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Using the commonly taught types of thinking is very useful in life and helps us be better professionals and business people. But there’s a catch.

Traditional thinking lacks values

Critical thinking can help you understand why a problem occurred. Yet, once you identify it, it won’t help you find the most ethical solution to it.

Creative thinking can help you figure your way out of a business challenge. Still, it won’t keep you within the lines of appropriate and responsible behavior.

Design thinking can help you create amazing interactive technologies, but it won’t help you resolve the new ethical issues those innovative technologies generate.

Even if we’re using all three types of thinking in our leadership, there is something important missing.

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”

                                   — C. S. Lewis

This quote from C. S. Lewis reminds us that values are necessary for higher level decisions and actions. They help us overcome selfish tendencies and guide us to consider how our choices will impact others.

Ethical thinking guides responsible behavior. Learning to think ethically is an important part of human development, but many schools continue to teach subjects without it.

Ethical thinking is central to many organizations’ leader hiring process, but is often left out as a grounding theme in leadership development. If your leadership development is not ethics-rich, here’s the big question:

Why are we teaching a high-level understanding of subjects without teaching the ethical thinking to responsibly apply what people learn?

Why are people learning ethical thinking the hard way by making ethical mistakes we could be helping them prevent?

It’s our job as leaders to fill in the critically needed missing domain.

How will you learn and practice ethical thinking? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


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