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4 Crippling Leadership Mistakes

Dr. Richard Weinblatt

The Dictator

Not having a “buy in” from the members of the organization leads to the next error of police leadership. Unable to communicate and get cooperation, the best the Dictator can hope for is compliance. While that may work in the policing styles practiced in places like North Korea, it hardly is the way to lead professional officers in a democratic society.

Having been on both sides of the desk in a variety of settings, in small and large agencies, as well as in quiet and busy departments, I have found that the role of a law enforcement executive is challenging even under the best of circumstances. While a patrol officer is second-guessed by a population that often misunderstands what he or she is doing, so to is the law enforcement leader.

In fairness, police chiefs, sheriffs, and their executive staff often come under fire and are unable to defend themselves due to a myriad of personnel confidentiality and other rules that restrict that coveted aforementioned ability to communicate. That said, leaders, aspiring and otherwise, at all levels of the organization (and everyone should be a leader whether formally or informally) should take steps to avoid the pitfalls.

While no one is perfect, non-leadership by example, poor ethics, failing to communicate, and being a dictator are fast tracks to the annals of failed leadership.

Dr. Richard Weinblatt, “The Cop Doc,” is a former police chief, ex busy jurisdiction patrol deputy sheriff, and criminal justice educator who has written articles and provided media commentary since 1989. He can be reached via

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