Are You a Quality Leader? Do a Check Up: Part I

images-2The following are principles 1 through 3 of the 12 Principles of Quality Leadership.

I suggest you use them in this way: Read the principles and deeply look at yourself and your department. Then answer the questions.

What have you learned?

What are you going to do about it?




Teamwork is working together. Working to solve crimes and conduct investigations as well as resolve problems which arise at work or in the community. It is helping each other, being one team. It is taking pride in our collective achievements. It is belief in the ability of the group over anyone’s individual effort — that is called synergy. We should try to do our work with teams whenever possible.

  • In what situations have you used teamwork in your organization?
  • What are some situations you haven’t used teamwork and should have?
  • What is it that prevents you from working in teams more often?
  • How can you overcome those barriers?


Use the problem-solving process: identify the nature and scope of the problem, seek a number of alternatives that will solve the problem, choose the best alternative, implement the chosen alternative, follow-up on its implementation (correct, if necessary, to make it better). Too often we use our emotions or feelings to choose a course of action. This principle encourages the use of data, figures, information and facts to drive that decision-making. Soliciting input is not data – it is important but let’s not call it data. You should know the data tools; how to gather data, how to show it graphically, and how to look at variation of data. Let data do the talking. When employees ask for new things or ways of doing things encourage them to use data to support their recommendations — not use of power (We have all decided that…) or use of feelings (You know this is the better way of doing that…). Collecting data is using statistical tools to understand, bring into control and improve a process. Using data will help our decision-making because we will be able to answer that extremely important question — How do we know this is true?

  • Can you think of instances when you have witnessed data being used instead of emotions to make a good decision?
  • Think of a problem that is confronting you now. How can data be used to resolve that problem? How could that data be visually portrayed?
  • When problems are presented to you, what are some data-related questions you can ask?

This is a commitment to ask your employees about what the key decisions are in the workplace. They may be staffing levels, assignments, transfers, or taking time off. Whatever they may be they are things that the EMPLOYEES feel are decisions on key matters; not things you or I think. The commitment is to ask before these decisions are made. It does not mean that you have to do what your employees believe you should do. (This is a very important point in the principles: our commitment is to INPUT; we may, in fact, do what our employees want, or we may choose to delegate to them our authority to make the decision, or we may simply take their input under advisement, but we promise to ASK them before we make the KEY DECISIONS.) Key decisions are the 3-5 things in the workplace that are very important to workplace satisfaction as defined by the employee.   They may be determined either by individuals or by groups of employees. Key decisions should be discussed and an agreement reached as to what constitutes these key decision areas. Leaders should then agree to ask for employee input on these key decision areas before they make any decisions regarding them. Employee input does not mean decision making by taking a vote without group discussion. It is the power of group discussion, hearing everyone’s point of view, understanding and deliberating, which makes group decision making far more effective than one person’s decision or a group of individuals voting without discussion. When employee input is requested it should be clear at the beginning of the process HOW the decision will be made and WHO will make it.

  • What are the key matters (decisions) in your work unit that you, personally, wish to be able to have input on?
  • Why are leaders sometimes hesitant to seek employee’s input? Is sharing authority (or power) losing something or could it be gaining something?
  • How would you encourage an employee (or employees) to continue to give input after you did not follow his/her previous advice? What would you say?

These principles and much more can be found in The New Quality Leadership Workbook For Police, by David Couper and Sabine Lobitz ($20.00, published in 2014 and contains over 201 pages).