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                 effectiveness plummets. As the unit continues to fail and fail again, its members become disillusioned and no longer want to come to work. This apathy toward the unit by subordinates creates a negative feedback loop that reinforces simple compliance within the organization, thus dooming the overall climate and unit effectiveness. Simple compliance in an organization is a vital indicator of a negative command climate; leaders must take active steps to generate their commitment.
Low morale is also a vital indicator of a negative command climate. Morale, both good and bad,
are infectious. Low or poor morale within an organization will poison the climate and lessen
the effectiveness of the unit. One indicator of low morale within a unit is a lack of attendance at unit social functions, such as organizational days, promotions, reenlistments, holiday parties, etc.
A similar indicator of low morale within a unit is when subordinates do not wish their leadership (or its members) to be associated with a celebration
of career milestones. As mentioned earlier, with respect to commitment, a unit with low morale will create a climate where no one wants to work, especially for events outside assigned duties.
A leader who observes low morale within the organization may need to consider the cause and what to do about it before the only remedy is a leadership change.
Loss of trust in the chain of command is another indicator of a negative command climate. Soldiers must trust their leaders to do right by them, legally, morally, and ethically. An indicator of a loss of trust in the chain of command can be an increase in external investigations within the unit, primarily when the respondent’s concerns could have been addressed through an open door policy. Soldiers have the absolute right to seek assistance from the Inspector General or the Equal
Opportunity Office. Still, if those entities are the first stop for a Soldier wishing to voice an issue, that may indicate a loss of trust in the chain of command. A unit leader who finds him/herself (or many members of his/her organization) the subject of frequent external investigations may have an issue with trust, and ultimately an indicator of a negative command climate.
Low retention rates may indicate a negative command climate. Soldiers operating in a poor command climate do not want to come to work – by extension, they are less likely to remain in the military if they feel a negative command climate pervades the Army. Unit leaders who observe Soldiers departing the Army without a well-defined post-military career plan may be observing an indicator of a poor climate, possibly signifying
that the departing Soldier believes getting out
of the Army as fast as possible is preferable than staying a day longer than necessary. Tied with trust in leadership, a Soldier’s rapid-exit strategy can further illustrate that the Soldier does not wish to seek the advice of his/her leaders to aid in a smooth transition out of the military. Leaders observing poor retention rates and rapid exits by Solders
(to include sudden permanent change of station moves) may indicate a negative command climate.
Positive Factors
The indicators of a positive command climate are, in some ways, the inverse of those in a negative command climate. However, the inverse indicators of a negative command climate can exhibit additional details that can help a leader assess the strength of his/her positive command climate. As mentioned above, low attendance at unit functions can indicate a negative command climate; but high attendance can mean the opposite. Additionally, who a Soldier invites to his/her unit’s functions
can show the Soldier’s perception of the command climate. If a unit’s members bring Family and friends to unit events, this may indicate a more robust command climate than if the Soldier attends the same function alone. Soldiers who trust in the unit, its members, and its leadership are more likely to bring spouses, friends, and relatives to celebrate in unit events. Soldiers may be compelled to attend the unit organizational day, but that Soldiers’ election to bring a spouse, a child, or friend can indicate a strong, healthy command climate.
An organization’s understanding of the unit mission and the commander’s intent may also
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