10 Essential Traits of a Police Leader

The most effective and efficient police leaders focus their attention on developing a rewarding and respectful culture, rather than a culture of blame and punishment. If you are ready to further your policing career, here are 10 essential traits that you need to become an excellent police leader and foster a rewarding culture within your police force.

Don’t Let Power Go to Your Head

Your position doesn’t define your leadership skills and it doesn’t mean you are suddenly “better” than anybody else. This is where many police officers fail and are quick to learn that they don’t know everything just because they are now in a leadership position. Those who are able to admit their mistakes (see below) and believe their role is enhanced by their colleagues will go far. If you work well with others and keep your head below the clouds, then you are already on your way to becoming a great police leader.

Stand by Your Values

As you will probably have seen through your own police leaders, an essential trait of a police leader is a strong sense of values, as well as a strong moral compass.

To be a good police leader, follow these two rules:

1. Have your own values and beliefs, moulded from your own experience working within the police force and your own personal values – these are what make you special and unique.

2. Be sure to stick by your personal and professional values, ensuring that your ethics on how you want to be treated and how you treat others is always followed. This will be shown throughout your time as a leader in how you behave and react to situations.

Remember to Say Thank You

These are two simple words that can go such as long way. If you thank people for the work they have done, not only will they feel respected, they will also feel valued. This doesn’t always have to be in the way of a spoken thank you or an email; be sure to thank your team in other ways, such as getting the morning coffee round. Check out these great ways to show appreciation for your employees if you are looking for a little inspiration for the future.

Admit Your Mistakes

Winston Churchill once said:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

This means being able to admit your mistakes and learn from them, rather than shy away from them. Shying away from your own mistakes does not show a strong moral compass and isn’t how a leader should behave. When you first step into your role, you are going to get things wrong – this is inevitable.

It is how we learn and grow from these mistakes with a smile on our face that gets us noticed and boosts the team’s morale on a bad day.

Become a Mentor/Coach

A good police leader should be a mentor or coach to their peers, allowing others to reach their full potential.

As a mentor/coach your role will involve:

· Teaching others to take over your position, it isn’t about being competitive, this is about being able to help others reach their own goals.
· Being able to help your team set their own interpersonal goals, identifying their strengths and weaknesses
· Praising and providing constructive criticism Those who can mentor others into leadership will likely find themselves climbing the ranks. This police program can provide police officers with the skills they need to become a leader in the police force, including how to become a coach.

Be Able to Hold Others Accountable

Becoming a leader in policing also means being able to make tough decisions when needed and having the ability to hold someone accountable for their actions. This means you can’t be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings, or you will lose your leadership authority. People make mistakes and it will be up to you to determine who is accountable and resolve any conflict that may be occurring within your team. You should be able to do this in a respectful way, following your code of conduct and never through degrading another.

Become an Expert in Delegation

One of the biggest traits a leader needs is delegation. This means you can hand over roles to those who are most suitable for the task, stepping in only where there is a gap within the skill level or knowledge of the team. Never allow your ego to take over a project – this isn’t about just you; it is about your whole team. Think about who is really the best person for the job. Sometimes it might be you, but often there will be a number of competent police officers to take the project.

Set Interpersonal Development Goals

You should always strive to be the best you can be, and this means always setting your own development goals. A great leader can see their own strengths and weaknesses and is able to work on these.

This could be anything from:

· Improving communication
· Improving your motivational skills
· Seeking out opportunities to advance your skills such as through online courses or study days
· Becoming more approachable

We all have our own flaws that we need to work on, and a good leader is able to admit this. This handy website can give you a head start in figuring out what you need to work on and how you can begin to do so.

Be Forgiving

The policing culture can be unforgiving at times and therefore we need policing leaders who can forgive and forget. We all make mistakes and there are times where we are so very wrong and someone else is right. Don’t just be forgiving; ensure the victor knows you are forgiving them and help them to get noticed. A forgiving culture would be great news to many police officers.

Accept the Influence of Others

As a leader, you should always be looking for chances to grow and learn. This means taking influence from others rather than assuming you know everything or criticizing another for their values or beliefs. If you let yourself open up and listen to others, you may just find that you learn a lot about yourself and your team.

Climbing the ranks in the police force requires many special traits. Becoming a leader in policing can be difficult, but furthering your education can provide you with both the skills and confidence to one day reach Chief of Police, Staff Sergeant or Detective.

Thanks to Zaklina

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