The Voice of the (Un)Ethical Leader

By Linda Fisher Thornton There is great variation in how leaders "use their voice" in pursuit of their work. Some use it to engage and empower others, others use it to deflect unwanted observations or to create distance that isolates…

500th Post: Index to 500 Articles on Authentic Ethical Leadership

By Linda Fisher ThorntonThere are many ways to define "ethical leadership" but there is increasing global interest in learning "ethical leadership" in a holistic and authentic way. This authentic ethical leadership takes us beyond laws and regulations, beyond respect for others and beyond traditional definitions of a business "win." It generates a positive leadership legacy and a better shared future. If this sounds like the kind of leadership you want to learn, you've come to the right place. The Leading in Context Blog now includes 500 articles on high-level, holistic and global ethical leadership. This blog started off as a way to organize and share emerging research in my leadership classes.  Ten years later it has become a "go-to" site for organizational leaders across industries, university professors and seekers looking for a better way to lead.

Context Matters: What We’re Learning About Food

By Linda Fisher Thornton

A day when so many people eat too much candy seems just right for sharing new research that turns conventional wisdom on healthy eating inside out. This new research will begin to change the thinking and practices of the food and restaurant industries. Here is a sneak preview:

Leaders: Can You Control Ethics?

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The question for today is "Can we control ethics?" Leaders have tried to control ethics with compliance-based systems (based on rules and penalties) but that does not tend to inspire people to ethical action. Leaders have tried to control ethics by running a tight ship, closely managing workers, but that does not bring out the best in people and may lead to workers not caring about protecting the company's reputation. 

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?

The Questions We Have in Common

By Linda Fisher Thornton

On October 2nd, Krista Tippett gave a talk on "The Adventure of Civility" at the University of Richmond. One of the important things I gleaned from her talk was this recommendation:

Instead of trading in "competing answers or statements made to catch, corner, incite or entertain" we should "share the questions we have in common" and "live into the answers."

Here are my observations on her important words: 

The big questions we are trying to resolve together cannot be understood using one-way broadcasts. 

Ethical Leadership Interview on Culture Hacker Podcast

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I am delighted that Shane Green, author of Culture Hacker, invited me to be a guest on his podcast to talk about ethical leadership and culture.

Culture is what we make of it. As leaders, it's our job to make it an engaging, ethical, high-trust environment where people can do the very best work of their lives. And while we're doing that, the world is watching. 

Credit Where Credit is Due

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Author's Note: This post is in honor of the many people who have had to fight to get credit for their own work.

Giving Credit and Taking Responsibility

As our understanding of good leadership continues to advance, we are rapidly moving away from leaders "giving responsibility and taking credit" in leadership and moving toward "giving credit and taking responsibility." This change is overdue, and is part of a bigger change in our understanding of the purpose of leadership.

5 Things Money Can’t Buy (Even Now)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I had the opportunity a few years ago to hear Michael Sandel, a professor from Harvard and author of What Money Can't Buy, speak about "the sky-boxification of society." He talked about how in many cases now you can buy your way into a better situation (or a sky box). This week, I'm in the process of reading Tom Friedman's book Thank You for Being Late and in it Friedman refers to and builds on Sandel's observations. I started thinking about some of the qualities that are highly valuable and make leaders great that money can't buy - some of the priceless qualities that define great leadership.

Ethical Leadership: The “On Switch” For Adaptability

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The post "Leader Competence: Will It Be A Multiplier or Divider?" generated some great discussion on social media. Here's a quote from the post:

"Leader competence is either going to be a multiplier or a divider. When you have it, you multiply performance and trust, with exponential results. Without it, you divide your possible results by the incompetence factor."

After reading it, one reader requested that I write more on the topic. This week I'm digging deeper into the multiplying and dividing effects of leader (in)competence, looking at how a leader's ethical competence impacts trust, people, bottom line results and organizational adaptability.