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                 being, and if they demonstrate genuine concern, these leaders build a positive command climate.” A good way a leader can create a positive command climate is to ensure the organization is trained to do its mission simply. As mentioned earlier, Soldiers want to do right by their leaders, peers, and unit; leaders who provide the training, resources, and motivation necessary for Soldiers to succeed will create a positive command climate. Soldiers who are trained to execute their mission well will be imbued with a sense of accomplishment and pride. Units that expend the energy to ensure equipment is maintained and at a high readiness level can promote strong organizational effectiveness (we can do our mission because our equipment works). But perhaps the best way for a leader to create a positive command climate is by merely treating everyone with dignity and respect.
In Professor Robert I. Sutton’s book, The No Asshole Rule, the author explains that workers with abusive bosses “quit their jobs at accelerated rates, and those still trapped in their jobs suffered from less work and life satisfaction, reduced commitment to employers, and heightened depression, anxiety, and burnout.” The hierarchical nature of the Army can create a sense of impunity by leaders who treat subordinates poorly. Army subordinates are compelled to comply with their superiors’ orders by regulation and the Uniformed Code of Military Justice. Leaders who exercise command authority must take great care to ensure the Army’s regulatory structure – which ensures compliance by subordinates – is not perverted
to demean, belittle, or disrespect members of the unit. Leaders who use their position to abuse their subordinates in the course of mission accomplishment will undoubtedly create a negative command climate. However, a leader
who inspires his/her subordinates to accomplish a mission through transformational leadership can achieve success while also maintaining a positive command climate. Just don’t be an asshole; being one is counterproductive. Treating everyone with dignity and respect, dispensing military justice fairly, and providing equal education and training opportunities will generate more organizational goodwill and foster a positive command climate than bullying your Soldiers into submission.
Command Climate Vigilance Sometimes,
bad things happen to good units; and some of those unfortunate events may indicate a negative command climate. Does one indicator of a negative command climate mean you have a problem within your organization? Maybe. Leaders at all levels must devote significant time and energy to promote a positive command climate within the organization. Leaders who observe an indicator of a negative command climate must investigate and take swift and appropriate action to correct it. Just as you would take in your car for service when the “check engine” light comes on, you must do the same when faced with an indicator of a negative command climate. Your car may still function for many miles without addressing the “check engine” light, so too can your command climate continue to function; however, a lack of prompt attention to both will eventually cascade into costly, irreparable damage. Benjamin Franklin once remarked, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Army leaders must maintain a keen awareness of any negative indicators of their command climate, so only ounces of cure is needed to keep it healthy, not pounds.
Signs and Indicators
  LTC Forshier is the Commander of 3rd Battalion, 34th Infantry Regiment, 165th Infantry Brigade.
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