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Next-Gen Leadership: Exploring mental agility as a key to adaptive success in policing

Learn how mental agility helps leaders adapt to change, overcome challenges and turn adverse situations into positive outcomes

In the seventh 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, focuses on the concept of mental agility, a critical component of resilience and adaptive leadership.

Reid discusses how mental agility enables leaders to adapt, overcome challenges and find solutions when things don’t go as planned. Through scenarios like transitioning from paper to electronic systems, Reid illustrates the importance of mental agility in leadership, emphasizing that leaders must be able to see positives in adverse situations and solve problems effectively, rather than succumbing to negativity or resistance.

Key learning points

  1. Mental agility is defined as the ability to adapt and solve problems effectively when circumstances do not unfold as expected.
  2. Mental agility is a critical component of resilience, aiding leaders in managing challenges and responding to changes in a positive manner.
  3. The importance of mental agility is demonstrated through the scenario of implementing new technology in a police department, where it is essential for leaders to handle resistance and unforeseen issues effectively.
  4. Successful leaders are often characterized by their mental agility, which allows them to problem-solve efficiently under pressure, rather than relying solely on their knowledge of procedures and policies.
  5. The narrative stresses the importance for leaders to adopt innovation and technological advances in order to propel their organizations forward, even in the face of initial difficulties and resistance.

Questions for discussion

  1. How can police departments better prepare their leaders to develop and utilize mental agility?
  2. What are some practical exercises that could help individuals improve their mental agility?
  3. In what ways can resistance to change, such as the shift from paper to electronic systems, be constructively addressed by leadership?
  4. Can you think of a situation where mental agility was or could have been crucial in your professional or personal life?
  5. How does the concept of mental agility relate to other areas of emotional intelligence and leadership, such as empathy and decisiveness?
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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.”