Throughout the field of business management organizations whether profit or non-profit struggle with finding the happy medium between leadership and its organizational culture. For the U.S. Air Force, the challenges become greater as organizational effectiveness and readiness are paramount to the ongoing mission and current world affairs. Previous tenets of leadership involved an authoritarian style, which offered little to no input or feedback from troops often leading to resentment and low levels of effectiveness among countless units (Lyons, Swindler & Offner, 2009).
The increasing demands of medical military personnel and demands of commanders to support and sustain the military culture requires examining the influence of leadership styles in an Air Force medical unit. Through analysis of previous styles of leadership, the hope is to focus on the effect of leadership styles on unit dynamics and culture and the resulting factors, which either complemented or clashed with the culture and climate of the organization. The overall problem statement for analysis will focus on two questions:
a) What style of leadership is best suited for an Air Force Reserve medical unit?
b) Can peacetime and wartime medical operations function with only one style of leadership?
U.S. Air Force Leadership Style
As a non-profit government agency, the Air Force along with other military branches (Army, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard) expresses its leadership through a group of fundamental styles, which secures fluid discipline and order throughout the rank structure. However, as the military and the mission change gradually, the need for supportive leadership must change as well. Leadership styles base on an authoritarian style of leading are no longer favorable to the overall culture of the military. In addition, for an Air Force Reserve medical unit, authoritarian leadership seldom reaps results beneficial to the culture or mission requirements.
However, we must first understand the Air Force Reserve and medical organization’s infrastructure. U.S. Air Force medical reserve units contain highly trained doctors, nurses, medical technicians, administrative support and other various specialized medical personnel. These individuals maintain a military require, one/two weekends a month as well as accomplishing two weeks of training annually. With such a diverse group of personnel of about 200, the unit faces low morale, absenteeism and a culture, which has incurred numerous leadership changes during the past three years. Moreover, the influx of constant leadership changes and styles, forces an examination of how leadership affects the culture and best suited for the organization.
With an authoritarian leadership style, troops follow the directions and governance of the commanding officers, giving little to no input into decisions and administration of the unit infrastructure or empowerment for making decisions. Once this occurs morale and respect become...