Are You a Quality Leader? Summary and Scenarios (Part 3/3)

SUMMARY: The Principles of Quality Leadership


  1. Improve SYSTEMS and examine processes before blaming people
  2. Have a CUSTOMER orientation and focus toward employees and citizens.
  3. Believe that the best way to improve the quality of work or service is to ASK and LISTEN to employees who are doing the work.
  4. Be committed to the PROBLEM- SOLVING process; use it and let DATA, not emotions, drive decisions.


  1. Be a FACILITATOR and COACH. Develop an OPEN atmosphere that encourages providing and accepting FEEDBACK
  2. Encourage CREATIVITY through RISK- TAKING and be tolerant of honest MISTAKES.
  3. Avoid top-down, POWER-ORIENTED decision-making whenever possible.
  4. Manage on the BEHAVIOR of 95% of employees and not on the 5% who cause problems. Deal with the 5% PROMPTLY and FAIRLY.


  1. Believe in, foster and support TEAMWORK
  2. With teamwork, develop with employees agreed-upon GOALS and a PLAN to achieve them.
  3. Seek employees INPUT before you make key decisions.
  4. Strive to develop mutual RESPECT and TRUST among employees; DRIVE OUT FEAR.


Leadership Scenarios

  1. You are a supervisor assigned to a man with a gun call. On your arrival, you see that an outer perimeter has not yet been established. You see five to six officers standing around near the house in question.  What do you do?
  2. Upon reviewing the shift schedule, you see that you must change the days from at least three of the six patrol officers that have been assigned to you. How do you go about doing this?
  3. One of your officers consistently makes errors in his reports. How do you approach this problem?
  4. You have been the shift supervisor on the night shift for over six months. You have eight police officers assigned to you. You are in the process of establishing goals and objectives for the coming year.  How do you proceed?
  5. You have been asked by your supervisor to increase the number of traffic tickets written on your shift.  How do you proceed?
  6. One officer on your shift has problems getting to work on time.  What do you do?
  7. The officers on your shift want to know how they are doing. They have requested feedback from you regarding their performance.  How do you respond?
  8. Your supervisor wants a new beat selection policy implemented immediately. What’s your first step?
  9. Your work unit has just taken a vote and most your officers want to work a 4-10 shift (four 10-hour work days followed by three days off). What’s your plan? What role will data play here?
  10. Your officers have been responding to a great number of shoplifting complaints from area merchants. Most of the complaints involve thefts less than $10 in value. Your officers feel that this is unreasonably adding to their work load. The merchants feel that a police response to this problem is important to them.  What do you do?

[The above materials and many others can be found in The Quality Leadership Workbook (Couper, 2017).

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