NTOA Forums Tactical Leadership General Leadership Discuss the Most Common leadership Problems in Law Enforcement. Reply To: Discuss the Most Common leadership Problems in Law Enforcement.

Don Almer

Many great posts by folks so far and I’ll do my best to toss something different into the discussion.

I feel that one of the most common leadership problems that I have viewed throughout my career is lack of folks’ willingness to listen to / view / learn from others’ perspectives. Regardless of rank, title, position or task. As many have already commented, different communication styles, leadership styles, etc. can lead to an “us vs. them” attitude, a lack of trust, or an upsetting of the decision-making process. I feel that is important at all levels in an organization that folks are actually seeking to understand others’ points of views.

We all know that as we attain different positions or duties we do our best to learn that position or duty. And with that learning usually we get different perspectives and can modify how we do things, our opinions, etc. Has that person “changed?” Is that always bad? And wouldn’t others benefit from listening to / learning from what brought those changes about?

A simple example would be Operator A, who has been a solid operator for a several years. Things happen internally and they are now a team lead. They will see the world in a different way… and perhaps some of their new views conflict with how they used to see things / do things / etc. Without communication between Operator A and teammates, and a genuine willingness to listen to Operator A’s changed perspectives folks might be quick to dismiss Operator A as now being “different” or a “sell out” or “one of them” or whatever term is used.

I feel that if folks took the time to discuss what each other’s perspectives are, and seek understanding of what those perspectives are, a lot gets lost to simply chalking things up to those old sayings.

And as a closing note wouldn’t it be great if we all just accepted that some folks know more than us in certain areas, be humble enough to recognize that and seek to learn/understand? Sometimes administrators have no clue… it’s okay to let those that know, do. Sometimes line officers have no clue… it’s okay to say that without tearing others down.