The Twelve Principles of Leadership: Principle Five

During a twelve-day period of time, I will be posting daily one of the Twelve Principles of Quality Leadership followed by some questions you, as a leader, may wish to ask yourself.

Hopefully the description and inquiry will cause you to think about how you lead and what you may need to do to improve your leadership.

 And don’t forget to post some commentary. It can be a learning process for us all.

Welcome aboard!


Systems, Leadership, and Teams




A leader’s job today is different.  It is challenging and gives us opportunity for personal growth because it has such new opportunities.  Being an effective Quality leader is being a coach, a teacher, student, role-model and, most important, a champion of the new philosophy.  We are in the business of helping people develop and experience personal growth.  Our employee’s goal is to deliver a quality service to our citizens by being responsive and sensitive to those citizen’s needs.  We can model this behavior by being responsive and sensitive to our employee’s needs.  All this can only be accomplished in an atmosphere of trust, honesty and openness.  Part of this process is honest feedback.  An honest feedback system is essential for the creation of a quality organization.  Feedback is for the improvement of the receiver.  It is not designed to make the giver feel better by venting.  Venting is sometimes necessary, but don’t mistake it for feedback.  Leaders have consistency of purpose — a vision as to where they are going.  Leaders develop the competency of their people.  They are committed.  Their employees know where they stand!


a. What is coaching?  What is the difference between telling and coaching?

b. Can you think of a time when you were coached to do better. How did you feel?  Why?

c. Which is more difficult, giving or accepting feedback?  Why is that?

d. How could your workplace become more open?

[From The New Quality Leadership Workbook, by Couper and Lobitz. To be published this year.]

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About improvingpolice

I served over 20 years as the chief of police in Madison (WI), four years as chief of the Burnsville (MN) Police Department, and before that as a police officer in Edina (MN) and the City of Minneapolis. I hold graduate degrees from the University of Minnesota and Edgewood College in Madison. I have written many articles over my years as a police leader calling for police improvement (for example, How To Rate Your Local Police, and with my wife, Sabine, Quality Policing: The Madison Experience). After retiring from the police department, I answered a call to ministry, attended seminary, and was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. At the present time, I serve a small church in North Lake (WI), east of Madison. Sabine and I have nine adult children, eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. She is also a retired police officer and we both continue active lives.

3 Responses to “The Twelve Principles of Leadership: Principle Five”

  1. A leader’s job maybe different today; however, many of them are still acting like they are from the 19th centuary/early 20th century. Furthermore, the leaders should have been doing all this stuff you are talking about even though their jobs was different years ago.

  2. For me a leader’s trait should include genuine intention and selfless motive. An effective leader is a good follower, I do believe this. Moreover, I like your article. Thank you for sharing.

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