A New Way of Leading for the Law Enforcement Supervisor: An Adaptive Leadership Case Study

There are critical issues in law enforcement today that were present five, ten, or even twenty years ago. Many law enforcement agencies have long-standing issues related to personnel, internal affairs, promotional processes, and community interactions, to name a few common problem areas. Each agency’s leadership knows best which issues seem eternally embedded in the agency and which have solutions. Despite this knowledge, these long-standing issues continue. With this in mind, the authors of this article assert that the existing knowledge, skill sets, abilities, capacities, values, principles, and beliefs are insufficient to resolve the current issues.

If current leadership models haven’t eliminated resolvable issues—or suggest that some issues are simply inherent to police agencies—then police leaders must decide whether new and innovative ways of thinking and leading are worth the effort. It is an effort aimed at developing a way of leading that offers processes to generate creative and effective resolutions to a police supervisor’s most challenging issues. Building on the leadership abilities of police supervisors can enhance and sustain their leading with a mindfulness that develops others and encourages a culture of adaptivity.