NTOA Forums Operational Leadership General Leadership Discussions What Leadership Challenges Agencies Face These Days? Reply To: What Leadership Challenges Agencies Face These Days?

mmJon Brambila

I really see a couple different ways to look at the leadership challenges that face agencies today, you can look at day to day operations as well as the issues we have in developing good leaders. Many agencies are faced with the same challenges of recruiting, retention, manpower shortage and budget issues. Those are challenging issues for anyone in law enforcement leadership and can become more so without the support of upper management. As leaders we must find new ways of recruiting the best possible candidates to be police officers and future leaders of our Departments. The days of sitting back and letting everyone come to us seem to be fading away quickly. We need to focus on the wants and needs of the newer generations and tailor our recruiting approach to attract them to our profession. In my agency we very rarely saw people come and go but in the last few years we have seen more officers leave for other agencies than I have ever seen in my career. There again needs to be a shift in the way we look at things and figure out what motivates good people to stay with our agencies and then apply what we learn to keep them. Manpower issues can take a big toll on morale and the productivity of any agency which leads to burn out and a loss of purpose. Finding creative ways to meet our staffing needs is a key to making sure that we are not burning out our employees because do more with less will ultimately lead to more mistakes and less productivity in our people. Budget issues can sometimes be addressed by leaders in an organization in some ways but when you are dealing with a fixed budget you have to become creative with funding. Looking at grants and other alternative sources of funding takes patience and determination because there is a competition to get funding.

Other leadership challenges that I see for agencies is being able to develop leaders within our own agencies for the future. With the above mentioned issues you can ultimately see that this can have a negative impact on developing leaders in our organizations. When budget are facing cuts one of the first places they look is training, a lack of training funds takes away opportunities to send leaders to leadership training. Education and training are crucial to leadership, not everyone has the natural ability to lead so it has to be developed. Manpower issues and retention are also going to impact opportunities for leaders to gain leadership positions within the Department. You don’t need a title to be a leader but you do have to consider the rewards to leadership by obtaining a promotion.

Moving forward into the future there are many things that we as leaders will need to focus on and that will challenge our leadership abilities.