POLICE Magazine

SEP 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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t How Police Leaders Can Get the BEST WORK from Their Officers tive positive contributions such as following agency and work protocols, as well as avoidance of harmful or negative behaviors such as being late, taking long breaks, and misusing discretion. Our most important conclusion counters the present empha- sis on reducing police discretion and increased monitoring. We propose that empowerment should be more systematically in- troduced and supported by police departments. We found a statistically significant link between empowering leadership and the conscientious- ness with which subordinates conduct their work. We found no relation between task-oriented lead- ership and conscientiousness. Subordinates rate empowering leaders high in managerial effectiveness. By contrast, supervisors of empowering leaders do not regard empower- ment as an element of managerial effectiveness. is may not be as surprising as it seems. From our discussions with participants, we know that mid-level police officers are in frequent contact with their subordinates and the latter have a very good impression of the managerial capabilities of their boss. Supervisors of mid-level police officers have much less frequent interaction with their immediate reports and are thus more inclined to focus on the task-oriented elements of the job. In other words, the subordinates expect different things from their supervisor, than the supervisors do from their mid- level subordinates. It is enlightening to know that empowering leadership is more important for individual performance and workgroup effective- ness than task-oriented leadership. Public sector personnel, whether uniformed or not, and whether frontline workers, mid- level managers (as in our study), or higher-level leaders, all ap- preciate the trust given that comes with empowerment. Empowerment trickles down in an organization in two very important ways. Mid-level managers use more empowering practices when their immediate supervisors do. Also, subordi- nates of mid-level supervisors are more likely to voice their opin- ion about specific work practices when their immediate supervi- sor exercises an empowering managerial style. In other words, empowerment works when middle-level and senior officers lead by example. Without losing sight of the need for task-oriented re- sponsibilities, we think that empowering leadership will be hon- ored by subordinates through better performance. We also sus- pect that empowerment generally does not lead to sub-quality performance and abuse of the discretion given. Russell Hassan is an associate professor in the John Glenn Col- lege of Public Affairs at Ohio State University. His research con- cerns leadership in public organizations. Jongsoo Park is an assistant professor at Korea University in Seoul. His research concerns influence of leadership practices on attitudes, behavior, and performance in public organizations. Jos C.N. Raadschelders is a professor and the associate dean for faculty John Glenn College, Ohio State University. His research concerns role and position of government in society. He has taught mid-career middle- and upper-level public servants since the 1980s. horts since 2014. We surveyed 101 law enforcement officers about their man- agement practices. Each of them was asked to provide a list of names and e-mail addresses of five to six subordinates and the name and e-mail address of their immediate supervisor. us, 507 subordinates and 101 immediate supervisors were surveyed as well. e research reported here is based on the surveys collected of the 2014, 2015, and 2016 cohorts. e survey included questions in four groups of managerial practices: Tasks: clarifying assignments, planning work, problem-solving, and monitoring operations Relations: supporting, coaching, recognizing, and empowering behaviors Change: vision for and support of change and innovation, facilitating collective learning External Elements: monitoring of events in the relevant social environment of the town, state, nation; representation of agency in the social en- vironment, including lobbying for funding; and networking by attending local meetings and events, and partici- pating in professional associations and local clubs. LEADERS AND FOLLOWERS e "relations" category is most relevant to this article's topic. "Supporting" includes attention for needs and feelings of subor- dinates, that is, especially in the case of those who face a difficult or stressful task and those who experience challenging family circumstances. "Coaching" concerns a manager's feedback and career advice to subordinates. "Recognizing" involves a man- ager's explicit appreciation for a subordinate's achievements and work quality. Finally, "empowerment" occurs when a man- ager delegates responsibility and authority of important tasks to subordinates, thus expressing confidence in their abilities and simultaneously signaling the potential for advancement. Each participant received her/his summary report that includ- ed their own rating of performance in these four areas as well as how their subordinates and supervisors rated them. e results of the summary report were discussed with each participant. In the overall evaluation of the program and in the program's cap- stone paper the majority of participants noted that they highly valued the survey and two reasons stood out. e survey results confirmed their own assessment of their leadership skills, and it helped identify which skills could be improved. One intrigu- ing detail of the self-assessment is that the subordinates' rating of their supervisor's managerial practices was generally closer to the self-assessment of the participants in our cohorts than the rating of the supervisor was. is illustrates that subordinates have ample opportunity to observe their immediate supervisor; a senior officer has much less opportunity to observe the mana- gerial practices of their middle-level supervisors. EMPOWERMENT AND PERFORMANCE In our research, we focused especially on task performance and conscientiousness. Task performance concerns the execution of job duties and responsibilities. Conscientiousness includes ac- 52 POLICE SEPTEMBER 2018 Empowering leadership is linked to subordinates' conscientiousness. PHOTO: POLICE FILE

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