Blue Flower

It is well known that Policing offers tremendous challenges to all that are involved in its function. The eclectic and dynamic nature of the occupation sometimes exposes practitioners to distress, disaster and crises that may be unimaginable to the majority of the populace. Helping our people deal effectively with the toxic nature of policing is a complex affair, but is a key responsibility for all leaders in the service. Resilience has a very clear and important part to play. But we need to know how it works and what the implications are for our leaders; what do they actually have to do? I have mentioned previously that it isn’t about the ability to somehow psychologically profile one’s directs, but to have the aptitude to know your employees well enough to spot when things are not right, and to intervene quickly and effectively. Unlike other occupations, it is not a practice our leaders will never use. Policing provides an abundance of stressful situations, and you could argue that it is not a question of if, but when? We all have a point where it all gets too much. What is important is that if we don’t spot the signs ourselves, help is at hand; hopefully in the form of our management. Techniques of resilience can lead to buffering the toxic effects of stressful situations, and I have written about Thinking Errors in previous blogs. But these ‘self help’ tips ought to be supported by effective leadership, and managers creating the right working environment where workers can experience meaning and purpose in their working life. We know that when work is meaningful employees perform well. Developing this argument, we could assume that Policing is a meaningful occupation that brings good to our community. Therefore, there is some other intervening factor that spoils the status quo. This could be an external factor related to pay or conditions, but it seems the more common observation is that the spoiling factor is poor leadership. Good leaders motivate their people by engaging and communicating their own values authentically; both in word and action. They are emotionally intelligent, caring and professional, which of course ought to be the make-up of police employees in any case! Good leaders will recognise when our resilience is waning and will intervene effectively to help. They will do this, not for reward or recognition, but because it is the right thing to do. 

Smiley faces and unhappy one

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