PART 3 of 10

The narrative which follows is how I described the midpoint in my career.

I had taken a three-month sabbatical and, upon my return, I wrote this recollection in Arrested Development:

I started thinking about leadership—my leadership. Couldn’t I do better? I needed to find out. And the optimum way to find out was to ask those whom I was responsible for leading…

“After talking with [my wife] Sabine, who was very familiar with the workings of the department, she suggested I hold a number of employee meetings in which I would be there not to talk, but to listen [and not get defensive; at the time it was negative trait that I struggled with as a leader!]. I did so and asked each and every member of the department in these groups what they thought the biggest problem facing the department was. The answer was clear, direct, and unanimous—me. I was the problem, along with a lack of communication department-wide. Those small group meetings with every employee of the department were brutal, but absolutely necessary. If I had not done it, I never would have seen my vision come to fruition. And without this scanning and listening to employees, the changes I implemented never would have lasted beyond my tenure…”

The next blog: “Police Transformation: Where to Begin?

The New Quality Leadership Workbook will be available June 2, 2014 at the eBook store.

On June 2, there will be a 30% discount available for “early birds.” When you click on “eBook store,” use this code: B28BHNR4 for your discount.


  1. You’ll be pleased to note the new Chief of the Madison Police is already stressing the police as guardians vis a vis soldiers occupying hostile territory. Could have been right out of: http://bluecourage.com/blog/ .. There is still harassment, intimidation, and corruption of the judicial process by Dane County police agencies, but this does not stop this step forward.


    1. Or out of my book! I hired Mike and he still is on fire for community oriented policing and excellence in police service. His leadership will be worth watching. The first week on the job he has an officer-involved shooting to investigate.


  2. How about employees being part of the problem as well? If you had went out to the Madison community, you would have gotten an earful from the people of Madison stating that your employees were the problem. Of course, if you had told your employess that they were the problem, they would have gotten defensive since that is a negative trait that police officers have from the chief of police to the lowest cop on the beat.


    1. Yep. That was my experience. Feedback from the community is essential. And officers need to know how their behavior can positively (or negatively) affect an outcome. It’s a fine line a leader has to walk. But walk it they must.


  3. How about the good cops telling you the bad cops including police supervisors and managers were the problem, but they couldn’t do a thing about it because bad cops occupied too many key supervisors/managers positions where they could crush the good cops and protect the bad cops?


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