Michael LoebbertMichael Loebbert The Culture Imperative of Leadership

10/02/2008 by Michael Loebbert

We rely in the majority of decisions and actions on the cultural patterns of organizations, in which we live. Most of these patterns and values with which we steer ourselves are unconscious. Only rarely we object to them. Some individual patterns are actively learned by training or by serious “injuries”. Think about how you drive a car: You coordinate hand, foot and eye, adhere to the rules and respect the rights of other road users. Brain researchers describe this with the training of our synapses. “What has proved working and repeatedly gone through or what is equipped with high energy, engraves our actions and behavior.”

You have a wealth of experience that these organizational and individual process of coining patterns does not always run smoothly, specifically in companies and organizations. Not only that nowadays some patterns became dysfunctional, which most probably in the past were perfectly appropriate. Some organizational patterns, in particular how we act in power struggles or protect us from these like “devalue”, “dominate”, “intrigue”, “to put on ice,” “denounce”, “refuse to support”, “subject”, “threaten,” “spread  rumours” are quite indecent, even if they are individually applied not fully aware nor intended. To use words of Hannah Arendt, they are part of the “banality of evil”, as you find it even today in times of democracy and market economy (occasionally).

You rightly take this for a “moral argument”. Even if there is nobody personally to blame for: “Do not judge!” –  If leadership by example and effects of actions in organizations supplies and shapes the cultural patterns, an imperative can be formulated: “In everything you do or initiate as a manager, think about which cultural patterns you want to shape or make available for your organization through it.” This usually also pays off economically, as long as we depend in our value creation on cooperation, responsibility and creativity. And even if not …

About the author:
Dr. Michael Loebbert is Coach and Management Consultant and author of the montly publication “Change Management Short Cut“.

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