What’s On My Reading List?

unknown-1Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality. —Warren Bennis

In preparing to teach a new course on campus this spring about leading police in these times of change, I would say that the following books and articles I noted in the course syllabus exemplifies my leadership reading list. What’s yours?

Police Leadership in Changing Times

University of Wisconsin — Platteville

Spring Semester, 2017  

  • The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. —Max DePree
  •  Leaders are best when people barely know they exist, when work is done, aim fulfilled, people will say — We did it ourselves! —Lao Tzu

General Information & Description

This is an upper division course to explore how one leads change in policing and to develop the necessary leadership skills in which to do this – through writing and oral presentations. We will look deeply into the kind of leadership that can improve police officers and their organizations during times of challenge and change and be conversant with the literature and methods surrounding organizational change. You will be expected to critically think, present your ideas, and engage in classroom and small group discussions.

It is a new course in the CJ curriculum and I am excited to be teaching it. This is the 21st century and time for 21st century police leadership!

This journey began for me in the early 1980s when was about eight years into my two-decade tenure as a chief of police in Madison (Wisc). I made the decision to change not only MY leadership style, but also that of the entire police department because I strongly believed it was the way to achieve excellence in policing and to sustain organizational improvements.

Since that time, these new ideas have been slow to be incorporated as any new idea is within a bureaucracy which traditionally strongly resists any change – where status quo is “what we do around here.”

Now, post-Ferguson, police must make necessary changes in how they are conducting business. This style of leadership (which is closely tied to the best practices of business and industry) is the most effective and lasting way to make these necessary changes.

My initial success resulted in the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)) to ask me to teach a 3-day course around the country called “Quality Leadership.” This is the evolution of that early effort.

A few years ago, I revisited the course manual we used back in the 1990s and updated it — “The New Quality Leadership Workbook for Police.”

In preparing to teach this course, I surveyed and incorporated current business and industry literature on how to successfully lead and sustain change and organizational reform.

You will have the opportunity to engage in real and lasting personal growth during this semester — but that is up to you. I will present the opportunity, but whether or not you wish to build this information into your own life is up to you and how you engage and participate during the semester.

Course Materials — Reading List

Required Texts:

  1. The Extreme Future – James Canton, Penguin Group (USA) (2006).
  2. The Deming Management Method – Mary Walton, Dodd-Mead (1986).
  3. HBR’s (Harvard Business Review’s) 10 Must-Reads on Change Management – Harvard Business School Publishing Group (2011).

Library Reading List – On Reserve at Karmann Library

  1. Leader Effectiveness Training – Thomas Gordon (2001).
  2. Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness – Larry Spears, Ed., and Robert Greenleaf (2012)
  3. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t – Jim Collins (2001).
  4. Turn the Ship Around – David Marquet (2012).
  5. HBR’s (Harvard Business Review) 10 Must-Reads on Leadership (2011).
  6. Leadership 101 – John Maxwell (2010).
  7. The Memory Jogger 2 – Goal/QPC (2016).
  8. The Team Handbook, 3rd Edition – Peter Scholtes, Joiner, and Steibel (2003).
  9. Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works — Jay Newton-Small (2016).

Additional Materials

  1. Leading Change – Kotter (2012)
  2. Reaching Out: Interpersonal Effectiveness and Self-Actualization– Johnson (2012)
  3. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Covey (1989)
  4. Principle-Centered Leadership – Covey (1991)
  5. The Transformational Leader (Wiley Management Classic) – Tichy and Devanna (1997)
  6. 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Workbook – Maxwell (2007)
  7. The Challenge of Crime in a Free Society: Task Force Report: The Police, President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice (1968).
  8. Police Leadership in a Democracy, Jim Isenberg (2010). CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group.
  9. Policing a Free Society, Herman Goldstein (1977).
  10. The Standards Relating to the Urban Police Function, American Bar Assn. (1972).

Materials Online

  1. Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police – Couper (2012).
  2. The New Quality Leadership Workbook for Police – Couper and Lobitz (2014).
  3. “Solitude and Leadership” – William Deresiewicz – American Scholar (2010).
  4. Excerpt from: Let Your Life Speak – Palmer.
  5. Others as assigned during the semester.

 I would also add:

  • The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization, Peter Senge (1990).
  • Out of the Crisis, W. Edwards Deming (1982).
  • Problem-Oriented Policing, Herman Goldstein (1990).
  • Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatley (1994).
  • Police Leadership in a Democracy: Conversations with America’s Police Chiefs, Jim Isenberg (2010).
  • HBR’s (Harvard Business Review’s) 10 Must-Reads on Emotional Intelligence  (2015).



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