Focus on Teaching Students How to Think (Not What To Think)

By Linda Fisher Thornton Have you noticed that the current fray about what to teach about difficult subjects has been focused on teaching "one way or the other?" "Are you for it or against it? and "Which side are you on?" This approach completely misses the point that the purpose of education is not to teach students what to think. It's to teach students how to think, and how to navigate differences respectfully.

No Routine Decisions

By Linda Fisher Thornton As a leadup to a keynote I'm doing for the Michigan Association of School Boards, I was invited to submit a feature article for their fall issue of the MASB LeaderBoard. In the article, "Meeting the Challenge of Ethical Decision Making," I write about how since the start of the pandemic, decision making has become more complex and requires much more intentional decision making.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 5)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series on Recognizing Ethical Issues, I addressed the gaps in our thinking that require us to develop an ethical alert system. in Part 2, I explored why some leaders who want to do the right thing still don't "do the work" to learn how to do it. In Part 3, I dug into the importance of ethical awareness as the basis for ethical decision making. Part 4 described ways to start developing ethical thinking. In Part 5, I share some recent posts that address current societal issues. Read the ones below that strike you as the most relevant, to learn about how to recognize the nuances of ethical issues in current events and make good decisions about them.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 4)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series on Recognizing Ethical Issues, I addressed the gaps in our thinking that require us to develop an ethical alert system. in Part 2, I explored why some leaders who want to do the right thing still don't "do the work" to learn how to do it. In Part 3, I dug into the importance of ethical awareness as the basis for ethical decision making. In Part 4, I will explore how you can develop ethical thinking.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 3)

By Linda Fisher Thornton In Part 1 of this series on Recognizing Ethical Issues, I addressed the gaps in our thinking that require us to develop an ethical alert system. in Part 2, I explored why some leaders who want to do the right thing still don't "do the work" to learn how to do it. In Part 3, I'll dig into the importance of ethical awareness as the basis for ethical decision making.

Recognizing Ethical Issues (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton When a plane experiences heavy turbulence, a light on the overhead panel alerts passengers to take a seat and fasten their safety belts. The instructions are clear, people know what to do, and it’s usually an orderly process. When people make decisions in their daily rounds, though, there is no external alert or audible alarm to signal that they are stepping into an ethical issue or an ethical gray area and need to carefully consider ethical issues. This can be a problem, especially because there are so many cognitive biases working against us as we try to make responsible decisions.

Changing Our Mind (It May Not Mean We’re Indecisive)

By Linda Fisher Thornton When we change our position on an issue, sometimes it is because we simply can't decide. But when you look at mind-changing from the perspective of human growth and development, you can see that there is often more to it than that.

We The People: What We Value

By Linda Fisher Thornton As we near the 4th of July, it is a fitting time to remind ourselves of the greater vision for our country. During a tour of the Constitution Center in Philadelphia, I realized that the U.S. Constitution opens with a beautiful ethics code designed to ground our nation in a commitment to the long-term greater good of society.

Seeing the Facets of Facts Part 1

By Linda Fisher Thornton Most of the time when we answer a question with a single response, that answer is only part of the picture. We have all seen leaders (who may feel a need to appear decisive) answer quickly without thinking through the implications of their response. When this happens, what they share is oversimplified and "partialized," not a relevant or responsible interpretation of the complex issues involved.

Leadership is Evolving: Why More is Expected Now

By Linda Fisher Thornton The definition of "good leadership" is changing over time as people become more aware of the long term impact of poor leadership decisions. Other factors that change our current understanding of leadership include increasing ethical awareness and stronger physical evidence of the impact we are having on the planet. Watch this video for a quick overview of this evolution and why more is expected of leaders now.

The Danger of Us Versus Them

By Linda Fisher Thornton Any time you draw a line that excludes, you're leaving ethical territory. That's a bold statement, but when someone draws a dividing line that intentionally excludes people or groups, it can lead to an "us versus them" mentality. And from there, it's a short slippery slope to this and more...

How Do You Recognize an Ethical Leader? (Part 1)

By Linda Fisher Thornton How do you recognize an Ethical Leader? Today I'll share 3 special approaches to the leadership role that are central to ethical leadership. These are ways that ethical leaders understand their roles and responsibilities in relation to others and world. 

What is Ethical Leadership? Part 2

By Linda Fisher Thornton Last week I shared a video clip of an overview of all 7 Lenses. This week, in Part 2, I'm sharing my response to the question, "Why haven't people agreed on one definition of ethical leadership?" from my recent talk at the Saint Anselm Center for Ethics in Society. Think about how many places you've seen recent disagreements about "the right thing to do" as you watch.

What is Ethical Leadership? Part 1

By Linda Fisher Thornton Which lenses must we look through to be ethical leaders? That is the important question I answered during a recent talk at the Ethics and Governance Forum at The Saint Anselm Center for Ethics in Society. As you watch the video clip overview of the 7 Lenses of Ethical Leadership, think about how you can apply all 7 Lenses in your daily thinking and leadership.