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

David Allen

I believe the most common leadership problem in law enforcement is keeping people focused on what they can control and not what they can’t control. Currently, the misdeeds or unethical behavior of one officer impacts the entire law enforcement community and most of the publicity surrounding law enforcement is negative. There is nothing we can do about the media portraying us in a “bad light,” but what we can do is keep our people focused on what they do well everyday when serving their community. If a citizen engages an officer in a negative conversation about something they may have seen on the news about an officer doing something unethical from another state then the officer should use this as an opportunity to show the citizen that maybe that officer was unethical but they are not. They may not listen to us at the time but instead of engaging in a “back and forth,” with the citizen and creating a “us vs. them,” situation we should teach our people to use the opportunity to make a good impression. Because we did not engage in a negative “back and forth conversation” we may leave the citizen with a positive image instead of justifying what they may have thought already about law enforcement. It may not work but it’s worth trying. This positive communication is what I always reinforce to my staff and I always take the opportunity to show them that the “big picture,” of controversial topics so maybe they don’t focus on the negative and worry more about what they can control about situations that may arise in the future.