Commander’s Intent

Commander’s Intent

What is the desired outcome of your officer’s daily activities? What does a successful day in the life of a dispatcher look like? What needs to happen to declare the efforts of your investigators a success? More importantly, do your people know?

Too often our folks go about their business with no real understanding of what the desired outcome is. We speak vaguely about going home safely, or delivering the best possible service, or building community trust. But, what does that truly mean? How do we know if we did it well?

Lt. Col. Hal Moore began a book on leadership later in his life. He was able to finish the bulk of the book prior to his death. In the book, Col. Moore indicated that it was his experience that mission failure was almost always because he failed. Specifically, it was because he failed to properly convey commander’s intent.

There are many today who propose that most failures in the law enforcement community are a result of poor frontline leadership. While there are certainly issues with leadership at this level, it should be noted that leading is very difficult, if not impossible, if one is unsure of what is expected.

Tell your people what the mission is, what a successful mission looks like, and how valuable their efforts are. In today’s climate, there are competing priorities – from the agency, the public, the media. Be direct, be specific, and be present. Leading means your folks can see you and can follow you. They deserve it.

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