Growing Courage: The Leadership Challenge
|September 12, 2017
|8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
|Growing Courage: The Leadership Challenge
Oak Brook Police Department
|1200 Oak Brook Road
Oak Brook, Illinois 60523
|Click here to register.
I love it when people say “I could do that” about someone who is successful. See, but you didn’t. That’s the difference. I saw this picture quote on my Facebook feed this week and it got me thinking about the power of getting it done and not just talking about it. I don’t know if anyone out there suffers with the same issue as me on this—but sometimes I’m afraid to act because I won’t be in control of the outcome, or it may be messy and not “perfect”. I can control the here and now—in my safe comfortable bubble. But once I act, the ball is in motion and the horse is out of the gate. I cannot un-ring the bell.
Driving back from vacation with my family last summer I had a strange conversation with my wife. For the first time in my 28-year law enforcement career I wasn’t sure if I still liked being a cop. Let me give you a little context to help you understand exactly what was going through my mind when the uncertainty struck me.
In a wildly popular TED TALK, Shawn Achor explains that a brain that is happy is 30% more effective than a brain that is negative, neutral or stressed. Put into context, this means that when you are in a happy state of mind things in your world get accomplished more efficiently and effectively. In addition to these improvements, you start to enjoy your work in a very different way. If all these things are possible with happiness, the question then becomes; what does happy look like and how do we get there?
In reflecting on my 28 years as a law enforcement officer it’s easy to focus on the ugly, messy, dangerous things that happened during my career—especially when so much is being debated about our profession on social media and in the main stream media. But for me and the legacy I want to leave behind, I need to focus on the positives and so do you.
Legacy is often thought of as what you leave behind when you die. But legacy is something you build every day of your career and your life.
Maybe that vein in your neck bulges just to hear the question.
You’re not alone. Gauntlets are being thrown against both words. Seth Stoughton calls the warrior mentality a “Problem.” Dave Smith calls a guardian mindset the position of “uninformed activists.”
The topic cuts to the core of identity as law enforcement officers. Who are you in uniform? Who are you when you take the uniform off? Who are you at the core?
It happens to the best of us. One day, we wake up (proverbially) and we realize our actions and our words are not necessarily in line. I am not talking about extreme hypocrisy or huge indiscretions here. I am talking about the subtle ways we might not be walking our talk. The big question is; if this happens to you, will you have the courage to take the necessary action to right the wrongs?
Perfection is a lofty standard. Many have tried and failed. They have failed for a number of reasons but most of all — for being human.
Humans are fallible. What differentiates humans from all other mammals is the ability to THINK. With thinking comes error. Expecting a person to absolutely correct 100% of the time is unreasonable.
Why. A simple three-letter word that has a profound effect on people. It also carries many meanings depending upon where, when and how it is asked. The Why question is too often taken as a challenge to authority.
The attacks in Paris have once again reminded us of the pure evil that exists in this world. As American law enforcement agencies continue to struggle with a false narrative that permeates social media, law enforcement leaders need to step up and prepare for what might be. After September 11, 2001 law enforcement officers were at the center of an outpouring of support around the country. I’ll never forget how proud I felt to be part of this profession in the aftermath of those horrific attacks. I stood ready to defend my fellow officers, our communities and our country from the radical misguided beliefs that had attacked the very core of the belief system that made America great.