The Twelve Principles of Leadership: Principle Ten

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




This principle tries to capture the importance of progress and moving forward with a team effort.  We plan where we are going and establish agreed-upon ways to achieve that goal with input and discussion with our employees.  We help create a vision.  Our job is then to gain alignment of that vision with our practices.  We can do that by coaching our employees toward excellence — not by telling and controlling them.  Long-term goals are essential to the performance of a quality organization.  Once goals are set it is critically important for leaders to follow-up and, at least weekly, if not daily, coach employees to success.  There is a technique used to achieve maximum performance of individuals and is frequently used by athletes to capture world records.  It is called visioning, mentally picturing yourself achieving.  For example, jumping higher or running faster or further than you have ever done before!  Organizations need to create similar visions and plan accordingly.


a. Think of something that needs to be done at work; something you are responsible for.  How could a team approach be used to accomplish this?

b. What are your personal leadership goals for this year? How could a team from your unit be used to help you accomplish these goals? What measures of success could you use?


[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.

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