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

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    • #4588
      Anonymous
      Inactive
    • #4804
      Kenneth Kollmann
      Participant

      You don’t have to hold a title to be a leader; a person can look to a veteran officer or operator and see how some take charge and lead younger Officers and also set a good example. All the leadership traits we ask of our leaders can be found in many veteran Officers who hold no formal supervisory positions.

      • #4807
        mmMajor Ed Allen
        Keymaster

        Do you think that a newer or younger officer can also be an unofficial leader to those more senior or experienced than them?

      • #5922
        Jeffrey Brown
        Participant

        In my experience you don’t need to hold a title to take a leadership experience. Some team members have leadership traits, training ans experience that will make them rise to take on leadership roles in the teams. As younger leaders rise up there must be some natural selection, key leaders must sometimes be replaced by better candidates. I believe this is necessary for the team to continue to improve, because we are never good enough. Healthy competition is the key to improvement.

    • #4811
      Kenneth Kollmann
      Participant

      Yes they can, but only if the senior and experienced operators have an open mind and let down any egos; for example a combat veteran new to the team may have some good ides for IA drills or range drills.

    • #4818
      mmJuan Gonzalez
      Participant

      Personal power is more important than positional power. I think if an officer is knowledgeable and experience in the position he doesn’t have to hold an official title. My team leaders in my regional team don’t hold official titles but they are good leaders.

    • #4823
      mmWayne Griffin
      Participant

      I know for a fact that you don’t have to hold a title to take a leadership position. I’ve seen it before. I’ve seen Capt’s and Lt’s take orders from a junior officer because that junior officer may have more knowledge, intel, or background with dealing with certain situations. I have also seen a officer that came from another agency and would have more experience than the supervisor he works for, but they work great together.

    • #4864
      David Allen
      Participant

      This is a question that I’m answering on my Capstone Research project. I strongly believe that you do not have to have title to be a leader. Every member of a SWAT team should be trained to be leader not only on the team but at their agency. When situations turn bad quickly members of SWAT are called upon to manage a scene either from a command post or operationally in order to restore some form of control until everyone else arrives. For example, I took great pride when a Watch Commander reached out to me and told me that one of my younger guys (Deputy Sheriff) was paramount to resolving an armed barricaded suspect situation quickly. The Watch Commander asked his advice during the situation and the suspect was taken into custody and all patrons evacuated at a hotel without further incident prior to our arrival.

    • #4869
      mmMichael Reiss
      Participant

      Positional Power vs Personal Power:
      Positional power comes by the very nature of your title. It is understood by all and never needs to be stated. Throwing your title around or operating as if nothing else matters but your position (“I am leading this organization, so you have to listen to me.”) will definitely come back to haunt you.
      Personal power is reflected in the way you “show up” and treat your employees and customers. It is about building relationships that result in authentic engagement.How you lead your team, how you treat people, has everything to do with personal power.

    • #4906
      Anthony Kies
      Participant

      Absolutely not in any shape or form. Leadership can be delivered from any range of people within an organization.

    • #4987
      Brian Jucket
      Participant

      No. There are some excellent leaders out there that either choose not to take a title or have not had the opportunity to hold that title yet. I have some individuals who work for me and within my department who possess the ability to lead and have shown there abilities on more than one occasion.

    • #5001
      Mike Radford
      Participant

      Absolutely not. Peer level leadership at the line level can carry as much respect and have as much effect on motivation and performance as any “titled” position.

    • #5008
      Jason Edwards
      Participant

      I agree with the above responses. You do not need to hold a title to take a leadership position. Some of the strongest and most influential leaders in my career have been peers. They were senior officers with a lot of training and experience which gave them a lot of competency. As a result, officers looked to them for guidance and advise when on the job. We did as they did. Regardless of whether they wanted to be leaders or not, they were. I also agree with David Allen. They way it works at my agency, the first SWAT officer on scene of a critical incident assumes tactical command of the incident. More times then not, this is an officer who holds no official rank but again has the tactical competency so they assume the tactical leadership role for that incident until others arrive.

    • #5024
      Jesse Laintz
      Participant

      To be a leader it does not require a title, there are many leaders without titles. Leadership is not about titles it is the ability to influence people. John C. Maxwell has stated this by explaining, “Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another.” A title may give a leader the ability to have more influence because of the power they are given, but the power is the gateway that allows a leader to become influential. Power, in and of its self, does not guarantee influence because it is relational and the perception of the follower. If a person acts on their title of ‘leader’ and expects followers they are acts with coercive and legitimate power, thus not a leader. A true leader has the power to influence others by satisfying their needs and goals.

      I don’t want to make this a religious discussion; but, several great examples of leaders without a title are Saint and Nun Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jesus Christ. Each had prolific groups of followers that had a significant impact on the world, none of which had a ‘title’.

    • #5049

      No, a title gives you authority but does not make you a leader. Leaders are who they are because of the traits they possess and how they behave regardless of their title.

    • #5150
      mmRyan Leavengood
      Participant

      Absolutely not. Leadership is a two way street, one can lead up and we all know one can lead down. One should always be striving to be a leader, whether they’re a first year officer or a salty sergeant. Positively influence those you can regardless of your position and environment.

    • #5207
      mmRian Shea
      Participant

      Simply put, No. Often times, leaders may find themselves in a situation where their capabilities are limited. At my agency, people with titles will solicit tactical advice from members of our team, who are not people of rank within the agency. In these instances, team members are asked to lead other agency members through a critical incident because of their experience. People with rank should look to those around them with such experience and use it for a successful resolution.

    • #5210
      William McReynolds
      Participant

      I think to some degree, it may be common for people to see leadership and the holding of a leadership title to be synonymous. Personally, I don’t see it that way, and tend to view myself, other Law Enforcement Officers and many others as simply being at varying levels or steps into a leadership “walk” or path. As we continue down that path, as in life, hopefully we have learned the critical lessons, have gained more experience and find ways to utilize that knowledge for the next time we are tested. So, no, I don’t think a title is necessary to lead (which we know involves persuasion and/or the influencing of human behavior), but I do of course recognize the importance of the authority that is vested within a (leadership) title. That said, and with all due respect to the authority of a leadership title, nothing has taught me the idea of leading without title more, than being on-scene in the early phases of a barricaded suspect or similar tactical event, with a supervisor that is not well versed in such matters. I have seen this on more than one occasion, where I have not only learned this concept myself, but have watched the leader with title/rank also learn the importance of seeking out that referent expert in order to successfully negotiate the incident.

    • #5249
      mmDerrick Coleman
      Participant

      No, not at all. A big part of leadership is who you are as a person. When you possess these attributes they aren’t easily suppressed, they will shine through. Your colleagues, your leadership will take notice…..sometimes that can trigger negative responses, however that’s a whole different discussion. There is no title needed to take a leadership position, command presence, knowledge, drive, willingness to act, or know when not to act, and your actions on a scene or in an emergency situation.

    • #5255
      mmGlenn gordon
      Participant

      I don’t believe you need an official title, per say. You can be a leader merely by your actions, presence, or the way you carry yourself. The most senior guy or girl on the team don’t always have a duty title matching their level of expertise. I’ve heard it referred to as being a sled dog. Team members who have found their niche within the organization and are completely satisfied with where they are. They don’t necessarily have the drive the team to fill a team leader role, but are no less competent to perform the duty if the need arises or tasked. Basically, these members rather run with the pack then lead it, and you need people with that mentality. If you have an organization that routinely rotates senior leadership through your teams so they can gain experience, you need to have that base. You have to have those members who are knowledgeable, and can speak intelligently about your team, its mission, and capabilities. Although they may not “officially” have a team leader role, they are still subject matter experts and their opinions shouldn’t hold any less value.

    • #5307
      mmJon Brambila
      Participant

      I do not believe a title makes you a leader and I do not believe that you need a title to be a leader. I have been around so many great people in my life that were great leaders but held no official title and I have seen the opposite as well. Leadership is about leading people and those who believe that their title makes them a leader often fail, the opportunity to lead is a gift and should never be taken for granted.

    • #5342
      Corey Odell
      Participant

      A Title does not make a Leader. Leaders can have titles and often do throughout the course of their careers, but it is definitely not a requirement. Leaders are those persons who by the strength of their character and personality cause people to follow them. Some leaders do not even realize they are leaders until confronted with it by one of their leaders who recognizes what to look for. Some of the best tactical leaders in today’s special operations law enforcement world hold no other title than Operator the same as everyone else, however they are the ones everyone else looks to when needing direction or motivation. They are the ones who are the glue that hold teams together and garner successes rather than failures. If law enforcement management would put more emphasis on developing and retaining leaders and placing them in “official” leadership roles the law enforcement community would not only be more successful but would garner more respect not only from our peers but the communities that we serve.

    • #5347
      mmRick Ryan
      Participant

      I believe Leadership is an attitude and approach rather then a position. I often find that those chasing titles frequently miss the importance of experience, expertise, and bonafides. I can still recall the names of the senior officers on my first patrol assignment who were leaders every single day despite lacking a title or official assigned position. I learned more from these officers than a vast majority of the in-service training. While leadership responsibilities can come with a title, the ability to lead does not.

    • #5374
      Jeffrey Brown
      Participant

      Many lessons I learned as a young Ranger have stuck with me. In my experience, you don’t need to hold a title to take a leadership position. Leaders will rise to the occasion in the absence of competent and competent “titled” leaders. In a best case scenario, a “titled” leader sees that he is not in the best position to call the shots. I have experienced this while on patrol on scenarios that are or will turn into SWAT call outs. Shift supervisors will routinely look to lower ranking SWAT officers and simply say what do you need. As a shift supervisor I don’t hesitate to let a patrolman who is an accident guru take charge with my support. On my team, like many, department rank does not necessarily mean title or leadership role on a SWAT job. Those that have shown competence and competence, as well as the trademarks of a combat leader rise to the leadership positions. If they lose the drive to excel, replacement is inevitable. As I said in my last post, development of subordinate leaders is key to future success and I think strong leaders that challenge their subordinates make the entire team and organization stronger.

    • #5414
      Sean Wallace
      Participant

      When I think of informal leaders, I think of the backbone of the team. The backbone of the team is usually an individual or individuals whom are the guys whom are looked to as leaders within the team or organization. They are the individuals that have been there done that. They have the required knowledge, skills, and abilities and then some. These individuals are not necessarily the senior guys either. These are the individuals that have the pulse of the team. Their authority comes from the team members themselves, not from the organization. These individuals are vitally important to the success of the mission and the organization. As a formal leader, it is my belief, you must embrace the informal leaders if you want to be a successful leader. While they don’t hold an official title, they have a great deal of influence and power within the organization.

    • #5418
      Marc Wewee
      Participant

      No, you do not have to hold a title to take a leadership position. Young officers and operators can lead and veteran operators who are not team leaders most definitely take leadership positions.

    • #5473
      Josh McDonald
      Participant

      No, you do not have to have a formal leadership position to take a leadership role. Some of the most effective leaders are team members who are informal leaders. They have earned their position with their knowledge, skills, abilities and dedication to the goals of the team. These informal leaders are best at directing a team’s culture, values and work ethic. Informal leaders fill a very important role, especially when there is a transition of formal leaders (a new sergeant or lieutenant). It is also important to understand when informal leadership is not appropriate. There are times when formal discipline is required. This should always be done with a formal leader. The formal leader should also recognize the value of the informal leader but understand the responsibility of the department and the officers always rests with the formal leader.

    • #5481
      Adam McCambridge
      Participant

      No, you do not need to hold a title to take a leadership position. In a perfect world those who take a leadership postion without title and are successful will ultimately obtain the title.

    • #5488
      Ryan Cunningham
      Participant

      Tiles are great and people will follow the orders of people because of a title. The ability to lead in no way requires a title. Just take a short review of history and you will find numerous times where just an ordinary person was able to step up to the challenge and lead. Look at flight 93 on Sept 11th, regular passengers who held no title over others, stepped up and took on a leadership role and by their actions saved unknown lives. Leadership is about motivating and inspiring.

    • #5576
      mmDrew Leblanc
      Participant

      First of all leader is not a title; so to have to have rank to be a leader is non-factual. Leadership can be built from the ground up, regardless of title, but having a title may push people to become better leaders. I did not fully understand the importance of leadership until I became the Deputy SWAT Commander. You can be a leader on shift and on scene, but to be truly responsible for individuals is a different story. I have become a better leader with rank, but that does not mean it always has to work that way.

      LT. Drew LeBlanc MACJ, Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office

    • #5638
      Max Yakovlev
      Participant

      Title or rank has nothing to do with this. It does help in certain situations but its the day to day grind where it counts the most.

    • #5772
      mmMichael Diehl
      Participant

      Unequivocally NO.
      I rely heavily on the impact and effectiveness of informal leadership. Encouraging your people (regardless of time and rank) fosters growth, trust and confidence. It’s wise to set your informal leaders up for success and then to recognize it publicly. Failure from time to time is inevitable. If you have delegated your authority to an informal leader, be sure to own the outcome yourself. Failures become training opportunities, not condemnation.

    • #5790
      mmJeremy Lorenzo
      Participant

      Absolutely not. You do not need rank or a title to take a leadership position. I believe that leadership is the ability to influence behavior
      and anyone can influence behavior if they chose to. Good supervisors go to those individuals who have that ability to influence other’s behavior and use that to their advantage. There is always “that person” who others look up to or are influenced by who are not supervisors. The real trick is getting “that person” to lead others in a positive way. We all know that it can certainly go the other way as well.

    • #5791
      mmChris Eklund
      Participant

      No. Leadership is a trait more than a position. Even someone in a group of brand new team members can hold be a leader. Within the team, they are not given title, but for that group of individuals they are looked at as the leader of that group if they exhibit leadership traits. Leaders possess influence and can be looked at to ensure missions and tasks are completed.

    • #5921
      Anthony Kies
      Participant

      I believe that more so than not, as unfortunate as it seems our leaders do not hold a title. So to answer the question it would be a no. Holding a title such as Lieutenant is given to you from another higher ranking person. This is where you would hope that you were selected because of your leadership abilities but as we see in many different professions sometimes the best leaders are those who hold no title. The biggest driving force to our multi-jurisdictional tactical team is just that. Many operators who hold no rank yet present themselves to the rest of the department in a way that they are respected leaders and do what they can to help others and minimize complaining with in the organizations.

    • #5929
      Tim Fite
      Participant

      Absolutely not! I have seen and been a member of tight units where everyone can fall into a leadership position at any time, depending on the incident. Take for instance my current assignment. When I send out the deployment order, I will have unit members coming from all over the county and who ever arrives on scene first has a full laundry list of tasks that need to get moving before the rest of the team arrives. knowing the tasks, and being able to get things going is in itself leadership.

    • #5961
      mmDrew Williams
      Participant

      No I don’t believe you have to hold an official title to take a leadership position. There are formal and informal leadership roles any individual may assume. Often both have demonstrated strengths and weaknesses. I believe all to often we assume the one who holds the formal tile actually is the one leading when many times it is actually the informal leader who has the most influence and impact of the team, assignment or situation.

    • #6021
      Don Almer
      Participant

      A person does not have to hold a title to take a leadership position.

      I feel that a title in a law enforcement organization has been earned through some process / skill / aptitude that can be measured, identified and most likely tested. An example would be a “breacher lead” on our tactical team. Just from the title one would infer that this operator knows something about breaching and is the point-of-contact for breaching issues.

      A leadership position can be filled by at a moment’s notice by literally anyone. That leadership position’s creation might have been a necessity due to a dynamic situation (an officer assumes a leadership role by coordinating resources responding to an active shooter, for example) or that leadership position may be something that is an untitled role, but still readily apparent (a veteran supervisor that assists newer supervisors in learning the job and all it entails, for example).

      Providing leadership opportunities to personnel is imperative for the continued development of personnel and the agency… and none of it requires handing out titles.

    • #6022
      mmMike Ligon
      Participant

      Not at all. I feel that as you see team members on your team grow you should be encouraging them to step up and be as involved as they can be with the team as a leader. Everyone has a job on the team but everyone should also have a voice. During trainings it should be encouraged for members to be placed in the TL role during situations to give them the experience so that they can understand the position and to also help them grow as a leader. When we have new members come on the team we like to take some of the guys that have two years or more, who are not in leadership positions on the team, to take on these new members as their “SWAT Bubbies” and show them the ropes. It starts with them showing the new members how to put their kit together to helping them with grasping tactics while standing by waiting for their next turn at building entries with the team.

    • #6072
      Lance Bolinger
      Participant

      I have been placed in a unique situation where my SWAT Team went through 10 different SWAT Commanders in the ten years I have been on the team. There were a lot of causes behind each one of the changes that I do not want to go into, but what it did was created informal leaders on our team without any rank. One of those informal leaders, was a friend and mentor of mine who spent over 20 years on SWAT. During that time, he led officers by showing them the right way to conduct tactical operations through instruction and demonstration. SWAT Members like this are the backbone of the team, and he had done more to lead the team in the right direction than any of the Commanders.

    • #6078
      Denny Perkins
      Participant

      Just because leadership and titles commingle, they do not necessarily auto-define one another. The difference is expectations. A title comes with an expectation of leadership, whereas leadership does not need a title.

    • #6107
      mmJeremy Hyle
      Participant

      A title only makes someone an “official” leader. There are unofficial leaders on every call, on every shift in every agency in the world. Anyone can take a leadership position regardless of rank, title, tenure or experience. In the lack of action, the newest guy on the road can step up and start giving commands to coordinate others. I teach all of my deputies on my shift and all of my operators on my team to have a broad understanding of leadership and decision making as well as the concept of operations that way they can start making decisions and taking lead before team leaders or the team commander arrive on scene. Or my deputies can ensure their decisions on calls align with the vision of the agency and the mission statement. This also prepares them for their next level of leadership in the agency if they choose to take that step. The title of the leader is the official person who has the last say or where the buck stops, but anyone can be a leader and everyone should be trained as unofficial leaders.

    • #6110
      mmJacob Taylor
      Participant

      Sometimes leadership is about stepping up when a decision needs to be made quickly and taking action. Luckily, the guys I work with are not only capable, but willing to do this when necessary. Rank or not.

    • #6116
      mmBrian Behrend
      Participant

      I don’t believe that you have to have a title to take a leadership position. Throughout my years in the military and law enforcement, I have watched individuals that have no title giving them a leadership position step up time and time again. I have seen guys that came out of the military with tons of experience come into law enforcement. When the situation was chaos, those individuals stepped up and became the leaders at that time. A title doesn’t make you a leader. Your actions and how you carry yourself are what will make you a leader.

    • #6123
      mmShawn Wilson
      Participant

      Position/Title has never meant that one is a leader. This is clearly observed everyday when we see patrol officers taking decisive action in complex and dynamic situations. These officers do not hold “titles” within the agency but when placed into chaotic situations they achieve great things and show true leadership.

    • #6150
      Heath Clevenger
      Participant

      You do not need a title to be a leader. Leaders are often not noted with titles. They are the examples, they are providing knowledge, they are the “go to” guys. They naturally take charge of situations that appear to be out of control. The titles usually come after you have already been leading for quite some time.

    • #6152
      mmKevin Coggins
      Participant

      You do not have to hold a title to take a leadership position. Officers experience and willingness to act in a given situation make them informal leaders and people will follow them. I was an informal leader for years before I had a title to go along with it and now in my new role I really appreciate the good informal leaders I supervise.

    • #6157
      Randy Pollard
      Participant

      I think your leadership actions should start before you take any titles. In law enforcement, you are often thrust into situations that you have to get under control before you can report back to supervisors for guidance. When recruiting for SWAT we have to look for those individuals who can easily make those decisions. As operators, you have to be able to take charge of dangerous and dynamic situations without regard for rank structure. You don’t have the option to wait for others to get there and tell you what to do. These are the people we seek out here to become SWAT Operators.
      The Title never makes the leader.

    • #6212
      mmAaron Springer
      Participant

      Leadership is developed from experience, founded in character. This is true of someone in, or not in, a leadership position. There were several comments outlining examples of successful leadership behaviors of people who are not in leadership positions; critical incidents and training/instruction. I agree with all who stated that a title does not make a leader. Behavior and performance are key to establish an individuals credibility so that he/she is accepted as a leader within the context with which he/she is trying to lead.

      Unfortunately, all organizations are not structured to allow for an officer to lead up through the chain of command. This is especially true during the initial crisis response phase of a critical incident and junior officers, who are SWAT members, try to provide recommendations to patrol supervisors.

      Rank does not make a leader, however, at times, rank provide the credibility necessary to give an individual a leadership voice.

      An example, as silly as it sounds, is administrative issues. I have assigned SWAT officers tasks, only to hear they are not being responded to. Once Lt. Springer makes a call, the problem is solved. I have to remind myself the environment of every SWAT member is a LEADER, is not common practice throughout my organization.

    • #6228
      mmSam Betz
      Participant

      Most often, you do not need to have an official title to take a leadership position. I have seen many circumstances where the titled leader would actually follow the informal leader that was put in place by the group. In some circumstances though, it does help the leader if they also have the title so that they are recognized by peers and superiors for they title as it pertains to communication and development within the organization. And so that the leader can continue to work for the benefit of his subordinates when speaking with his/her superiors.

    • #6248
      mmJake Stoll
      Participant

      Obviously we are all in agreement here. I personally take great pride in the fact that I hold the rank of Officer, and have for 20 years. I like being the example that this is the case. While it does provide some logistical challenges as far as job tasks and duties go, I think I have a more profound influence on the agency. There are no ulterior motives. No trying to set myself up for promotion. I have nothing to gain from the additional leadership tasks and roles I take on, except that it is what I believe to be right and the best course of action for my agency. Other people see that and tend to follow. There is a deeper level of trust and buy-in. Some administrators do not like this, as it may weaken their “authority”. It is easier to manage an agency when they follow an organizational chart without any outliers.

    • #6270
      mmJacob Noltze
      Participant

      This appears to be an obvious answer, no. Position should never mean that the person is now a “leader” and more often than not it is demonstrated through their actions that they are relying on rank. I believe leaders are made but not through position but knowledge and experience, not just in the job but through their entire lives. Not all leaders have position, nor do they need it.

    • #6271
      mmBrian Bomstein
      Participant

      I do not think that titles are essential when it comes to identifying if someone is a leader or not. In the absence of a “leader” in supervision such as a SGT/LT/Chief ect, you will see informal leaders rise from the patrol. Sometimes they can be very influential but not necessarily good for the organization. For example a toxic and bitter officer can severely undermine management. I believe that this will rot the agency away from within and greatly reduce moral.

    • #6297
      Brian Lord
      Participant

      Position, title and authority are often confused with leadership. We often read news reports that refer to anyone with a title as a “leader”. However, leadership is not an actual position or title. Whether you’re the president of a country or a chief executive officer, your title does not make you a leader. All a title does is make you a senior executive. Whilst position and authority provide you with the potential to lead, it does not make you a leader. You don’t suddenly become a leader just because you have a fancy new title. In fact, you don’t need a title to lead. Every day you can find examples of people with fancy titles that fail to demonstrate leadership. Leadership happens when people allow you to influence their lives. It’s only when your influence causes people to work towards a shared vision that you become a leader. Leadership is more about influence and relationship than it is about control and giving orders.

    • #6324
      Diana Clevenger
      Participant

      The simple answer is no. I have been super blessed by two beautiful young children, a boy 6 and a girl 5. If you view the leadership journey through the eye of small children you can see; influence, trust, follow through and charisma are leadership characteristics that matter even in children.

      Children do not generally have positional leadership. Yet more than one leader exists in the playground, classroom and in sports. In careers people take leadership when a title is not present. Those roles are based on personality, experience and training. Confidence comes from within for some but has to be developed by mentors, coaches and peers for others.

      Developing people around you to be leaders takes trust, confidence in the mentor and a willingness by the mentee. A title allows hierarchical decision making when necessary but compliance, buy in and vision often come from front line employees.

      • #6641
        Nick Sprague
        Participant

        This is a great point, one that I have never even considered until you mentioned it. Having two children of my own I see it with my oldest all of the time, although it becomes border line dictatorship at certain times.

    • #6400
      mmJohn Atkins
      Participant

      The answer to this question is a resounding no. Certainly, quality leadership from a titled position can affectively impact any group or organization in a positive manner but informal leadership, organically grown, can have significant impact on an organization. We have all read about or experienced some level of Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership or transformational leadership in action. The most important nature of these examples is in their reciprocity of leadership sources. From leadership they create and nurture new leadership from the ground up. The budding or tenured leader on any level of an organization that has been positively impacted by an environment of empowerment, accountability, and expected growth can assume titled positions based upon their leadership reputations they exhibited as they grew in the organization. So non-titled leadership is essential to a healthy organization so it can face new challenges throughout the years

    • #6407
      Adam Bradford
      Participant

      Absolutely not! I have been in many positions, where without a “leadership title” have still been looked to as a leader, or someone many people approach for assistance with accomplishing a certain task. When it comes to leadership, the title is the least important aspect. If a person is able to take charge, make decisions, and convince people to follow them, they are a leader in my book.

    • #6552
      Denny Perkins
      Participant

      Titles often put people into leadership positions, but they do not make leaders. I have young guys on the team who do not hold a title but assume leadership roles when necessary. I enjoy watching them seek knowledge and gain the respect of their peers and supervisors.

    • #6566
      mmClinton Price
      Participant

      Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, I feel we select our best leaders from title-less positions. You stand back, and watch the team as a whole, and you will most certainly find the leader emerge among them. It is the one without the title that leads naturally. It is he who we should be looking to for our future.

    • #6640
      Nick Sprague
      Participant

      Not at all. As a leader I understand there will be certain situations where I need to defer to a SME for him/her to take the lead in order for the objective to be successfully met. It is our job as leaders to recognize these informal leaders and not let pride get in the way when the time comes to defer to them, even though they don’t have the title.

    • #6653
      mmSam Betz
      Participant

      You do not need to hold a title to take a leadership position. Leadership is constantly proven through your actions, regardless of what title you hold. Leadership should be earned, not given. I have seen repeated situations where “subordinates” lead supervisors and on our team a person who shows exemplary competence, confidence and character are eventually propelled into a leadership role.

    • #6767
      Coleman Morrell
      Participant

      Definitely not. In fact, demonstrating leadership prior to promotion should be a pre-requisite for a Leadership Position. When reviewing applicants, I am always searching for evidence of ownership, coaching, and responsibility. You don’t magically gain leadership skills via promotion, so look for those who are already doing the work without the pay increase.

    • #6782
      mmChris Lapre
      Participant

      Absolutely not. I have seen some of the best representation of leadership from those who were not in those positions. Because you hold the title of “leader” doesn’t magically make people follow you. Those who take on successful leadership roles are often humble, decisive and take accountability for their actions when wrong.

    • #6796
      mmBilly Downey
      Participant

      Informal leaders are the best in the Agency. They are the ones that truly hold power and influence, not because they have a rank or title. Informal leaders have earned the respect of their teammates because they show others what they know by how they do it. Just last month at training, my TL repeatedly had to correct a small error the entry guys were making. Then one of the informal leaders, the “old guy” that everyone respects said basically the same thing the TL had said. Difference was he brought the whole team together and said it once. The rest of the day, the guys were on point and didn’t make the same error. Leadership at its finest.

    • #7237
      mmRyan Moore
      Participant

      The best type of leadership is earned by gaining the respect of our peers. A leadership title can be given to someone for many reasons. Some agencies give titles based on highest scores on tests or because a person interviews well. The leaders that earn the position or title by proving themselves to others around them will be followed more closely than someone who was given a position based on other criteria. Someone who is already good leader but does not have the formal title can validate their leadership with knowledge, showing respect to others, and by their work ethic. Those leaders who can lead before earning a title will continue to be followed and be respected more when they do gain that title.

    • #7326
      Jon Thompson
      Participant

      Not at all. Some of the best leaders were nothing more than the senior officer on the shift whom others wanted to emulate because of their work ethic and morals. I have often learned more from these types of leaders than the formal positional leaders.

    • #7395
      mmBrandon Ince
      Participant

      You don’t have to hold a title or rank to take on a leadership position. An individual may hold the attributes, qualities and skills that are ideal for a position of leadership and not hold title. I have several squared away senior officers on my platoon that are examples of what we are discussing here. They model and mentor how the newer officers should do the job. They are not asked to do this and don’t get paid extra, but their actions put them in a “unofficial” leadership position if you will.

    • #7428
      Matthew Self
      Participant

      Absolutely not. The word “leader” is a subjective term. While it does refer to an assigned position, such as a supervisor, it is also based on a multitude of personal characteristic or environmental factors. While it could be an assigned position; it could be based on factors such as knowledge, experience, ability, or political saavy.

      Sometimes, a person might become a leader because they are the only person who has the ability to do so at the time. Often times, the first responding officer to a critical incident becomes the leader, even if they lack the experience or personal qualifications of other officers. Since they are the only ones with the intimate knowledge of what assets are needed and where they are needed, they take the position of leader until assigned leader can take command.

      Leadership could also be deferred by an assigned supervisor. For example, as a shift supervisor, I make it known to my subordinates that I expect them to take complete control of their investigations, even if I am on scene. I simply act as a reference guide, asset coordinator, and mentor; only stepping in as needed to prevent their actions from failing. By doing so, I expand my subordinates’ ability to act without need of supervision and open my own leadership capital to handle the other problems that are bound to occur during the workday.

      Sometimes, based on the formalities of the organization, it is possible for someone to have leadership characteristics so strong that they become the true leader over an assigned position. For example, early in my career I was reassigned to a rural district in my county. I had a fairly inept Sergeant who was able to maintain his position as he didn’t actually do anything that would allow him to be fired. However, I also had a zone partner who was extremely experienced, knowledgeable, motivated, and an amazing ability to communicate with others. As a result, he became the de facto leader of our shift. This leadership imbalance was so noticeable that even our Lieutenants and Captains used to communicate with him as if he was the ranking officer of the shift.

      In conclusion, leadership is a fluid concept and a person who is a leader is constantly shifting.

    • #7475
      Vincent Upole
      Participant

      No, we have formal (those who are designated leader by title) and informal (those who designated leader by their peers). I’m sure we can all think of an informal leader in our ranks. The senior officer who can lead by his/her knowledge, experience, and years of service but may not want a promotion. We also have leaders who are promoted and who possess those same qualities. However, you don’t necessarily have to possess those same qualities in order to gain a promotion (ie because you got the promotion doesn’t mean you’re a good leader). I guess to sum it up, great leaders can come in any form, at any rank…. regardless of your title.

    • #7484
      Bill Elbert
      Participant

      I agree with all of the students who posted before me: leadership or the ability to influence others to achieve a goal does not require a title. Titles give authority but the power to lead is based on an individual’s ability to motivate and inspire others.

    • #7562
      Max Yakovlev
      Participant

      One does not need a title to take a leadership position. Leadership is not about title or rank..its about helping others get better. Its about helping them grow and learn.

      • #7615
        Corban Davis
        Participant

        Max,

        Well said, I like the part about helping them learn and grow. Truly that is what a good leader should focus on.

        Corban

    • #7566
      Shawn Combs
      Participant

      As previously stated, you do not have to have a title to take a leadership position. Leadership, in itself, is influencing others. Clearly it does not take a title or certain pay scale to influence those around you. It takes a true leader to influence others when they do not have a title, as there is no obligation to do so. I heard a debrief recently where there was a mass casualty event and a chief, sheriff, and lead evidence technician walked in to relieve the tactical team from the gruesome scene. They all walked in aghast at the sight. When the team leader walked up to them and asked who was in charge, the administrators (although they held the position) just stood there. The little evidence technician stepped in front of them after several seconds of their stunned silence and said, “My name is ________ and I’m in charge of the evidence….so I guess it’s me.” While the title may help gain compliance; sometimes begrudgingly, it is not needed. We see this in our everyday lives. I’m sure everyone has that one officer who, good or bad, holds great informal authority at the agency without having a title above officer or deputy.

    • #7577
      mmChristian Rogers
      Participant

      From my personal experience, you do not have to hold a title to take a leadership position. Many operators on our team do not hold an official leadership position but take up leadership roles and act as mentors to many of our newer operators. This not only applies to being on a SWAT Team but can also apply to positions on the road with senior officers assisting junior officers during their first years on the job.

    • #7614
      Corban Davis
      Participant

      No, you do not have to hold a title to take a leadership position. Many informal leaders make the best leaders of any given squad or team. Although liability will typically fall upon the individual with the “title,” leadership in itself does not require a title.

    • #7642
      mmFred Payne
      Participant

      No. A good leader does not have to have a title to exhibit great leadership qualities and characteristics. Many times, the actions of a good leader are observed by peers and supervisors, which results in obtaining an official leadership title.

    • #7688
      Thomas Carroll
      Participant

      No. Generally speaking there is no requirement to hold a title to take a leadership position. Unfortunately there is also no requirement for the holder of a title to be a leader. A person who demonstrates good leadership traits and possesses subject matter experience can overcome title obstacles and get the job done. SWAT specific, our collateral duty team checks its department rank at the door. Our most tactically competent leaders regardless of rank are placed in leadership positions and it has served us well.

    • #7756
      Shannon Cantrell
      Participant

      No you do not. Leaders can be developed but I also think that leaders are born with certain traits that others do not have. If the people with the titles sometimes would take time to listen to their true leaders I think that they would be more successful in their jobs.

    • #7757
      J.J. Cole
      Participant

      No, and titles do not make a leader. In fact a sign of good potential in a leader, is the presence of humility when a title is bestowed. It should humble us and we should take the responsibility seriously enough that it refines us daily. We all have gaps, leaders recognize them. The true leaders in our departments are the officers who are displaying ownership right where they are at, developing those around them and pushing the needle forward. It doesn’t have to stated, its obvious who they are. In the end, Chiefs can pin stripes and bars to our uniforms, but we have to earn them everyday from our people.

    • #7825
      Jason Delbert
      Participant

      Absolutely not, I have been in law enforcement for going on 20 years. Some of the best leaders I have ever served under have not held and title or for that matter special position. To be a leader you just need to be a good caring person who is willing to put others above yourself, you must have the knowledge and ability to lead your officers in a particular situation and the willingness to do so without hesitation. Some of the worst leaders I have observed are the ones with the highest titles.

    • #7862
      Tony Ferro
      Participant

      Absolutely not, hence why there are informal leaders. They are able to influence the behavior of others by means other than formal authority.

    • #7892
      Jerrod Olson
      Participant

      No, I feel that both in LE and in general life experiences I’ve seen a lot of incidences where things became semi-chaotic and people/ Co-workers had stepped up to the plate on taking charge in what appears to be leadership roles. Ex- my dad is a farmer and one day somebody was spreading anhydrous on the field he had worked. At some point, the operator for the fertilizer spreader must of went over something that caused a continues cloud of anhydrous to erupt from the tank. My dad quickly analyzed the situation (because he was on scene), accounted for the wind, rescued the operator and was able to safely get everybody back. It appeared as though my dad, who is known locally in the area, took on a lead role during that time of chaos even though it appeared to be a small incident.

      This is one of many examples I have seen.

    • #7921
      Jonathan Thum
      Participant

      Absolutely not. Leadership can’t be given by title or rank it is earned. Some leadership is implied by position and ultimately people will follow commands. Under crisis,which is where we are proven, True leaders rise to the top and people will follow them. The greatest leaders are those that use their position and their performance to influence the greatest amount of people. Position without performance is hollow. Case in in point throughout my career their have been officers and Sgt.’s who I would have given and done anything for based on my trust and the displayed leadership i had observed. Others with even higher rank didn’t have the credibility with me or other officers then those leaders.

    • #7952
      Jeremy Story
      Participant

      I believe that reverent leaders can be more effective than positional leaders at influencing people and effecting change. A title can sometimes even be a hindrance to getting the behavior you want.

    • #7953
      Nicholas Alamshaw
      Participant

      There are often times that some of the most effective leaders that we come into contact with do not hold a specific title that gives them the position of a formal leader. I know from my own experience I have learned more from peers who demonstrated strong leadership traits than those in a formal position. Title gives you power over someone where there they are forced to do what you say where as a person in a leadership position who is being a leader will get you to want to do something.

      • #8081
        Heath Scott
        Participant

        Great point, leadership is often a strong undefinable passion and motivation to succeed that can be infectious to others.

    • #7956
      Jon Thompson
      Participant

      Not at all. Some of the best leaders were nothing more than the senior officer on the shift whom others wanted to emulate because of their work ethic and morals. I have often learned more from these types of leaders than the formal positional leaders.

    • #7965
      Greg Arpin
      Participant

      I witnessed many people holding titles in a leadership position that others would not follow due to a lack of trust, or lack of solid leadership qualities. Conversely I have also witnessed those holding no title whatsoever be followed by many. I teach in various academies, and it seems as though there is always someone or a few people to which others gravitate toward and follow. They hold no title, but express many qualities and values such as selflessness, integrity, honor, and bring solidarity to the group. Not only do I believe you do not need a title to take a leadership position, or act in a leadership role, but it has been my experience that quite often, those who are looked as as leaders, hold no title whatsoever.

    • #8080
      Heath Scott
      Participant

      I find the more responsibility that one has within an organization the more they serve others. I don’t believe leadership is not found in an individual’s rank, it is in their example and actions, additionally, it can be exhibited by anyone regardless of profession or position. In reflecting on the question, leadership and character have been qualities closely aligned so much so that I often use them interchangeably.

    • #8083
      Ryan Qualseth
      Participant

      I agree with everyone that leadership doesn’t have to come with title, but title allows you to be in the position to take leadership of certain areas or incidents. As an operator on an operation, leadership can be shown by an officer that is highly trusted due to earned trust through competency and decision making. However, the operator isn’t going to be able to lead at the command post of certain operations since title needs to lead. The operator can influence through good logical experience, but in the end, a person with title is going to make certain decisions.
      In general, my answer is no, but with the assumption that good leadership qualities do have title limitations at times.

    • #8125
      mmJR Mahoney
      Participant

      I don’t believe title is necessary to be a leader. I believe a title can help catapult a leader and give them greater range of influence, but there are many line level officers who are great leaders. These “informal” leaders are a great asset to a supervisor. As a patrol sergeant, I cannot be on every call. These informal leaders are there to fill those gaps. They are the first to a scene and can get it moving in the right direction before I can arrive. They are able to train new officers by doing the correct things and being good examples of good policing. A good Police Department should have good leaders in all levels and departments.

      • #8258
        Michael Welch
        Participant

        JR,
        I agree. If you have a few effective informal leaders on your shift, it makes your job much easier. Like you noted, you can’t be on every call and, if you have a few trusted leaders they can cover the gaps. Also, I think these informal leaders can help other officers understand some of the not so popular decisions by the chief of police.

        Mike

    • #8187
      David Boisclair
      Participant

      I do not believe you have to hold a title to take a leadership position. I think we can all look back and identify one person we looked up to as a leader who held no rank or title. Nineteen years ago, the person I looked up to as a leader was my zone partner. He had 15 years on the job, was a SWAT member, and worked from the minute we went on duty to the minute we went off. His work ethic, drive, tactics, and willingness to teach a new guy were instrumental to who I wanted to be as an officer. Not to mention, I would have followed that guy into any situation.

      Just as the lesson spoke about, being a leader is being able to get people voluntarily wanting to follow you, not telling them they have to support you.

      • #8259
        Michael Welch
        Participant

        David,
        I’ve had a similar situation as you described. Early in my career I had one or two informal leaders on my shift that I would turn to way before looking to a supervisor for answers. Now, as ranking officers, what we need to do is support and develop those informal leaders under our command. We should listen to their ideas and their suggestions as they are the one’s who are closer to the other troops.

        Mike

    • #8200
      Jason Cannon
      Participant

      Title notwithstanding, one of the most basic ways to lead, which can be accomplished by the most junior officer, is to lead by example. Be the example in how you treat people, in your firearms skills, your knowledge of current case law, your decision making, how you handle yourself in a high stress situation and your professionalism. Those that do hold the title and are in a position to delegate sub tasks will find those that can be trusted and have the requisite skills to complete a task and can assign a leadership role for the purpose of completing the assigned task.

    • #8226
      David Boisclair
      Participant

      I do not believe you have to hold a title to take a leadership position. Titles are given, being a leader is earned. Not all individuals with titles will ever be leaders, at most they may be a boss. In my 19 years, I have been on numerous scenes that the person everyone was looking to follow was a slick sleeve deputy. In fact one incident when I was a watch commander, I relied on one of my deputies to help run a barricaded suspect incident. It had nothing to do with titles, it was the fact I knew his skills and abilities were greater than any supervisor on scene at the time. However, I do believe that titles can help when dealing with outside agencies. When one is no familiar with another skills and abilities, we tend to assume someone with rank has the skills since he/she is in that position, though many times is not the case.

    • #8257
      Michael Welch
      Participant

      A person absolutely does not have to have a title to hold a leadership position. We see it every day when a senior officer takes charge of a scene. Everyone else on scene naturally looks to them and the mission gets accomplished. These senior officers don’t need to announce to everyone they are in charge, their expert power and personal charisma naturally take charge.
      I believe the real key, is if a ranking officer can defer to the informal leader without being intimidated. If this can be accomplished, then you have effective leadership at both levels.

    • #8275
      Tony Ferro
      Participant

      No, you do not. There are informal leaders who don’t hold rank within your agency/organization who have earned the trust and respect of their peers to lead them. These informal leaders within the organization are oftentimes the best leaders in my opinion.

    • #8276
      John List
      Participant

      I absolutely agree that it is unnecessary for one to hold a title to be a leader. There are natural born leaders and those whom develop themselves as leaders. A good leader enables the development of the men/women around him and develops unifying goals that everyone can get behind. The leaders I have seen are usually good communicators and enjoy watching and helping those around him achieve their personal goals and team goals; essentially becoming a better version of themselves. Experience, intelligence, aptitude, communication, and will are various components that make a leader, not a title. I have witnessed young officers lead veteran Officers and vice versa. I have also witnessed brass that have never been leaders but hold a title.

    • #8302
      Frank Richards
      Participant

      The action or responsibility of leadership is bestowed upon someone, either through formal title by another in power or through the trust and free will of those who believe in your abilities. In a perfect world, someone in a leadership role would attain both.

      I believe that a person does not have to hold a title to take on a position or role as a leader. Leaders motivate and inspire. They solve problems, through offering guidance and direction to others. These attributes have no correlation to a title. As such, I would argue that there are many with a leadership title that may not be leaders in the sense of the word, but only through formality.

    • #8303
      Travis Kreun
      Participant

      People do not need formal titles to be leaders. Hopefully an individual demonstrates leadership ability, at a minimum leadership traits, before being selected for a formal leadership title. Management should be not only attempting to cultivate leadership qualities, but should be actively seeking these traits. Recruiting and retaining quality leaders has the potential to boost job satisfaction, as well as other benefits.

    • #8314
      Tate Kindschuh
      Participant

      Leadership does not need a title or rank to take shape. A title is something that is placed upon you, either through years of service or a testing process. This does not necessarily mean you are and effective leader. Many teams have informal leaders which can be a good or bad thing. An informal leader could be someone that other team members look up to or get along well with but they do not have an official rank. This informal leader could be a crucial asset or a cancer to your team. It all comes down to the type of influence this leader has. With positive influence, the informal leader could help keep other teammates motivated and focused on the overall goals of the department. With a negative influence, the teammate could lower morale or create “cliques”, which could destroy teams and make it difficult to reach department goals.

    • #8369
      Joshua Crews
      Participant

      True Leaders strive to be the best version of themselves regardless of rank/titles, or if anyone is even watching. Leaders genuinely want to help others around them and make their team better regardless of recognition or praise. In my opinion, true Leaders are servants by nature, and by their nature, they are trusted because of the way they treat people. Most servant leaders will be promoted and achieve formal leadership roles, but they define the roles they lead from, not the other way around. To answer the original question, no you do not have to hold a title to be a leader.

    • #8403
      mmJeremy Hyle
      Participant

      Any person can be a leader, no matter what their title or position is. It can either be someone that has the training and experience that others lean towards in a situation. Or it could be someone who is just willing to step up. There has to be official leaders in any organization, however, there also has to be unofficial leaders as well. These are the “go to” people that official leaders can lean on or go to to ensure tasks or missions get done.

      • #8533
        Colin Mulacek
        Participant

        Jeremy,

        I completely agree. the unofficial leaders are definitely needed within the organization. They are not only the “go to” people that official leaders can lean on they are the ones that help the organization buy into the message put forth by the formal leaders.

    • #8444
      mmShawn Wilson
      Participant

      Titles do not define leaders. We see examples everyday on the news of civilians doing amazing tasks and saving the lives of their fellow citizen. They held no title but they all took a leadership role in the situation they were presented with and performed in an admirable manner. Anyone can take a leadership position, it is not based on title.

    • #8463
      mmBrian Behrend
      Participant

      Leadership comes in many shapes, sizes, and forms. A title doesn’t make one a leader. The officer at a department that is always early, works hard, and conducts himself above his peers is a leader. A leader is an individual that sets the example for others to follow. Having a title doesn’t make one a leader put demonstrating leadership every day regardless of your title makes you a leader.

    • #8472
      Travis Topolski
      Participant

      Management requires a title whereas leadership does not. Management ensures tasks are completed and the actions of subordinate officers are in concurrence with policy and law. Leadership is the intangible ability to motivate those around them to do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the ability to mentor, teach, and coach those around them and have the information be well-received. The easiest way to measure a successful leader is to watch a room full of people having various conversations. When a person speaks, what are the actions of the audience? Are people actually listening? Do others enter this conversation? Do people appear to be taking mental notes? Are they nodding in agreeance? Do they return to the sender of the message at a later date and say “I’ll never forget when you said…” These are intangible actions that show a high level of respect to a person, not a title. Leaders impact people. Leaders invest in others absent an expectation of personal gain. This investment is simply for the betterment of the receiver of the information.

    • #8499
      John Hesseling
      Participant

      You should not have to hold a title or rank to take a leadership position. They are not always formally available to you without these, but we work in a profession where you need to be a leader, regardless of your rank or title. I have been formally afforded the opportunity to “lead” a multi-jurisdictional team with out rank in my own department. This poses challenges, however, a desire to truly lead others gives an ability to overcome these. A true team culture, where experience and trust is required, is needed to maintain leadership capital. This capital must be spent wisely.

      • #8656
        Edward Leon
        Participant

        This is an interesting concept, especially with tactical teams. Using leaders that do not have organizational rank can be a double edged sword, and I have seen teams do it both ways. Everything is great…..until it’s not. My team has some great talent and experience with informal leaders, and being a supervisor does not automatically mean a Team Leader designation. However, when things are not great, that agency supervisor will be the one legally responsible for the actions taken; departmentally, civilly, and possible criminally. If mistakes are made, even with good intentions, someone is ultimately accountable; this usually falls on the appointed supervisor present, even if the informal leader was guiding or making the group decisions. An example may be a team hitting the wrong door on a search warrant execution.

        Using the experience and knowledge of the informal leaders must be balanced with the legal appointed authority of the person with the title in the team dynamic.

    • #8519
      Diana Clevenger
      Participant

      There is no need for a title to hold a potion of leadership. The expression leadership at all levels is true even in the school yard. From a young age children decide who sets the rules for a game, who determine who is int he game, what the outcome is for winning. A leader in a law enforcement agency is established some by the individuals hired and some by the culture of the organization. Is the leader developed, coached, celebrated for leading or are they isolated, kept out of the group. I have had the privilege during my career to supervise professional staff and sworn staff. IN multiple assignments the professional staff employee had great influence over the culture and work product of the team. In one environment the employee was stellar, held herself and others around her to high standard, made all of the work about the mission the team and morale was high and productivity was good. In a similar work group with a professional staff member who was toxic the work stalled, employees (officers and professional staff) were disenfranchised. Once the bad leader, even a administrative staff member left, morale improved. Morale courage to lead through challenges and do what is right by your cops, your community and your City is always the right way to lead.

    • #8524
      Nick Godwin
      Participant

      A title has little to do with the ability to lead. The only requirements to be a leader is someone who is willing to step up, take the initiative and people are willing to follow that person. A leader with no followers is just a single person wondering alone. If people of lower, the same or higher rank are willing the follow someone, now they are a leader, regardless of formal rank or title. Most people will only follow someone they trust will keep them on a path they feel safe going down. Building trust to follow takes time and a proven track record before they will be considered a leader.

    • #8529
      Colin Mulacek
      Participant

      You do not have to hold a title to be a leader. There are two types of leaders; Formal and informal. Formal leadership usually comes from possessing a title that tell people you are in charge and informal comes from the respect you receive from your knowledge, experience, and the ability to demonstrate that. The ones that show the informal leadership should be the ones that eventually become your formal leaders. It is important to have the informal leaders within an organization when they buy into the mission it makes things easier to accomplish.

    • #8566
      Diana Clevenger
      Participant

      Sadly, many people who hold leadership positions are not leaders. We all know people who are in various roles in the organization who are the actual leaders. Regardless of the title or certificate of leadership training you have acquired, some people would not follow a positional authority across the street. While there are others who have grand followings and hold no formal leadership role in the organization. The best thing for any positional leader to do is to recognize and embrace the informal leaders within the organization. How did they gain that status, why do people follow them? Every person has the ability to take a leadership position, children do it, the line level employee at a your favorite coffee shop represent the entire company and you in any role have the ability to lead.

    • #8567
      Francis Rego
      Participant

      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.

    • #8573
      Nick Sprague
      Participant

      A title is just that, a title. I have often deferred my leadership role to a subordinate who is more qualified to handle the situation and in most cases, it happens naturally because of that person’s already established informal leadership role. It is our job as leaders to stress the importance of informal leadership to strengthen our teams and to develop them into formal future leaders.

    • #8655
      Edward Leon
      Participant

      Absolutely not!! There are many great Leaders that are informal. They are followed because of their knowledge and performance, regardless of rank or position. Some people are followed because of personality and character, other’s may be more stoic subject matter experts; but both can influence other because they care for their people. Not ‘what they can get from their people’ but ‘what they can do’ for those people; and many times in a small unit it could be ‘with’ those people.

      There are many placed in positions of authority that are simply Managers, dictating direction and and accomplishing tasks by ordering others. Although this may get a job done, it is for their authority not because the employee desired to perform. Although a Leader may need to be autocratic or direct in their position for certain circumstances, most tasks would be undertaken anyway by subordinates due to the influence and loyalty developed in their relationship.

    • #8663
      Preson Pierce
      Participant

      The simple answer, “No” I don’t believe you have to hold a title to take a leadership position. Leadership comes in all forms and styles and nowhere on the list is a title to give them “official leadership.” To be in a leadership position often means you hold some type of standard or knowledge and/or held in high regard by people around you. Standards can be the way you present yourself or how you hold yourself accountable (integrity), how you treat other people (respect), and the dedication you show to the job (hard work / determination). Knowledge can be from training, education, or past experiences. All of these are what starts people down the leadership path, whether formal or informal.
      As informal leaders go about their careers, they may step into an official leadership role where they are “crowned” with a title. The challenge in those circumstances is to remain true to yourself and your believes and remember who you are and where you came from. For those informal leaders, as they go about their career, its important to remember who is watching and seeking their advise and to always recognize the importance they bring to a team. Ultimately, leadership in any position (formal / informal) is critical to the success of the mission and to the team.

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