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The
Law Enforcement
Supervisor’s
Leadership
Field Notebook
By
Randy Gonzalez
The
Law Enforcement
Supervisor’s
Leadership
Field Notebook
By
Randy Gonzalez
Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Ethical Considerations ---Page 1

Chapter 2 – Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance ---Page 9

Chapter 3 – Leadership and Communications Skills ---Page 17

Chapter 4 – Maintaining the Supervisor’s Edge --- Page 25

Chapter 5: Elements of Supervision and Management --- Page 33

Chapter 6: Competence --- Page 41

Chapter 7: Qualities of Leadership --- Page 49

Chapter 8: Operational Implications of Leadership --- Page 57

Chapter 9: Time, Talk, Tactics and Action --- Page 65


1

Chapter 1: Ethical Considerations:

Since supervision is such a critical task, the issue of ethics and


professionalism is essential to proper management of personnel. Leaders
cannot afford to appear unethical or hypocritical in the execution of their
responsibilities. Ethical considerations are more important than anything
else a supervisor can teach his or her subordinates. It takes courage to be an
ethical leader and supervise subordinate personnel. A day should not pass
without some mention or example of an ethical analysis of human behavior.
Ongoing learning process, in the experience of life and the workplace,
require ethical aspects of behavior. Central to this process of ethical
development is the need for professional competence. Ethics is much more
complex and encompassing than simply being politically correct or sensitive
to various aspects of human behavior. It is a profound moral sense of living
up to the duty of being a credible human being and dealing honesty with life.
As part of a supervisor’s leadership role, he or she must constantly be on
guard to provide the most effective visible example possible.
The supervisor must demonstrate strong personal ethics that express solid
values, maturity and morality to his or her subordinates. He or she must be
accountable for his or her actions. In the relationship building process with
subordinate, leaders must strive to develop competence. If subordinates act
in an incompetent manner, then supervisors must be held accountable for
such behavior. This is part of the expression of ethics and professionalism
within the organization. It goes beyond the required competence to be
effective in matters of “crime fighting”. Policing is a serious endeavor that
demands the continued development of personal capabilities in all aspects of
the job. It incorporates principles of honor, integrity and accepted traditions
for rules of conduct. These principles or precepts govern each individual
and the group as a whole. Such behavior is reflected in the exhibition of
behavior that speaks of standards and character of each member of the
organization. Each officer has a calling to display the right attitude and
express the correct character, through manner and bearing that shows respect
for oneself and those who are served in the community. The continued
development of one’s abilities, along with the pursuit of professional
excellence is essential attributes of such behavior.
2

Supervisors should ensure that the precepts of the Law Enforcement Code of
Ethics, and the principles of the Canons of Police Ethics, are a part of his or
her leadership and management of subordinate personnel. Each subordinate
officer should have a good working knowledge of the parameters by which
we define ethical considerations.

The term ethics refers to:

Principles of honor, morality, integrity, accepted


rules of conduct and a professional mindset that
govern not only the individual, but also the group as a
whole. An ethical person demonstrates such behavior
on an off duty regardless of situations or
circumstances.

The term professionalism refers to:

Behavior, attitude, demeanor and thought processes


by which a person exhibits personal confidence in his
or her chosen career field, as well as respect for the
people served by the field of endeavor. It is also
demonstrated in one’s character, including
commitment to the continued development of skill in
the pursuit of excellence.
3

Leadership requires the conscious desire and effort to encourage


and guide others. The ability to be a good leader requires
personal ethics and competence. Such behavior is often a matter
of projecting a strong sense of personal self-confidence. It is a
level of influential behavior that is a characteristic of but a
handful of determined individuals. The trained ability to
influence others, act decisively, guide and direct people toward a
goal, carry out objectives, take risks, and otherwise be bold and
daring rests in the hands of a few talented souls. A leader must
be clear, concise and effectively articulate the mission to his or
her subordinates. Once the mission comes into focus, the leader
must rally the followers toward accomplishing the mission. Not
everyone is cut out to be a leader. Leadership in the way of
supervision necessitates the ability to have a vision of where the
organization, unit, division, section, etc., should go. It is a
matter of developing the right road map, and then leading the
way from the front not the rear. Leadership must be carried out
with competent style, quality, compassion, character and
integrity.
4

Leadership and supervision relate to the essential elements of ethics and


professionalism. Such notions speak of personal and group competence.
These aspects also suggest the absolute necessity of imparting accountability
and responsibility through the chain of command to all subordinate
personnel. Within this is the leader’s responsibility to ensure that his or her
integrity is intact at all times. And, the leader must make certain all
personnel are held to the highest of standards of conduct. The interpersonal
relationships that develop as a consequence of organizational interactions
also concern the use of power by virtue of position and status within the
organization. The appropriate use of power, through effective leadership, is
a positive characteristic. It is an important ingredient in every human
endeavor.

What is power? It is the ability to make happen


that which we want to happen or, conversely, the
ability to block the occurrence of events that are
undesirable to us. More simply, power is the
ability to choose.
Power is exercised in all human interactions, but
to say that one person is “more powerful” than
another is overly simplistic. People are only
“more powerful” or “less powerful” along a
given dimension or within a given situation.
(1)

Power must be used in a humane and judicious manner through effective


leadership and management. The organization is productive and successful
because it has good leaders who know and understand power relationships.
Leaders lead by the exhibition of appropriate example. We are endowed
with free will to make good or bad choices. There are no excuses.
5

Train Hard and Fight Hard

Leadership is the first and foremost requirement


of any supervisor. It takes courage and boldness
to be a good leader. Leaders are not afraid of
taking risks when they believe they are right.
Even if it means the loss of a promotion or a
demotion, a leader is not fearful of making a
decision and standing firm by what he or she
believes. Leadership is displayed by effective
supervision in the motivation of others.
1. Planning and organizing workers through
empowerment and responsibility –
“POWER”.
2. Planning, organizing, scheduling,
staffing, directing, communicating,
controlling, reading, writing, researching,
designing, developing, budgeting, and so
forth are all parts of the whole body of
leadership activities.
3. Supervisors play a critical role at the line
level (e.g. first line supervisors) in
providing timely on-the-job training and
direction to subordinates.
4. Leadership requires adherence to rules,
regulations, policies, procedures and the
law, within what is reasonable, just and
logical and equitable.
6

Ethical Precepts
(2)
1. The fundamental duty of law enforcement is to
serve the public trust.
2. A Negative attitude, overbearing presence or
officious behavior is counterproductive in law
enforcement.
3. The display of courageous calm and self-control
are essential when confronted with conflict or
opposition.
4. The use of unlawful force, brutality, harassment,
prejudice, favoritism, and the acceptance of gratuities
for personal advantage have no place in the mission of
law enforcement.
5. Every action, both public and private must be
above reproach, and serve as an example to others.
6. The badge represents the family of law
enforcement, and is a symbol of the trust granted by
the people to a select few.
7. The law shall be upheld over personal feelings
in the relentless pursuit of justice and equity for all
persons.
8. Neither fear nor favor shall affect judgments or
decisions about any particular situation under
consideration.
9. Each act shall be based on logic, facts, sound
reason and the elemental circumstances of each
incident.
10. Duty, dedication and devotion shall serve to
advance the law enforcement profession.
7

Basic Considerations In Management


Keep in mind you are a leader first and a manger by virtue of your
leadership position. Know, do and be a good manger.
Enforce professional standards of behavior and ensure high
expectations of performance. Lead by example. Take charge and be in
“command”.
Seize the day, take the initiative, overcome and adapt to changing
environments. Become competent at making decisions. Do not be afraid to
take calculated risks.
Be creative and encourage the same in subordinates. Do not
discourage good ideas. Give credit where credit is due. Be yourself and
promote creativity.
Set clear and concise goals and objectives, and be certain everyone
understands them. Develop your own unique style and exert “command
presence”. Use proper planning to maximum advantage.
Make sure positive reinforcement and encouragement filters down
through the chain of command. Recognize and reward good performance.
Hold subordinates accountable for their areas of responsibility and
the actions they carry out. Insist that subordinates be responsible for their
actions.
Treat others with respect. Say and do what you mean. Treat others
as you want to be treated. Act in fair and just ways.
In order to gain compliance and motivation use a variety of
techniques and tactics depending on the situations and circumstances.
As a leader, you need to be on the front lines “walking and talking”
to others. You need to be involved from a hands-on perspective.
Deal with issues, concerns and problems in a forthright manner. Be
decisive and take action in a sure and swift manner.
Study, research and learn your job. Become an effective source of
information. Keep people informed.
Measure and evaluate activities to assess whether goals and
objectives are being accomplished.