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Leadership styles have tremendous influence on corporate culture. Most companies, and certain large corporations, have a written codes of conduct to which all employees from the top down are required to read and expected to follow. Corporate codes of conduct are fairly standard, covering many of the same topics, including prohibitions on unacceptable conduct, for example, sexual harrassment. Codes of conduct, however, do not set corporate culture. Management and leadership are what sets corporate culture. Therefore, different styles of leadership have a direct impact on how that culture develops.
Management, by its nature, oversees operations. It is higher up the corporate food chain. As such, how direct it is in issuing assignments, coordinating various offices or departments, and dealing with personnel issues all shape the culture. Some leaders adopt a hands-off approach that allows subordinates greater leeway to make decisions and, especially, to carry out those decisions. A looser management style can foster higher employee morale, but it can also leave the manager vulnerable to mishaps on the part of subordinates who make choices or execute poorly.
Conversely, so-called micromanagers frequently degrade morale by providing subordinates little or no freedom with which to perform their assigned tasks. As the manager is ultimately responsible for the outcome, and is answerable further up the corporate management structure, micromanaging may be his or her way of minimizing the risk of mishaps.
Corporate culture is also shaped by perceptions of integrity and competency at the top of the pyramid. A corporation with leaders who adhere to laws and act ethically, and demand the same down the line, establish a positive culture of trust and respect. Again, on the other side of that coin, if leadership is seen as legally and/or morally corrupt, that will establish a culture in which highly questionable business practices become the norm -- at least until government regulators come along and bring the whole company down.
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