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Next-Gen Leadership: Cultivating self-awareness for enhanced police supervisor skills

Acknowledging one’s limitations is not a sign of weakness but a stepping stone to becoming an effective leader

In the second of a 10-part series titled “Next-Gen Leadership: Solutions for Today’s Police Supervisors,” Gene Reid, Ph.D., a seasoned police veteran and founder of Reid Training Solutions, dives into the crucial concept of self-awareness for leadership in law enforcement.

Reid emphasizes the importance of leaders recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, urging them to make a tangible list to visually assess where they excel and where improvement is needed.

By sharing personal experiences and professional insights, Reid underlines that acknowledging one’s limitations is not a sign of weakness but a stepping stone to becoming an effective leader.

This approach encourages leaders to outsource tasks they’re less proficient in and focus on leveraging their strengths, thereby fostering a culture of growth, collaboration and mutual respect within their teams.

Key learning points

  1. The importance of self-awareness: Recognizing one’s strengths and weaknesses is crucial for leadership development.
  2. Leveraging team expertise: Effective leaders know how to utilize the strengths of their team members to compensate for their own weaknesses.
  3. Encouraging team involvement: Involving team members in decision-making processes boosts morale and fosters a learning environment.
  4. Admitting vulnerability: Acknowledging that one doesn’t have to know everything and asking for help when needed is a sign of strength and wisdom in leadership.
  5. Continuous improvement: While outsourcing tasks is practical, leaders should also strive to improve upon their weaknesses over time.

Questions for discussion

  1. How can a leader effectively balance between leveraging their strengths and improving their weaknesses?
  2. In what ways can involving team members in decision-making processes impact the overall performance of a police unit?
  3. How can a leader maintain authority and respect while admitting vulnerabilities and seeking help from subordinates?
  4. What strategies can be employed to ensure that outsourcing tasks to others does not lead to dependency and complacency in a leader’s personal development?
  5. How can law enforcement agencies create a culture that supports continuous learning and growth among its leaders and officers?
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Gene Reid is a police sergeant for the New Castle County (Del.) Police Department. Gene is currently assigned to the Professional Standards Unit and is highly active with the department’s officer wellness initiatives. Before being promoted, Gene was assigned to the Criminal Investigations Unit for over six years.

Gene holds a Ph.D. in criminal justice, with a specific focus on stress management and resilience. Gene also has an MS in education and a BS in public safety administration. Gene is an avid fitness enthusiast who trains Jiu-Jitsu and has completed numerous triathlons, including Ironman Maryland.

He is the founder of Reid Training Solutions and recently published “Police Leadership Redefined - The EQ Advantage: Transforming Law Enforcement with Emotional Intelligence.”