NTOA Forums Tactical Leadership General Leadership Do You Have to hold a Title to Take a Leadership Position? Reply To: Do You Have to hold a Title to Take a Leadership Position?

Francis Rego

This question can be looked at from two different perspectives. Most of us will look at this question from an organizational perspective and say “no.” We are all too familiar with the common practice of taking tests within our law enforcement organizations for advancement. Study for some months, take the test, and get ranked on a list, We itch at the opportunity to look at this promotional list and begin our gossip as to “oh I’m glad he made it…good for him/her” and “oh I pity those that have to work for him/her.” What we can all perhaps agree on is that these tests do not measure how well someone will succeed as a supervisor, much like the SAT can not really measure how someone will perform in college. Holding any rank with law enforcement gives you a certain measure of managerial responsibilities, but leadership (or to be called a leader) must be earned by all of those around you.

The other perspective would hold that your title as a law enforcement officer automatically thrusts you into a position of leadership…even when it is unwanted or a burden. Take for instance the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, or the Boston Marathon bombings. When you wear that uniform you a beacon of light, safety, and hope for those that seek it in the worst times of chaos and confusion. Perhaps you may not want it, perhaps the responsibility is to great, but to those people caught in the middle of the chaos…you may quite possibly be their only hope. They may not know your name, they may never see you again, but they will trust you as the leader to guide them to safety.