Leaders and Organizational Culture
In today’s dynamic business environment leadership must understand the value and importance of their organizations’ culture. While it may never be formally defined, leadership must have a vision of their intended culture and a plan for creating and maintaining it. This vision will serve as the potter’s clay that determines everything from the dress code to the organizational structure. This paper examines two methods organizations can choose to create and maintain a healthy culture.
One of the most powerful ways to create and maintain a healthy work environment is by cultivating the next generation of leaders to lead by the example he or she sets. Every generation of leaders is influential in molding and shaping the generation of leaders who follow. Leaders should recognize that although they may greatly impact an organization, reign as a leader will eventually come to an end. Good leaders will notice leadership traits in employees who work for them and take the time that is needed to nurture those traits. The leader does not need to advertise the fact that they are trying to create future leaders, just live the life and demonstrate compassion, competence, and convictions to these potential leaders. Potential leaders will appreciate how their leaders act toward them and endeavor to mimic that behavior. Just like little children try to mimic and imitate their parents, in either good ways or bad ways, employees will also try to mimic and imitate their leaders. The Department of the Army is one of the largest employers in the United States and constantly looks for ways to develop leaders who will fight the nation’s wars. Field Manual (FM) 6-22 is entitled “Army Leadership: Competent, Confident, and Agile” (2006) and addresses leading by example. Notice how closely this Field Manual ties leading by example to imitating others and living by convictions:
“Leaders set an example whether they know it or not. Countless times leaders operate on instinct that has grown from what they have seen in the past. What leaders see others do sets the stage for what they may do in the future. A leader of sound character will exhibit that character at all times.” (p. 7-13)
The adage says “character is doing right when no one is looking.” That is the bottom line of leading by example, developing a character that will make the right decisions when no one is watching. This kind of integrity and character is indicative of most corporations’ culture.
Corporate culture should also be reflected in the company vision, mission, and values statement (VMV). One way to change from a culture of individualism to that of enterprise first is to change the work environment. Balerdi (2007) says a corporate culture of conservatism and individualism results in a hierarchy that rewards status with space and walls.
In a traditional office setting the grade level of the employee can be determined by the size and location of the office. For...