With the social and political climate swiftly changing in the US, law enforcement faces new challenges every day. To navigate them successfully, there is a growing need for exceptional leaders who can remain committed to serving and keeping the public safe.
If you are interested in a leadership role in law enforcement, read on to find out what key traits and characteristics you will need to flourish in this role.
Knowledge and Education
Understandably, to perform your role correctly, it’s vital that you have a thorough knowledge of the field you’re in. If you’re interested in a leadership role in law enforcement, the profession is evolving constantly, meaning that leaders need to stay on top of their game and understand the latest trends, laws, and technology. Education is key, so you may want to consider Excelsior Public Service Programs which are designed for those who want to take on leadership positions in criminal justice.
Awareness & Delegation
Regardless of the law enforcement department you work in, there is a well-specified power hierarchy you need to know about. Every department is created with a rank structure that officers must follow. If you like to lead and take control, you need to build a level of trust and responsibility across the board, as well as know how to delegate roles effectively.
A law enforcement leader always needs to be open and honest with their team. Being direct and transparent with subordinates can help build a strong reputation with your peers and ensure you perform your job to the best of your ability. Dishonesty can create uncertainty in your agency and result in a loss of credibility. For officers to thrive, they need to work in a structured atmosphere alongside leaders who have their best interests at heart.
Capability to Motivate
Responsible for leading an entire agency, a law enforcement leader must have the ability to motivate and inspire their team to work productively and efficiently. A strong leader will know how to relate to individuals of all cultures and generations and know what strategies to implement to motivate them. There will be times where productivity levels are low, so it’s your job to monitor your team’s performance and give words of encouragement.
Empathy and Understanding
As a law enforcement leader, it’s important that you care for your officer’s well-being. Each day will present different challenges and obstacles, so if stress levels have risen among your team, being empathetic towards their situation is essential. Remember, current officers will be future leaders who need support and guidance, so to be an effective leader, you need to care about them and want them to succeed both in their professional and personal endeavors.
Whether your aim is to work as a police officer, corrections officer, or private investigator, it’s vital that you possess all the skills and attributes listed above. If you’re passionate about helping the community and want to make a difference for the better, as long as you have the skills, experience, and credentials, a leadership role in law enforcement may be right for you.