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4 Crippling Leadership Mistakes

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

Poor Ethics

Tightly coupled with the concept of leadership by example is the adherence to high ethical standards. That is particularly applicable to law enforcement agencies where the philosophies of the top administrators trickle down to all levels in the organization.

As is well known, the business of providing police services to the community is a high-stakes activity. Temptations abound and the need for the highest ethical standards should be omnipresent. Leaders that fail to impart that philosophy, ideally by their actions as well as their words, not only fail themselves and their subordinates, they also fail the community.

Again, the message from an unethical leader, even if it is a good message, will be lost on the receiver if the sender is perceived to be operating out of the ethical bounds of the profession. The law enforcement code of ethics applies to all within the organizational chart, not just those working patrol.

While we hold the law enforcement patrol officer or deputy sheriff rightly to high ethical standards, administrators have to be held to an even higher standard. It is hard to buy in to an agency’s strict ethics when the higher ups are bending those standards for personal gain.

There is a simple check to apply to an ethically questionable scenario in order to avoid the bad ethics common leadership mistake – the Mama test. If you wouldn’t tell your mama what you were doing, it probably is unethical and perhaps even illegal.

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