Working on a project and I'd like the input of as many cops, deputies, agents, officers, game wardens, etc, as I can get.
My question, as it relates to your LE/MIL/life experience: What is your definition of a LEADER? Using that definition, give examples of things that leaders you've enountered have done to make them worthy of the title.
And to clarify, there IS a difference between someone who is a supervisor and someone who is a leader. There are many supervisors, but not so many leaders that happen to be supervisors, too.
Thanks in advance,
Sorry, double post.
A leader is someone who makes sound decisions under pressure, and carrys out those decisions. A leader leads by example, not by order (when applicable). A leader neithor demeans, nor allows another to do wrong by another officer or a member of the public (this does not mean actions that are required for officer safety, or in conducting an arrest). A leader is someone who others come to when they need guidance. A leader will acknoledge when they are wrong, or don't know the answer (because they realize that everyone is wrong sometimes, and can't possibly know the answer to every question). A leader is one who acknoledges their fear, but is able to overcome it, and help other's through the experience.
I'm not a cop/deputy, etc. I graduated from the academy in 2005, but I haven't landed a job yet (not for lack of credibility/etc, just bad luck and sticking with my ideas of right/wrong). I just thought that I'd throw in a few ideas about what a leader should be.
Leadership is someone that steps above what they may believe, and do what is right. This shows others the correct steps to follow. It is about doing the right thing, and taking the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Setting an example for others to follow by. Always being their for others in need of guidance, no matter what they may have done.
It is usually pretty easy to sit around and list the qualities of a good leader. He should be good at two way communications, set good examples, lead from the front, be technically proficient, keep your subordinates informed and on and on. A bad leader is obviously one that does not possess those or most of those skills.
But what is a leader as opposed to a supervisor? One of the books that I read on command after being promoted put it in terms of "Formal" and "Informal" leadership.
The Formal Leader is one that is given the authority by law, policy, statute, etc. For example he may be promoted to Sergeant because he made first on the civil service test or maybe because he is the Mayor's nephew. It does not matter how he got promoted since by law, he is the supervisor and must be followed by law and policy.
The Informal Leader is a person that coworkers look up to because of his leadership skills. It doesn't matter if the Informal Leader is a supervisor or not. He might be a patrolman that others turn to in a tense situation, for help on policies or for advice on personal matters. This leader might be looked upon for guidance even by officers of a superior rank. The Informal Leader might be a supervisor by law but he is followed because his subordinates want to follow him, not because it is required.
Straight from the Army's FM 22-100 (Military Leadership):
"Leadership is the process of influencing others to accomplish the mission by providing purpopse, direction, and motivation."
I am a bit biased as this manual has always been the bible to me as both a military leader and now, as a police leader. This one 84 page manual is the benchmark in ALL leadership concept training material. You can pick up any book on police or corporate leadership and find the same information in it as in FM 22-100.
Principles of leadership:
- Know yourself and seek self improvement
- Be technically and tactically proficient
- Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions
- Make sound and timely decisions
- Set the example
- Know your soldiers (officers) and look out for their well being
- Keep your subordinates informed
- Develop a sense of responsibility in your subordinates
- Ensure the task is understood, supervised, and accomplished
- Build the team
- Employ your unit in accordance with its' capabilities
Good leaders embody these principles. Rank-weares and ass-kissers, do not.
That's also in Marine Corps leadership doctrine. I've always liked it and believe in it.
Few ideas for you.
“A leader of men must make decisions quickly; be independent; act and stand firm; be a fighter; speak openly, plainly, and firmly; make his defeats his lessons; cooperate and coordinate; use the best of any alliances or allies; walk actively with faith courageously toward danger or the unknown; create a staff; know, love, and represent the best interests of his followers; be loyal, true, frank, and faithful; reward loyalty; have high, intelligent, and worthy purpose and ideal. Do justice; love mercy; fear no man but fear only God” – John W Dodge
Maintain Absolute Integrity
Know Your Stuff
Declare Your Expectations
Show Uncommon Commitment
Expect Positive Results
Take Care Of Your People
Put Duty Before Self
Get Out In Front
Authority, Responsibility, Accountability, Expertise
Without one of these a Leader will fail!
Leadership is at its most noticeable when tough decisions finally have to be made
In the absence of certainty, instinct is all you have to follow
“Showmanship” (For example of Showmanship do a google search for Patton's speech on May 31, 1944. If you can't find it let me know).
"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency."
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things."
Peter F. Drucker
Someone who supports his troops, filters out the BS from upstairs, and doesn't micro-manage.
If my old Lt. (later Chief) pulled up in his suburbanm and told me to grab a hand pump, 'cuz he was goin' to hell to put it out, I'd tell my Shift Commander that I had to go, and grab my gear.
He's been retired 6 years, and I'd still go.
First off: In the interests of full disclosure, I don't fit the parameters of your solicitation (not a LEO), but I have done a lot reading and research in the area (degree in Management; still keep current in the literature).
That said, good examples from all the folks here. I just wanted to make sure a few differentiations were made.
a) As you already mentioned, there's a difference between a supervisor and a leader. There's also a difference between a manager and a leader (based on mostly the same criterion).
b) There's a difference between a "good" (read: effective) leader and a bad leader.
c) There's also a difference between moral leadership and immoral leadership (Hitler could be considered a "good" leader, but it doesn't make his cause moral).
My two cents; carry on, all. I've gotta go run some errands.