the world, our world, becomes a change we’ve ignored, then by doing nothing, we are actively choosing the more difficult path in the long run.

Questions for Reflection:

1. In what areas have I been missing the warning signs that my skills are becoming outdated?

2. How will I choose the easier path in the future by learning through these areas now?

3. How much easier and more productive could my work be after I make these changes?

Related Resources:

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Leadership and…Human Rights

Honoring Human Rights

As business leaders, it is our responsibility to honor human rights in all that we do. Article 1 of the The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights says that:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

What Does Honoring Human Rights Look Like?

These sources discuss human rights issues that business people need to be aware of, and explain how to lead in ways that support human rights:

Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA) Quick Check   humanrightsbusiness.org

Business and Human Rights Resource Center, Principles and Standards business-humanrights.org

Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework    United Nations General Assembly Human Right Council, ohchr.org

Top Ten Business and Human Rights Issues   Institute for Human Rights and Business, irhb.org

Profit at What Price? Amnesty International Business and Human Rights

Questions to Consider

1. How well do we understand our responsibility as leaders to protect human rights?

2. How well are we respecting human rights in our work and leadership?

3. What improvements would put us in alignment with the guiding principles listed above?

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

Becoming “Business Leader Future”


“Business Leader Future” Post Struck a Chord With Readers

The response to my February 1, 2012 post “Business Leader Future: A Sketch” has been overwhelming. Thanks so much to all of you who retweeted, commented on it and shared it on your favorite social media channels.

At the end of this post is a visual story, via Storify, of selected reader comments.

Becoming Business Leader Future 

One reader (Thanks, Alex!) asked about what kinds of opportunities would help us develop the skills referred to in Business Leader Future.

I recommend that we continue to look for opportunities to:

  1. Increase our thinking complexity
  2. Broaden our ethical awareness
  3. Learn to collaborate using today’s tools
  4. Treat others with care
  5. Understand global expectations for ethical business and leadership
  6. Learn to communicate using the new social channels
  7. Use systems thinking and mind mapping for solving complex problems
  8. Continually learn and adapt as the world changes
  9. Learn (and teach others) how to respect each other and our differences
  10. Learn across disciplines to get the complete picture
Feel free to share a comment  and suggest sources that will help us lead ethically  in the midst of complexity.

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

How to Use the Leading in Context® Website

The Request That Inspired This Post

“Which of your posts reg. ethics do you recommend I start with? Your site looks really rich!”

via Twitter, December 2, 2011

The Leading in Context Mission

As leaders, we all struggle to keep up with the changing workplace, and we need tools that clarify the grey areas about how to lead responsibly.

It is my hope that the engaging materials that you find here will help you lead meaningful discussions about ethical leadership in your organizations.

All of them are designed to take discussions about leadership and ethical cultures well beyond “the right thing to do” to incorporate the complexities of work life and leadership in our connected society. 

How to Use The Leading in Context® Website

Consider how you want to find information and then click a link below:

◊ To understand the evolving definition of “leading ethically” in a global society    (Read Selected Posts)
◊ To follow my curiosity    (Scan the Blog Index for titles that interest you!)
◊ To stay on top of trends, changes & emerging issues impacting leadership    (Read Selected Posts)
◊ To learn about how to think ethically    (Read Selected Posts)
◊ To develop ethical leaders in my organization    (Visit the Store)
◊ To build an ethical culture   (Read Selected Posts)

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For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2012 Leading in Context LLC 

100 Trends to Watch in 2012

100 Trends to Watch in 2012

As we enter 2012, these trend reports will give you a sense of where the world is going in a variety of different areas, from responsible leadership to social media, branding, consumerism, mobile apps and web design, food and color trends.  Enjoy!

Leadership 2012 Corporate University Exchange

10 Sustainable Business Trends Worth Knowing For 2012 by Julie Urlaub, Taigacompany.com Blog

8 Digital Trends Shaping the Future of Media (VIDEO)  Stephanie Buck, Mashable.com

8 Social Media Trends for 2012 Gini Dietrich, ragan.com

12 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2012 Trendwatching.com

6 Social Media Trends for 2012  David Armano, HBR Blog Network

JWT: 10 Trends for 2012 Executive Summary at slideshare.net

“Dealer-Chic: Why for Consumers Deals are Becoming a Way of Life, if Not a Source of Pride Trendwatching.com

Social Media Marketing and Business Trends 2012 by Priit Kallas, Dreamgrow.com

10 Cutting Edge Mobile Application Trends for 2012 (slideshow) ITBusinessEdge.com

Web Design Trends in 2012 Jake Rocheleau, webdesignledger.com

Color Trends for 2012: Balance to Preservation by Susan at yourhomeonlybetter.com

Food Trends 2012: Custom French Fries and Grilled-Cheese Infused Vodka by Lauren Torrisi, abcnews.go.com

Guiding Growth: Future Trends in Leadership Development cmaconsult on slideshare

The Brand Keys 12 For 12: Brand and Marketing Trends for 2012 Part 1 Robert Passikoff, Forbes.com

Chef’s Predict Top Menu Trends for 2012 Bret Thorn, Nation’s Restaurant News at nrn.com

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

522

For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses


What is Social Media Leadership?

Note: The idea for this post came from a reader’s comment about how new the area of social media leadership is to the leadership community (Thanks Justin!).

What is Social Media Leadership?

We are learning our way through this new area of leadership, which involves:

  • Thinking completely differently about what we do and how we do it
  • Integrating work in new ways that blur the lines between communication, marketing, research, customer service and customer engagement
  • Engaging in transparent real-time communication with followers, colleagues, critics and customers
  • Leading change in an area where we may not yet be fully comfortable, but where the organization needs to go to stay current, relevant and viable.
Social Media Leadership Requires Changing and Leading Change
.
In leading social media engagement, we first have to change and embrace social media, then help others see the value and make the change, then lead the cause within the organization in ways that benefit multiple stakeholders. This challenge is multi-level and begins with making changes to our perception of our personal and organizational boundaries that seem catastrophic to some leaders.
While we may have thought in the past that we could “lead from a distance,” the social media world is more like being in a virtual coffee shop with everyone who’s ever heard of your brand, your (happy and unhappy) customers, your employees, your competitors, your suppliers, your biggest fans, and the rest of the global community across geographic and industry boundaries. The good news is that people will hear about your business a lot faster. To have that awareness lead to business growth though, they will need to believe that you are concerned, responsible and responsive to their needs.

This collection of resources that I have collected for you will help you and your teams:

  • see the value of joining the social media information wave
  • lead individuals and groups through engagement with social media, and
  • lead your organizations through successful integration of social media into daily business.

How we Think About Social Media

The Six Attitudes Leaders Take Toward Social Media by Anthony J. Bradley and Mark P. McDonald, Harvard Business Review,  blogs.hbr.org (this article includes a social readiness assessment)

How it’s Changing the World and How we Work 

Leaders & Social Media: 5 Reasons to Engage by Linda Fisher Thornton, Leading in Context Blog (One of my popular recent posts!)

How We Need to Lead Social Media

How to Change From a Social Media User to a Social Media Leader Kissmetrics.com Blog

How we Begin to Integrate Social Media Into Business

The 10 Stages of Social Media Business Integration by Brian Solis on Mashable.com

Five Ways Corporate Culture Determines Social Media Success by @markwschaefer, businessgrow.com

What it Takes to Succeed in Social Media Leadership

To be successful as social media leaders, we will need to demonstrate humility, a willingness to learn and a desire to keep ourselves and our organizations competent as the world changes.

© 2011 Leading in Context LLC 

522

For more, see new 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 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

 

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