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

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The following are principles 4 through 6 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?

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THE TWELVE PRINCIPLES OF QUALITY LEADERSHIP (Principles 4-6)

  1. BELIEVE THAT THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF WORK OR SERVICE IS TO ASK AND LISTEN TO EMPLOYEES WHO ARE DOING THE WORK.

As supervisors and managers we do not do the frontline work. We depend on others to do the job of responding directly to the customers; the citizens of our city. It has been a long time since most of us have performed this job. Therefore, we depend on the men and women who do this job to tell us what they need to do get the job done. As bosses, one of the most important things we can do for our employees is to ask them what they need and listen to what they have to say. Listening is the difficult part for those of us who have spent years learning how to tell people what to do. Active listening is a skill that can be learned and developed. Using the inquiry process, which is asking the right questions, is also a skill that can be learned. Quality leaders refrain from telling; they ask the right questions, How do you know that? What have you learned through this effort? What kind of help do you need from me? The power of this is that an individual comes to his/her own solution with the help – not direction – of the leader. Listening and questioning are important skills to develop as a supervisor or manager. Employees want bosses who are willing to listen and we need employees who will honestly tell us about what’s going on.

  • What are the characteristics of a good listener?
  • How do you know when someone is really listening to you?
  • Why do leaders need to ask and listen?
  • Why is listening such an important leadership skill?
  1. STRIVE TO DEVELOP MUTUAL RESPECT AND TRUST AMONG EMPLOYEES.

How do we develop respect and trust in the workplace One of the keys is to do unto others as you would have them to do to you. People want to be respected and trusted. Bosses who show respect and trust have respected and trusted employees. We must come to the workplace with the basic belief that our employees deserve respect and can be trusted — that’s why we hired them in the first place. For example, when checking out a complaint regarding an employee there are ways to do it which may not compromise the respect and trust of the individual involved. In many cases, our attitudes have a more lasting impact than our words or the processes we use. Our employees have a right to know what’s going on, when the process has been completed and what our findings are. In every case, except those in which a serious, dismissible offense has occurred, we want to correct and rehabilitate employees and get them back to duty. We must all be committed to driving fear out of our workplace.

  • What would be a first step we all could do to increase trust in our workplaces?
  • How would your employees know you respected and trusted them?
  • How can you assure accountability to the public and maintain our integrity without creating fear?
  • What are the goals of a disciplinary system? Does your current system meet these goals? If not, why? And what can be done?
  • Are there other ways or systems you could use to achieve the above goals? What are they? How could you use them?
  1. HAVE A CUSTOMER ORIENTATION AND FOCUS TOWARD EMPLOYEES AND CITIZENS.

A customer orientation and focus means that we listen to our customers. Customers may be citizens, elected officials, employees, or interest groups. As supervisors and managers our direct customers are our employees who provide service to their customers — the citizens and taxpayers. Listening and being responsive to citizens is our goal. There are, of course, a number of parameters — the law, ethics, and budgetary constraints. In this new era of community policing listening to the customer is a vital part of the job. It is a change. Professionals today do not have the exclusive market anymore of knowing what is best for their patients, clients, or customers. Today, people want to be heard and participate.

  • Who are your customers?
  • Who are persons in your organization who could consider you their customer?
  • How could you get honest feedback from your customers?
  • How could this make your job easier?

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).