Lessons for Leaders from the Policing Frontline
Leadership is demanding and challenging. How do leaders cope? How do they remain fit and strong, and thrive? The authors of Leadership Resilience, a business school academic and a police officer, suggest that many challenges faced by leaders are similar to the challenges experienced by police officers. The isolation; the pressure not to show personal emotions; the expectation that they will deal effectively with confused, frustrated and angry people; and that they can deal with delivering bad news; all contribute to the pressures bearing on leaders and police officers everywhere. The authors argue that these challenges are more pronounced in policing and so more readily identifiable than in other leadership situations. They explore challenges experienced by police officers, look at how they cope with them, and draw lessons for those undertaking leadership roles more generally. Leadership Resilience provides accounts from police officers, in their own words, of difficult experiences they encounter. They describe their feelings about what was important and how they coped with it. Each account is followed by an analysis highlighting what is discussed, and not discussed, in the accounts and identifying lessons that can be drawn by leaders in other situations. All is presented so that it is relevant to different cultures demanding different styles of leadership. Analysis of the engaging experiences featured will help leaders struggling with the gap between leadership education and capability and the demands made of them to survive and thrive, while maintaining their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Dr Jonathan Smith is a Senior Lecturer at the Lord Ashcroft International Business School at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK, where he has led a number of innovative master’s level leadership and HRM programmes. Externally, he also coaches and supports leaders and HR professionals. Smith has experience in public and private sector organisations. He was a Director of Studies at the UK National Police Training and Development Authority and his PhD explored the relevance of spirituality within police training. Smith is widely published and a co-author of MisLeadership (Gower 2010). Dr Ginger Charles has worked as a police officer in the United States since 1986. She has recently retired as a sergeant from police work after 27 years of service. Charles received her PhD from Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center in the field of Health Psychology. She now researches health risk factors in the law enforcement community.
’Leadership with integrity and effectiveness has always been a major challenge, and never more so than in the global crises we face today. Leaders need resilience, and editors Jonathan Smith and Ginger Charles are in a prime position to enlighten us on its importance and how to build it. With a focus on the police service, who are so often walking the boundaries of society, the authors provide us with vivid narratives and practical ways of moving forward to meet challenges with purpose and inner strength, through experience and reflective practice. I welcome the holistic approach, bringing mind, body and spirit together to lead people into the future.’ Peter Gilbert, Emeritus Professor, Staffordshire University, UK ’Such a rich collection of powerful case studies on resilience amongst the police. Immediately, by using the reflections and questions, I could see the learning and application to Principals in FE Colleges. The editors' approach to understanding spirituality in the workplace is clear, insightful and opens the territory more widely. A refreshing, practical and thoughtful contribution to leadership in the public sector.’ Lynne Sedgmore CBE, Executive Director of the 157 Group of FE Colleges ’A compelling book, bringing together the personal and very affecting accounts written by police officers, with analysis of these accounts. The analysis - like the best literary criticism - helps us return to the police narratives with new eyes, and learn even more from them. The police service, like most professions, can be dominated by accounts of efficiency and effectiveness. Yet real police officers can be driven by personal motivations, a sense of purpose or duty, a commitment to care. Resilience is indispensable, as the police face life and death experiences, and social pressures - from colleagues and from the public - tempting them to a combative or cynical approach to their work. Smith and Charles show how the police account for their lives and caree