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Next-Gen Leadership: Effective techniques for small issue management

Explore strategies to address small issues within police teams before they escalate, promoting a culture of accountability and efficiency

In the third 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, introduces effective strategies for managing minor discrepancies within police teams to prevent them from escalating into major issues.

Reid emphasizes the importance of police supervisors addressing these small issues, such as officers not completing reports on time or appearing disheveled, to maintain team integrity and morale.

By using a personal anecdote, Reid illustrates a technique where a leader assumes responsibility for not clearly setting expectations and outlines the consequences for not meeting future expectations, thereby promoting accountability and improvement within the team.

Key learning points

  1. Importance of addressing small issues: Small discrepancies, if not addressed, can lead to a culture of negligence and lower the overall morale and efficiency of the team.
  2. Setting clear expectations: Clear communication of expectations and the consequences of not meeting them is crucial for maintaining discipline and accountability.
  3. Leadership accountability: Leaders taking responsibility for not communicating expectations clearly can encourage officers to meet their responsibilities more diligently.
  4. Personal accountability: Encouraging personal accountability among team members can foster a more responsible and cohesive team environment.
  5. Discipline as a tool: While discipline is a last resort, it is an essential tool for ensuring that standards are maintained within the team.

Questions for discussion

  1. How can police supervisors ensure that their communication of expectations is both clear and effective?
  2. What are the potential impacts on team morale and efficiency if small discrepancies are not addressed?
  3. How can taking responsibility as a leader influence the behavior and performance of team members?
  4. In what ways can personal accountability be fostered among team members?
  5. Discuss the balance between using discipline as a tool and fostering an environment of open communication and trust.
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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.”