Military Leadership: In Pursuit of Excellence

By Robert L. Taylor; William E. Rosenbach | Go to book overview

PART 2
Climate, Culture,
and Influence

And in the end, through the long ages of our quest for light, it will be found that truth is still mightier than the sword. For out of the welter of human carnage and human weal the indestructible thing that will always live is a sound idea.

-- Gen. Douglas MacArthur


Climate

The climate of an organization can be sensed by talking with people, observation, and feeling the sense of spirit and energy that is expressed through word and deed. How people treat each other and what they say and do tell us a great deal about the leader. Often, we can then anticipate the responses of the followers to the leader. In a sense, this is the "personality" of the organization. Effective organizations reflect confidence and optimism. Organizations in trouble communicate fear and uncertainty. Leadership style sets the stage, and we believe it is the major influence on climate.

Leadership climate is reflected in the expectations followers have for the leader and the expectations the leader has for the followers. When we describe effective leadership, we mean there is a climate that supports the leader and the actions that result from shared decisions. Put simply, the leader's behavior sets the tone and creates the climate. If the leader is an effective communicator, there will be openness and candor in organizational information exchanges. When a leader has integrity and communicates her or his values, the organization will reflect strong values. A leader who works hard and sets high expectations will create a climate where people give their best; they know what it takes to be superior. When leaders stand by their people and allow them to make mistakes as learning experiences, the organization will be characterized as innovative and risk-taking.

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