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Posted: 12/7/2018 3:25:19 PM EST
I will officially be sworn in as Sergeant on Monday and was wondering if anyone has some tips to make the transition smooth. We are a fairly small department (13 sworn with 8 patrol officers) and I know all the officers personally.

Has anyone else been in a similar situation where you had to start supervising your friends? What was your hardest issue to get past? What mistakes did you make that I could learn from and hopefully avoid?

Thanks for the help!
Joe
Link Posted: 12/7/2018 3:31:36 PM EST
Not LE, but I went from being the highest tenured tech to the lowest tenured manager a couple years ago.

The hourly guys all knew me and knew I was brought up to do a job and they could either play ball or not.
Link Posted: 12/7/2018 4:07:32 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/7/2018 4:08:35 PM EST by ColtRifle]
In both the military and LE, supervising people you were friends with yesterday is very challenging.

Be fair. To everyone. That means everyone gets hooked up equally and everyone gets fucked equally. It's likely you'll lose some friends in the process. They are the ones you are possibly the closest to now. They will expect special treatment because they are your friends. But, as a supervisor, you can't give special treatment. You have to be fair.

Don't spread gossip to your friends. There will be times you will be involved in discipline or be privy to personal stuff. That stays with command staff and the affected employee.

Tell the truth even if it sucks. Bad news doesn't get better with time. Don't start rumors. End them. Be the one everyone can trust to always shoot them straight.

Defend your people.

Don't hide bad stuff from the command. If your boss is going to find out from someone above him her, you need to tell him/her first. That said, if you can resolve more minor stuff at your level, do so and keep the command out of it.

Demand quality work. Don't hesitate to kick reports back for correction or further investigation. Again, don't hook your friends up. Hold everyone to the same standard.

Good luck!
Link Posted: 12/7/2018 4:56:30 PM EST
You're not friends, you're friendly. It's not personal, it's just business. When my uniform comes off, so does the persona.
Link Posted: 12/7/2018 4:57:17 PM EST
[Last Edit: 12/7/2018 4:59:08 PM EST by mpddoug162]
I did 26 yrs at my agency( 80 sworn when I left) with about half of that as a shift Sgt and then Lt-watch commander. You need to not only know your new position well but that where you came from. You didn't give up the duties of a patrolman but added those of a supervisor to them. You will now be making the decisions that others don't want to make or can't. You need to be knowledgeable in all the aspect of what you are supervising be it patrol or traffic or detectives etc etc. If you don't know something right off you need to know how to find the answer. People will test you in your new position. At this point you should know what's right, what's wrong, what's acceptable and what's not. You should review your agency's policies and procedures since you are now an enforcer of rules and regs. Put your people first before yourself. Be honest and genuine. It's easy to be a boss and tell someone what to do because of the position you're in. It's hard to be a leader and get people to follow you to a place they wouldn't and don't want to go by themselves. Good luck.
Link Posted: 12/8/2018 6:49:35 AM EST
Thanks for all the advice!
Link Posted: 12/8/2018 3:04:06 PM EST
OP: I've been in nearly the exact same situation as you. Small department, almost like a family, running shifts of 3-5 usually, which fostered even more of a friendly atmosphere. I was suddenly-- and, admittedly, unexpectedly-- promoted to lead these folks. Yikes!

The two best pieces of advice I can give you are what I highlighted below from mpdoug162's excellent post (and the other nuggets I quoted below), and to recommend that you learn things from your (now new) peers. Resist the urge to go to Officer X because he's a SME on something; instead try to seek out someone else in command staff who can show you. At least that's how the powers that be preferred in my agency.

Learn to be resourceful and to know where to find someone or something at a moment's notice. It's no longer time to pass the buck to the NCOIC, as you are now in those shoes. Know the obscure guidelines and facts that may not be written anywhere, such as things like who to call if the animal control officer and his backup aren't available, how to reach language translation services while roadside at 0300, or the proper procedure for disciplining a civilian employee whom you observe doing something stupid.

You will also slowly absorb more admin roles, I can guarantee. Know who to call at the town hall for payroll issues, who to reach after hours if you need IT support, what to do if a two way radio in a cruiser malfunctions, things like that.

Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By mpddoug162:
If you don't know something right off you need to know how to find the answer.

People will test you in your new position.

At this point you should know what's right, what's wrong, what's acceptable and what's not.

You should review your agency's policies and procedures since you are now an enforcer of rules and regs.

Put your people first before yourself.

It's hard to be a leader and get people to follow you to a place they wouldn't and don't want to go by themselves.
View Quote
Link Posted: 12/8/2018 9:53:35 PM EST
Yup. its a pain in the ass. Most will be beyond helpful. One or two will he major pains in the ass.
Link Posted: 12/10/2018 2:18:25 AM EST
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By mpddoug162:
I did 26 yrs at my agency( 80 sworn when I left) with about half of that as a shift Sgt and then Lt-watch commander. You need to not only know your new position well but that where you came from. You didn't give up the duties of a patrolman but added those of a supervisor to them. You will now be making the decisions that others don't want to make or can't. You need to be knowledgeable in all the aspect of what you are supervising be it patrol or traffic or detectives etc etc. If you don't know something right off you need to know how to find the answer. People will test you in your new position. At this point you should know what's right, what's wrong, what's acceptable and what's not. You should review your agency's policies and procedures since you are now an enforcer of rules and regs. Put your people first before yourself. Be honest and genuine. It's easy to be a boss and tell someone what to do because of the position you're in. It's hard to be a leader and get people to follow you to a place they wouldn't and don't want to go by themselves. Good luck.
View Quote
Please do not forget your roots.
Link Posted: 12/10/2018 2:41:26 AM EST
[Last Edit: 12/10/2018 2:43:08 AM EST by Mxpatriot51]
It's not an easy task but you're already demonstrating the mindset required to be successful at it. The key is to be a leader and not a manager - use your rank for their good and they will support you (for the most part, there's always a shithead or two who likes to learn by the stick instead of the carrot).

I took command of a unit that I had been a Captain in a non-command position in for three years; I feel your pain on this one. Be prepared that even if you are 100% fair and equitable across the board, your poor performers are still likely to point the favoritism finger. Don't get disheartened, the good ones will see the good that you are doing and you need to come in everyday energized to do good for them.

90% of the issues can be eliminated through communication, you just have to get through the awkward phase of directly communicating standards, expectations, and boundaries. This can be especially awkward if clear/direct communication to subordinates is not a part of your department's culture. Something to the effect of "Hey guys/gals, I'm still the same me I've always been, I just have some new responsibilities now. I want to be the best Sergeant that I can be for you guys. This is going to be a transition for me, please be patient with me and I promise I will treat you all like the professionals that you are. I look forward to sitting down with each of you individually to talk about how we can best work for each other and make improvements around here". At those individual talks, you can break out the "hey, I know we've butted heads in the past but I want you to know that I don't hold any grudges, I ask that you do the same" or the "Hey dude, I know we are best friends and you've known my kids since they were in diapers, I need you to know that I am going to be completely equitable across the board."
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