Earning "The Right to Lead" With Character and Courage

Right to lead I have been thinking a lot about leadership and what it means. In my view its about inspiring others to work toward a common goal. That goal of policing in my view is simply helping others. Protecting and serving those we have sworn to.

As cops this can at times seem very difficult. Difficult because somehow through all the good we in law enforcement and security do, those we help get lost in the negative side of law enforcements job. We get lost in the negative side of the job. We do much more than arrest bad guys and tell people what to do. We do much more than use force and enforce the laws to accomplish our protect and serve mission.

We do, save lives, deliver babies, solve family problems, neighborhood problems, render first aid, give advise, council kids and grownups and stop most bad things from happening to others through the work we do. Its a leaders job to keep that message alive and well throughout the ranks.

John Maxwell's new book The Right To Lead: Learning Leadership Through Character and Courage is a short read with a powerful message. A message that often times gets lost in the tough things we have to do and how those tough things are reported.

In the preface of the book John asks the question, What gives a man or woman the right to lead?

It certainly isn’t gained by election or appointment. Having position, title, rank, or degrees doesn’t qualify anyone to lead other people. And the ability doesn’t come automatically from age or experience, either.

No, it would be accurate to say that no one can be give the right to lead. The right to lead can only be earned. and that takes time.

  • The kind of leader others want to follow
    • The key to becoming an effective leader is not to focus on making other people follow, but on making yourself the kind of person they want to follow.  You must become someone others can trust and take them where they want to go as you prepare yourself to become a better leader, use the following guidelines to help you grow.
  • Let go of your ego
    • The truly great leaders are not in leadership for personal gain. they lead in order to serve other people. Perhaps that is why Lawrence D. Bell remarked, “Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things, and I'll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.”
  • Become a good follower first
    • Rare is the effective leader who didn’t learn to become a good follower first. That is why a leadership institution such as the United States Military Academy teaches its officers to become effective followers first, and why West Point has produced more leaders than Harvard Business School. 
  • Build positive relationships
    • Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. that means it is by nature relational. Today's generation of leaders seem particularly aware of this because title and position mean so little to them. They know intuitively that people go along with people they get along with.
  • Work with excellence
    • no one respects and follows mediocrity. Leaders who earn the right to lead give their all to what they do. They bring into play not only their skills and talents, but also great passion and hard work. they perform on the highest level of which they are capable.
  • Rely on discipline, not emotion
    • Leadership is often easy during the good times. It’s when everything seems to be against you, when your out of energy, and you don't want to lead, that you earn your place as a leader. During every season of life, leaders face crucial moments when they must choose between gearing up and giving up. To make it through those times, rely on the rock of discipline, not the shifting sand of emotion.
  • Give your power away
    • one of the ironies of leadership is that you become a better leader by sharing whatever power you have, not by saving it fall or yourself. You’re meant to be a river, not a reservoir. If you use your power to empower others, your leadership will extend far beyond your grasp.

This is a great book that will help guide you in your responsibilities and duties of protecting and serving on the street and back in the squad room, as well as in life. In law enforcement leaders come in all shapes and sizes and are of all ranks. Leadership is the crucial factor that builds trust within an organization and throughout the community. Trust is the lubricant that  keeps things fluid and develops the cohesive environment necessary to accomplish our mission.  I recommend you read  The Right To Lead: Learning Leadership Through Character and Courage.its lessons are well worth heeding.

Stay Oriented!

Fred .