Courage to Work Together?

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Courage in policing is sometimes more than going down a dark alley looking for a prowler. Sometimes it has to do with leadership — leadership at the very top.

One of the ways leaders show courage is to starting practicing the “Twelve Principles of Quality Leadership.” When leaders embrace the new leadership they quickly learn that being open, listening to the men and women they lead, and putting into practice the good ideas they can generate cannot be done without courage.

In Madison, I put the union president on my management team in the 1980s. The mayor thought I was nuts. Yet it paid off and that tradition still holds in Madison almost 40 years later!

When I did this it was a time of great acrimony between the union and me and my command staff. By agreeing to work together, we reduced grievances and brought harmony, efficiency, and excellence into our workplace.

MADISON POLICE DEPARTMENT GRIEVANCES (1981-1993)

  • 1981 — 5
  • 1982 — 8
  • 1983 — 12
  • 1984 — 9
  • 1985 — 15
  • CHIEF PLACES UNION PRESIDENT ON MANAGEMENT TEAM
  • 1986 — 9
  • 1987 — 9
  • 1988 — 7
  • 1990 — 7
  • 1991 — 6
  • 1992 — 3
  • 1993  — 3

Ten years ago, Madison Capt. Mike Masterson was appointed chief of police in Boise, Ida. Learning from his experience in Madison, he incorporated Quality Leadership in tHe department and put the union president on his management team. Look what happened.

BOISE POLICE DEPARTMENT GRIEVANCES (1993-2014)

  • 1993 – (5) filed with (5) going to a hearing.
  • 1994 – (13) filed with (7) going to a hearing.
  • 1995 – (5) filed with (3) going to a hearing.
  • 1996 – (9) filed with (4) going to a hearing.
  • 1997 – (43) filed with (11) going to a hearing.
  • 1998 – (25) filed with (16) going to a hearing.
  • 1999 – (14) filed with (2) going to a hearing.
  • 2000 – (14) filed with (5) going to a hearing
  • 2001 – (13) filed with (5) going to a hearing.
  • 2002 – (19) filed with (10) going to a hearing.
  • 2003 – (4) filed with (3) going to a hearing.
  • 2004 – (12) filed with (5) going to a hearing.
  • 2005 – (16) filed with (5) going to a hearing.

CHIEF PLACES THE UNION PRESIDENT ON HIS MANGEMENT TEAM:

  • 2006 – (5) filed with (2) going to a hearing.
  • 2007 – (1) filed with (0) going to a hearing.
  • 2008 – (6) filed with (2) going to a hearing.
  • 2009 – (4) filed with (2) going to a hearing.
  • 2010 – (2) filed with (0) going to a hearing.
  • 2011 – (0) filed.
  • 2012 – (3) filed with (1) going to a hearing. (city prevailed on a termination)
  • 2013 – (1) filed with (0) going to a hearing.
  • 2014 – (1) filed with (0) going to a hearing.

When we are serious about leadership and been an effective leader we will deeply and generously listen to those whom we are privileged to lead. What better way than this to fully collaborate?

Here’s what we wrote in The New Quality Leadership Workbook about our experience in Madison:

Q. What did the police officers association (union) think of [being part of the department management team]?

“The department encourages any department interested in improvement to sincerely talk with their union leadership. In the past, police managers and union leaders have tended to be confrontational in their relationships. Madison police leaders worked with the police union on mutual goals and a commitment to work out problems inside the department as much as possible (which led to a significant reduction of time and energy consuming formal grievances). Madison found that a true and authentic effort toward working together benefits everyone.” 

When you don’t spend all your time fighting among one another and, instead, commit to working together, you’d be surprised at how much you can improve things!

Leaders, do you have the courage to do this?