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.

mmJake Stoll

It’s nice to see that in agencies large and small, rural and urban, state or local, we all tend to have the same challenges. I do think that we are on our own as a profession though, with respect to other careers. We have seen a push by some administrators to try and adopt leadership principals, core values, and mission statements from the private sector and can’t figure out why the square peg won’t fit into our round hole. We are a unique entity and need to understand ourselves as such. Sure, there are plenty of pieces and parts to other organizations outside of policing that we can certainly use, but we need to have a greater understanding of how they will fit into what we do instead of just scratching our heads as to why our 4Q sales weren’t up 2.5%.

Leadership vs. Management is another common leadership problem that I see. Our promotional processes seem to put managers into supervisor positions more often than leaders. Administrators seem to select those who will blindly go along with what they want, instead of putting people in those roles who will challenge, and therefore validate, what goals have been set. As Ellis and Javidi said in their 2015 article in Law Enforcement Today, Blitz leadership: Directing values today, “Managers who are not with the plan should speak out in the development of the plan with top executives. Courage is a process of leadership.” We don’t like to use the term conflict as a positive, but seem to give it a negative connotation. In reality, conflict allows for an environment in which ideas are either validated and sold through salesmanship, or scrapped for a better, more broad-viewed approach. We need more conflict in law enforcement administrations.