Psychology and Policing

By Neil Brewer; Carlene Wilson | Go to book overview

12
Leadership and Supervision

Neil Brewer The Flinders University of South Australia

Police forces are no different to any other organization in their concern for providing effective supervision and leadership for their employees. Appropriate leadership practices are considered to play important roles in the development and maintenance of productive work behaviors, positive job attitudes, and commitment to the goals and values of the police force by officers at all organizational levels. In this chapter, therefore, I attempt to come to grips with precisely what effective supervision and leadership involves, and with how police supervisors and leaders can maximize their effectiveness. Some of those issues canvassed in other chapters, especially Chapters 8, 11, and 13, are also clearly relevant to this discussion. For example, selection of those officers most capable of fulfilling the leadership role(s), ongoing careful evaluation of their performance, and the contributions made by leaders to the effectiveness of the functioning of work groups are all issues that are likely to impact on leadership effectiveness. Although there is a general concern here with developing an understanding of what determines leadership and supervisory effectiveness, there is a deliberate emphasis--given the particular focus of this book--on what leaders and supervisors can do (i.e., on precisely how they might behave) in order to improve the productivity and functioning of those individuals or work units under their control.

Examination of the nature of effective leadership is not, of course, a new phenomenon, with extensive theorizing and research over a number of decades contributing to extensive scientific and popular literatures. Summarizing this literature is a challenging task (see, for example, Bass' ( 1990) handbook of over 1,000 pages). Clearly, therefore, this chapter can only hope to convey the flavor of the major findings and spell out some of the more important implications for

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