Leadership is embedded in almost every aspect of human life. For instance, in policing, the style of leadership that a leader chooses will determine how their subordinates will perform. A recent case in California, which involved the former police chief of the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department Lee Baca and his subordinate Paul Tanaka had to resign due to allegations of obstruction of justice, conspiracy and excessive force, which resulted in abuse in the Los Angeles jail system. Apparently, most police officers only know the authoritative style of leadership, which is at times detrimental to the police force. Since the police department is undergoing a transition, the type of leadership style should be a crucial aspect of that change. Here, I discuss the organizational management theoretical perspective I favor as well as the kind of leadership style that I feel is most efficient in a police department.
The organizational management theoretical perspective that I feel is best is the contingency approach. The reason is that it requires police leaders to adapt to particular circumstances of their environments. Kucukuysal and Beyhan (2011) articulate that the driving force behind achieving goals is the external environment. The theory has its foundation on the belief that organizations should achieve particular goals. For example, in the police force, some of their goals might include crime control. In police departments, there are some situations where leaders might be lenient, and in some authoritative. In my opinion, what matters most is that leaders guide their subordinates in a manner that they get the job done and the coordination of activities is achieved. A police force will be productive and efficient if they can adapt to any situation. Since police environments keep on changing over time, contingency approach is the best to use to ensure the basic flow of tasks.
The type of leadership style that is best to use in a police department is transformational leadership. The reason is that it primarily focuses on people-centered approach. Broadly it enthuses, influences, and empowers their subordinates. Transformational leadership in a police department can be useful because the leader often encourages open and communication and exchange of ideas among their subordinates. Even so, in a study conducted by Sarver and Miler (2014) on police chiefs in Texas, findings revealed that transformational leaders are the most effective since they are open minded, confident, and energetic. The leader is always comprehensive and considers individuals unique needs, motivations, and skills. Also, leaders tend to ask their subordinates what they can do to make them more efficient at their job. For instance, a leader who is in charge of patrol officers may want to incorporate transformational leadership. The reason is that most of these patrol officers encounter a myriad of issues while on duty, and they want to communicate with their commander in case any problem arises.
Overall, police leaders ought to encompass a shared vision, problem-solving skills, engender organizational commitment, care for subordinates, and drive management change. With the right styles of leadership, police leaders and the department as a whole will thrive. From a personal perspective, that is the reason I encourage the transformational type of leadership and contingency approach to manage and administer police organizations. On the real sense, the style and quality of a leadership can impact the behavior of police officers entirely. The community can see results when police officers do not undergo pressure or stress from their leaders. However, as I suggest the transformational type of leadership, which does not mean that police leaders have to be soft and lenient. Instead, they can consult with their subordinates and employ authority in cases of emergency.
Kucukuysal, B and Beyhan, E. (2011). Contingency Theory Approach for Effective Community
Policing. Journal of Social Sciences, no. 23, pp. 259-268.
Mary, B. Sarver, Holly, Miller, (2014). Police chief leadership: styles and effectiveness,
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, Vol. 37 Issue: 1, pp.126-143, doi: 10.1108/PIJPSM-03-2013-0028
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