Leadership Culture and Climate Activity

Objective: To reflect on the culture and climate of an organization and what can easily be changed and what cannot easily be changed.

Instruction: Have the learners read and then complete the reflection activity below. Then divide the learners into small groups. Have them discuss what can easily be changed within their organization, and what would take a full commitment of the organization to change.

Note: This activity is used in conjunction with the chapter on Culture and Climate

What things can you easily change within an organization?

Culture

Changing the culture of an organization takes the full commitment of every leader within the organization. You cannot just tell people, “From now on its going to be done this way.”

For example, when the Armed Forces started to integrate women into what was traditional male jobs, a great resistance was put forth by the men who believed that the type of soldiering skills they were performing, could only be performed by men. Many of them believed in equal rights, but the culture they worked and lived in made them believe that their work was strictly a man's job... they could not picture a women doing a job that was traditionally performed by males.

Climate

On the other hand, climate is a feeling by the employees on how they perceive that something should be done at the minute. These feelings can normally be changed within perhaps a few hours, days or weeks. The workers get these feelings from their both leaders and peers, formally and informally. Feelings are transmitted to them by how their leaders act and model, and what they praise and ignore.

For example, you might believe your department needs to provide better customer service. You then take the necessary actions to help your department start performing customer service better. In the majority of organizations, your actions will not be met with great resistance throughout the ranks. Why? Because "not providing good customer service" is not part of the heritage of most organizations. Thus, if someone wants to change it, it does not really affect others within the organization.

Reflections on the Organization

Listed below are some of the things almost every organization does. Next to it are the words "climate" (feel of the organization) and "culture" (the way we do things). Think about your organization and circle the word that you believe best describes it.

  1. Leadership style of upper management
    • Climate
    • Culture
  2. Leadership style of supervisors and the manager I report to
    • Climate
    • Culture
  3. Organizational Rules and Policies
    • Climate
    • Culture
  4. The way we reward people
    • Climate
    • Culture
  5. The way we punish people
    • Climate
    • Culture
  6. How we treat our customers
    • Climate
    • Culture
  7. How we treat our supplies and vendors
    • Climate
    • Culture
  8. Our mission statement
    • Climate
    • Culture
  9. How we celebrate
    • Climate
    • Culture
  10. How the employees feel they are part of the organization
    • Climate
    • Culture

Next Step

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