Dr. Donald Horner, a JU management professor currently on sabbatical and working as Jacksonville’s Education Commissioner, was recently featured in a Navy Times cover story on the U.S. Navy’s “toxic leaders” controversy.
Among other things, Horner is quoted as saying: “If you’re getting abused day in, day out … you’re going to have a sicker crew, which means turnover is going to be worse, which means re-enlistments are going to be worse. Who stays in that environment?”
Other excerpts featuring Horner from the article:
The problem is ingrained in the Navy’s culture, said Horner … The visitor eventually adjusts to it. In any culture, the new person blends in to survive, said Horner, a West Point grad. In the case of a toxic climate, where a leader demeans a subordinate to reinforce his status, Horner continued, the new arrival accepts the harsh treatment as part of the culture.
The next phase is adoption. The sailor notices that those who get the “attaboys” and best evaluations are generally those who act like their leaders, Horner said. “And so what happens is … you actually start taking on, assuming the characteristics of these bullying leaders,” said Horner, who researched this trend in 2009, when he was a leadership professor at the Naval Academy. He said one former surface warfare officer student of his told him at the time: “‘Doc, you do this as a matter of survival. And once you’ve been there a while, you actually get rewarded for becoming the person who at first you never wanted to be.’ “So there is replication here,” Horner continued. “These bullies breed bullies.”
There’s only one way to break this suck-it-up culture, Horner advised: Change from the top.
See the full article at http://www.navytimes.com/prime/2012/09/PRIME-navys-growing-problem-with-bad-leaders-091712/.