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Police Leadership: A Learning Experience

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Police Leaders as Thinkers

Abstract

Those leaders of police organizations who have gained national and international recognition for their innovations in police work, administrative and organizational skills, and ability to handle crisis situations are not generally thought of as “thinkers” but rather as “doers.” They gain recognition for their abilities to make decisions on how to approach serious problems in the community they serve and find solutions to the problems. Often they are referred to as “natural leaders.” What is not generally recognized is that, although many do have natural leadership traits, the so-called natural leaders have generally devoted numerous years to formal education and on-the-job learning about policing before they assumed the leadership positions that led to their becoming recognized for their quality work. In this chapter, the process of learning to become an effective police leader is explored. The leaders noted for their action were thinkers first. They studied and learned about theories of human relations, organizational skills, and how to develop strategies to effectively employ the personnel and equipment used in their organizations. Many of their learning experiences were on-the-job. At times, new approaches or plans were not as effective as anticipated, while others were much more effective. The police leaders, as “thinkers,” want to not only know if something works, but the reasons why it works. They analyze the results of a project or a plan of action to be able to explain why it was effective or not effective. Police leaders as “thinkers” utilize the help and cooperation of university academics, experts in other fields, and members of the community in their decision-making process. Police leaders as thinkers also generally learn how to be effective in dealing with those they supervise and how to function in the political arena and with the public. The critical aspects of dealing with the employees of the organization include motivating them to take pride in their work, utilizing their skills effectively, disciplining those who violate the rules and policies of the organization, and handling disagreements and problems that occur among them. It is likely that the skills needed to be effective in these matters were developed and honed during the careers of the leaders before and even during the time they assumed leadership positions.

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Kratcoski, P.C. (2023). Police Leadership: A Learning Experience. In: Verma, A., Das, D.K. (eds) Police Leaders as Thinkers. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-19700-0_3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-19700-0_3

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  • Online ISBN: 978-3-031-19700-0

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