U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod

Many reading this have been there. Some reading this might be there now: A command climate that can only be described as toxic. Leaders who only look out for themselves. Leaders who micromanage subordinates and destroy morale in hopes of looking good to their own higher. Leaders with extreme adversity to risk, who withhold decisions until the last possible minute forcing subordinates to scramble. Leaders with zero-defect mentalities and slam subordinates for the smallest mistakes. It might be at the battalion, the company or even the squad level, it happens. Toxicity exists, and it drives out many service members who have the potential to be the best and brightest, but didn’t know how to handle the toxicity.

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U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Brian Hamilton

A great deal of time and effort has been spent by military leaders trying to seek out and prevent horrible command climates. The term often used is “toxic.” Time and effort is spent on sexual harassment and equal opportunity training, suicide awareness, and risk management in order to demonstrate that unit leaders “are doing something” and care about their soldiers.  

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