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Leaders And Organizational Culture Paper

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Leaders and Organizational Culture

There are leaders and there are followers, consequently the composition of most of the human race. There have been leaders since the beginning of time, thus leadership is an extremely important element in our society, for without leaders, people would be without direction, confused, and unmotivated. However, just because one finds his or herself in a leadership role, does not mean he or she is an effective leader or a leader that can create and maintain a healthy organizational culture.

Dwight Eisenhower once said, "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it" (Lanford, n.d.). Leadership is a word that evokes a number of diverse ideas and opinions such as management, control, power, guidance, teamwork, integrity, communication, followers and so on. However, what does leadership mean? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary (2005-2006) defines leadership as "the act or an instance of leading." This paper will discuss the requirements of an effective leader as well as make recommendations to create and maintain a healthy organizational culture.


Leadership is an act of service. As a leader, it is vital to serve the people one leads because it is the followers who determine one's role as a leader. Possessing the gift of leadership means having the ability to gather a diverse group of people and get them so enthused about something that they want to put their all into accomplishing the task or goal. A successful leader should have as a personal goal to help his or her followers see the full potential they have in themselves, because a team of confident workers will be stronger, work harder and accomplish more. A successful and effective leader must be a person of integrity, self-motivated and conscientious, conscious of planning and organizing, vision oriented, and a person of character. When a leader possesses these five characteristics, he or she will be effective no matter what their role of leadership consists of. These five characteristics have come together to form this writers own personal leadership methodology.

Hard work is required to gain influence in any organization and to earn the right to become the leader. If a leader cannot influence the behaviors of others, he or she will not be followed or respected, thus technically, he or she cannot be considered a leader in the true sense of the word. Leadership is developed daily, not in a day. To be an effective leader one needs followers, and that always requires the development of relationships - the deeper the relationships, the stronger the potential for leadership. Franklin D. Roosevelt concludes, "It is a terrible thing to look over your shoulder when you are trying to lead -- and find no one there" (Lanford, n.d.). A leader should not focus on making people follow him or her, but become the person that people want to follow. John Maxwell concludes, "A leader is great not because of his or her power, but because of his or her ability to empower others" (The Jesus Site, 1999-2006).

Leaders have a way about them. The good ones shake things up, disrupt convention, challenge the status quo, and constantly look ahead for the next opportunity. Their ability to organize change, inspire innovation, and empower people to move in new directions is what makes them so valuable. Additionally, leadership that follows the old adage "Do as I say, not as I do" can create an atmosphere of cynicism and mistrust that can erode core values. Employees who observe management decisions -- or even passing remarks -- that conflict with the corporate values are far less likely to commit to the work of building a great company, thus a negative organizational culture can form.

Organizational Culture and Influence

An organization's culture is determined by the actions and personalities of its founders and business leaders. These are reflected in the company's strategies as well as its practices, and affect the company's positioning in the marketplace. These values are embedded into the very core of an organization. Culture penetrates to the essence of an organization - it is almost analogous with the concept of personality in relation to the individual and an acute sense of what an organization is - its mission and core values.

Leaders are heavily involved with the control of culture and many organizations depend upon a strong approach to leadership in order for culture to be managed effectively. Much of the research upon culture and leadership was put forward by Schein (1993), who believed "that ability to perceive the limitations of one's own culture and to develop the culture adaptively is the essence and ultimate challenge of leadership."

Great leaders create a culture in their companies that drives the results they want to achieve. It is the leader of an organization who is in the best position to influence culture change. No one person, however, can change an entire culture. Influencing culture requires obtaining the trust and enhancing the motivation and capabilities of those who follow. The leader has the potential to create the setting that becomes a powerful source of identification and commitment for employees (Schein, 1993).

(Clark, 2005).

Creation of a Culture

Organizational culture is the characteristics and behaviors of an organization that are rarely stated but are widely understood by everyone as accepted behavior. Of course, it is not just what is said, but also what is done. Considering that leaders can affect culture but never control it, it is better to be partners with employees than trying to control them. Power and position do not inspire others. They dictate but they do not persuade.

When creating a culture, one must



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