POLICE TRANSFORMATION: Where to Begin?

chief's badgePOLICE TRANSFORMATION: WHERE TO BEGIN?

PART 4 of 10

I came to understand quite quickly that my leadership style was a problem.

Again, from Arrested Development:

At the time I considered changing my leadership style, I had to ask myself what it was that I expected from those with whom I work. I knew that I wanted to work with people who were competent and worthy of my respect. I wanted work that was interesting and challenging. I wanted to work for leaders who listened to my ideas, recognized me when I did good work and kept me informed about what was going on. And I wanted to be able to grow and develop in my job.

“I have to admit that these work expectations were not usually met by leaders on the departments in which I served as an entry-level officer. This was primarily because these work desires cannot be met in a coercive, top-down organization.

“When I personally asked the members of my own department regarding the kind of leader that would help them in their work, they described the very same things. They wanted to work for leaders (including me!) who:

  • Respected them.
  • Cared about them.
  • Had confidence in their ability to do their jobs.
  • Trusted them.
  • Spent time with them.

 “They also said that those leaders needed to be:

  • Competent (knew their job).
  • Champions (walked their talk).
  • Fixers and improvers.
  • Visible and involved.
  • Willing to take risks and initiate action.
  • In touch with them, understanding, and giving support.
  • Open about what was going on.

 “When I started to understand what I was being told, I realized that I must be the first person to be this kind of leader – to change myself and how I acted. Then, I had to help other leaders in the department to do the same thing. I knew that we were all creatures of habit, and that changing to this new way wasn’t going to be easy—it would take time and would require a lot of training, patience, and hands-on coaching. It would also be, at times, painful…”

The next blog: “Police Transformation: Change is Never Easy.”

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.

2 Comments

  1. The problem with trying to spend time with your officers is when you are head of a large department like the LAPD or NYPD, and you would have to spend a lot of your time trying to meet every cop when they are working different hours and they are working in different branches of the department particulary if they do undercover work.

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    1. Gunther, the overwhelming majority of our nation’s police operate in small (less than 50) police officers. As to our nation’s largest departments they should look to decentralizing their operations into small, accountable, easily managed units. In this setting, the community police leader can and should be highly visible.

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