Two types of climate
I was out walking here on the BeltLine in Atlanta, the East BeltLine. It’s different than the west, there are two different ones, so the east one has a bit more hip stuff going on. the west one is calmer and more for people walking or exercising. Out here walking on a warm and humid day I come to think about climate, and that there are, I would say two types of climate. I know I’m simplifying it but it makes my point easier to explain. One is logical, practical climate that you can feel. I’m warm, I’m sweating, it’s hot. People are outside, and they feel the heat, humidity. It’s very clear that there is a logical, practical climate.
You can feel that when you’re working too. You can work in an area where it’s really hot and humid, and you have to wear sometimes gowns because of the industry you’re in, etc, makes it even warmer. What I’m taught is that if you lose 4% of your body fluids, you half your physical performance, so it’s obviously very important to hydrate, and so on. We have counter measures for that, so we do know what to do to cool down, to stay cool, to drink and cool off and more. Still, people malfunction in that a little bit, and it can be very serious, people can die from it.
Then, you have the emotional climate as well, and the emotional climate is trickier because you can’t see it, it’s something you feel. Not everybody is sensitive to it, consciously. Subconsciously everybody is sensitive to it, it’s just that we choose to ignore how we feel about certain things, and sometimes we think that if something is hard, or if people are acting against you in a way you don’t like, that might be because they are like that. Some managers think that they need to be tough, and then tell people off, and be a little bit aggressive, because that’s how you lead, because people don’t listen otherwise, and so on. It might be more of a reflection of them than the people we work with.
The Leaders who rise
In any case, that emotional feeling, that culture you have around you has a very similar effect as the physical culture. If it’s hot, and humid, and smelly, and hard to work in physically, you can have an emotionally reaction as well. It’s important for leaders, managers in organizations to try to understand what the climate is like, what it really is like for people who actually work in that climate. Not for people who distance themselves a little bit, then sit in a satellite building, but the people who actively work adding the value you sell. What is it really like to be affected by the leadership, to be affected by the team that you work with, etc? The leaders who have the ability to do this will rise and have more impact of the companies future.
What successful Leaders do
In some organizations, they pay attention to both climates and ensure they have countermeasures for both the Logical and the Emotional climate. Both can be proactively acted on and Leaders can learn how to become sensitive to the Emotional climate and how they can impact their part of the organization and be the leaders others rely on and look up to. These organizations are successful and they have what others describe as a magical touch to the climate and the culture. Leaders of then downplay it by saying “There’s no magic just treat the people like you want to be treated” and similar comments. What I think they have is a sensitivity to how people feel and they are able to be proactive and reactive to that. The skill of the future leaders.
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Johan Majlov, CEO Lean Dimensions International