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Next-Gen Leadership: Exploring paradigms, habits and the ‘thermostat effect’

Learn about the crucial need to grasp and transform paradigms, emphasizing persistent effort in cultivating habits that strengthen leadership abilities

In the sixth 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, delves into the concepts of paradigms and habits, and their impact on leadership effectiveness.

Reid explains that a paradigm is a set of habits and behaviors accumulated over time that define our current state — including our professional performance, financial status and personal relationships. He emphasizes the importance of understanding these paradigms to effectively manage and change them, highlighting the role of persistent effort in developing new habits that can enhance leadership capabilities.

Using the analogy of a thermostat, Reid illustrates how natural resistance to change mirrors a thermostat’s function — to return to a set temperature after any deviation. This metaphor serves to explain why people often revert to old behaviors after making initial changes. Reid’s insights are aimed at preparing leaders to persist through the discomfort of change to achieve lasting improvements in their leadership style and team dynamics.

Key learning points

  1. Understanding paradigms is crucial for effective leadership and personal growth.
  2. It takes a significant period, typically two to three months, to establish a new habit.
  3. Persistent effort and awareness are required to overcome the natural resistance to change.
  4. Leaders should apply these insights not only to themselves but also in managing their teams.
  5. Effective communication about these concepts can help team members navigate their own changes.

Questions for discussion

  1. How can understanding personal paradigms change the way we approach leadership?
  2. What strategies can be employed to effectively integrate new habits into daily routines?
  3. How can leaders support their team members in overcoming the “thermostat effect” when trying new behaviors?
  4. In what ways can persistence be cultivated within a team facing changes?
  5. How can leaders use their understanding of paradigms and habits to foster a more adaptive and responsive organizational culture?
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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.”