You Can Never Not Lead

Today I feel led to address the 800 pound gorilla staring many of us in the face when we think about the state of leadership in our profession…

You can have the stars and the corner office but until you can look in the mirror and truly see yourself as the Chief, master of your world, you will never achieve your potential.  Admittedly this is kind of an angry rant.  It is brought on by listening to a group of senior police leaders bemoan the fate of their organizations due to shrinking federal aid dollars.  The decision to make themselves dependent on outside aid was a conscious one, enacted over time.

The content of the discussion gave rise to the belief that federal funding is not the only thing that was suffering from shrinkage.   There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth as the ‘Chief’ told the world, and the other leaders looking to him for guidance, that he didn’t know what the answer was.  Fewer dollars would certainly result in fewer cops which would certainly result in more crime.  He also said that cops had already been seriously injured due to staffing cuts resulting from smaller budgets.  While he sited no specifics to support this last assertion; I think that whoever that ‘Chief’ was in that situation better find a mirror to figure out who is responsible for the safety of their folks, and its not the federal budget.

You Can Never Not Lead!!

Bottom line is that you can never not lead.  If I’m a citizen living in the community served by the above referenced ‘Chief’, I’ve just been told its time to move to a community where they have an idea about what to do when the original plan doesn’t work.  If I’m a cop working for this ‘Chief’ I’m left to wonder how much I can count on having the tools I need to be safe and if my leader is looking out for me and the Mission.

The ‘Chief’ should be senior enough to know that failure doesn’t often result from a failure to plan.  Failure results from the failure to do contingency planning because the original plan never survives the real world.  In this case the organization that this ‘Chief’ represents sponsors an industry standard leadership course with a section on leading the environment.  Many of the leader actions identified for this block center on avoiding single point failure.  Remembering the lessons taught in his own class might have led to some contingency planning and the ability to give some good advice to his colleagues…

But that gets down to the nit-noid specifics of the budget as the issue.  The real issue is that you need to see yourself as the leader when you look in the mirror.  This provides the underpinning for taking the actions and achieving the results that you are responsible for.  If you don’t know the answer; find one that doesn’t involve wailing and gnashing of teeth. Whether I am working for you or paying the taxes that provide your salary I want to know that you haven’t thrown up your hands in defeat.  I want to know that you have some situational awareness and that you haven’t given up.  I want to know that you are confident in your ability to get the job done.  More importantly, I want to know that you will get the job done.  Otherwise, I’ve got a great suggestion on where we get some shrinkage to the budget.

What To Do?

See yourself as the leader (whether you are the Chief or the cop on the beat) and remember that others rely on you.  Put them first – that’s our Oath.  Don’t take on the victim mindset.  Each of us is the master of ourselves.  We choose the way we react to situations, the way we lead, and the way we serve.  No one can take that from us unless we let them.  Someone is always watching.  You can never not lead.

As always, THANK YOU for your service and BE SAFE!

Please leave a comment on ways that you have found to avoid playing the victim.

 

 

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