Leadership is a quality which continues to evolve and refine itself within the effective police professional. Leading is an action verb which is constantly developing within the character of senior law enforcement officers. Leaders are never satisfied to stay at the same level, but strive continuously to improve and better themselves personally and professionally.
Today’s leaders are those who can stand their ground as they bend. Demonstrating flexibility within the law while maintaining professional integrity is a key factor which fosters efficiency, effectiveness, and professionalism in police executives. Commitment to integrity and professionalism is one way that individuals lead by example. There is no other way to run a police department. Junior officers watch your every move and you must be equal to their scrutiny
The most effective leaders are readily recognized. They do not talk as much as they listen. True leaders are secure enough in their own competence that they feel comfortable in reaching out to others to lean on their expertise. Taking the time to gain the insight of someone more knowledgeable than oneself regarding a certain topic is also a sign of wisdom and maturity.
A truly efficient and effective leader is someone properly focused on the issue at hand. He or she has the ability to choose wisely in spending time on the really important issues, rather than being controlled by the tyranny of the urgent, yet less important.
Effective leaders are also comfortable in delegating tasks as appropriate. Some police executives believe that they are needed if things fall apart when they are gone. The mark of superb leadership is an executive who trains and delegates so effectively that the department runs seamlessly in his or her absence.
Police executives may have to make excellent decisions which are at the same time unpopular. Nevertheless, the action is must be taken and any unfavorable reactions are dealt with professionally.
True leaders understand policing is a profession. It is not a job. Policing is a challenge. It is not a task. Policing is a privilege only experienced by a very few.
Police leaders need not be the biggest, strongest, fastest, bravest, best educated, or most skilled individual s representing our police departments. Yet, if you merge these traits together as one you have your leader. These ingredients, combined with one’s own character, create a leader. This is not something which can be practiced or taught. It is one’s personal identity which shows itself in the role of community service, often under pressure.
The effective police leader does what needs to be done to keep all officers standing in challenging times.