Ethics and a New Leadership Mindset

1. The management mindset is driven by irrational thinking. a. True b. False

 

2. According tot he authors, the challenge of translating knowledge of ethics to real ethical behavior is a(n) ____ challenge.

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a Organizational b Employee c Leadership d Education

Ethics and a New Leadership Mindset

The challenge of translating knowledge of ethics to real ethical behavior is a leadership challenge. Lengel and Larsen (2010) argued that complex topics or issues like ethical dilemmas require a broader meeting stage to support genuine dialogue abound organizational coherence. They require Complex Transformational Conversations (CTCs) that empower the dynamic nature of organizations in the full complexity of organizational reality, in contrast to Simple Transitive Conversations (STCs), typical business meetings, that empower the static nature made visible as the physical stage simplification of organizational reality. CTCs set stages for conversations that invite a broader diversity of perspectives including the voices of the poet, artist, and mystic to challenge and compliment the ever present economist/scientist. They provide a temporal spaciousness that counters busyness allowing time for reflection, silence, and remembering who we are individually and collectively and what we care about and value. In addition, CTCs establish a collective learning referent that embraces spiritual and social level complexity as an opening lens for collective dialogue. This complexity holds the subtle nature of morals as the foreground in the face of the more pragmatic challenges we face in our busyness. CTCs value the spirit of the front porch. Intellectual or value neutral discourse related to ethical/moral analysis or knowledge acquisition typical of classroom and board room conversations are illustrations of STCs. As such they enable and empower the voice of the economist/scientist at the expense of the voices of the artist, poet, and mystic. This intellectual voice lacks the emotional and spiritual energy to influence behavior under real life pressures. The feeling intelligence that opens the social and spiritual stage of reality has the potential to have this influence. We need to awaken to the full complexity of life through the feeling intelligence on front porches in CTCs.

Setting the Stage for Unethical Behavior

Ethical dilemmas are unique because they are complex. The management mindset has been conditioned to reduce complexity in pursuit of efficiency as a response to busyness and a concomitant desire to establish an objective organizational reference frame to facilitate control. In the process front porches are eliminated, and communication is seen primarily as an information exchange to coordinate tasks or resolve problems. Therefore this management mindset sees organizational reality as the physical stage for performance, and is relatively blind to the larger underlying social and spiritual stages. But these underlying stages are where our pre-intellectual feelings about values, which are the foundation for our morality and ethics, are rooted. These values are ambiguous like the painting, and therefore not strong enough to influence day-to-day operations on the physical stage. To make them strong, and with the best of intentions, the management mindset translates them from their metaphorical spirit as seen through the eyes of the poet, artist and mystic, into language suitable for intellectual manipulation by the scientist/economist. From the physical stage perspective, it appears to be easy to teach values from a PowerPoint presentation, but to influence behavior in the face of the illusion fears these values must be felt at a deeper spiritual level. Education needs to be about becoming informed, but it also needs to be about being transformed. Mindsets need to change to affect behavior–we need new eyes. To awaken to this reality, the artist, poet, and mystic in all of us must be given voice in decision making. But these voices are eliminated, or at minimum diminished, in what could be interpreted as an unintentional conspiracy between the academic business and practitioner communities that co-create and co-reinforce a value neutral management mindset that empowers the economist/scientist view of organizational reality. This unintentional conspiracy makes it difficult to explore the potential of creative approaches to teaching ethics or collaborating across the academic-practitioner divide that hold the potential to bridge knowledge of ethics to being ethical in practice. This conspiracy has us on a bus to Abilene, with the economist/scientist driving. To step off the bus–to speak personal truth related to feelings or doubts about the drivers ability to navigate on the emerging competitive landscape in a just and civil way takes courage. And courage is sourced on front porches and animated through a leadership mindset, not a management mindset

 

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