Organizations, encompassing law enforcement groups, necessitate leadership. Reliable and appropriate leadership is vital to the triumph of any organization. Leaders seek for change in their subjects, in line with a set goal. Adebayo (2004) affirmed that leadership is a progression that not only controls workers but also leaders, to attain the objectives of the organization through effecting transformation. Leadership interlinks leaders-workers, impact, organizational goals, change, and individuals; leading engages people. Different researchers identify a leader as a person that prepares, directs, or steers people towards a joint objective. Leadership encompasses a couple of constituent sections, individual and organizational, and the triumph requires awareness of and dedication to both. A triumphant leader is one that is responsible and appropriate. In evidence-based policing, leadership has changed over the years and must keep on changing to tackle problems of the contemporary world. This paper seeks to show that the command and control leadership style is superannuated and unsuitable in the twenty-first century, with evidence in police leadership, which handles complex situations, and encounters dynamic change. These assertions have critically been evaluated with respect to traditional versus modern styles of leadership and the present business environment.
Traditional leadership practices
The UK parliament enacted the Metropolitan Police Act in 1829 with the enactment of this Act generating the London Metropolitan Police (LMP) that turned out to be a foundation for the US policing. This foundation of policing was anchored in highly centralized authority and bureaucratically managed association that was applied by the military leadership. This evidence-based policing set up a hierarchical demanding association that inspired impersonality into the system (Chan & Chan 2005). This structure of policing was initially started in New York in 1851. Studies showed that the idea of using a powerfully built central authority system was first annulled due to political, economic, and social pressure. This mode of governing had some challenges on communication and how many police were to be used.
Generally, leaders were chosen depending on their popularity and origin. The system of governance used at the early stages of the 20th century by most leaders at this time still did apply martial command in combination with systematic management. With this style of governance not much changed as those in power still had absolute power through a federal and a rigid chain of domination structure in a bid to achieve overall managerial competence. Heads of authorities were usually endorsed based on permanence and familiarity not putting into consideration their leadership qualities (Murphy & Drodge 2004).
The industrial revolution was what led to this scheme of technical management. Directors would technically build up what would be anticipated of the employees and then educate them on how to tackle their work by coaching them on the best way of carrying out their undertakings. The fall of this system was due to insufficient interest by workers. All of these forms of leadership paid more attention to bosses than the juniors. As a result, this just showed officers how to carry out their jobs instead of encouraging them to solve problems by themselves (Murphy & Drodge 2004).
Contemporary Practices in Police Leadership
Studies have shown that the current leadership practices are diverse throughout a range of police groups. Academicians propose that current police leadership practices have changed and improved. Research shows that the current leadership of police still looks a lot like an armed forces system of leadership. Researchers concur that there is negligible proof that police leadership practices are changing. The majority of police associations persist in advancing their central customs by application of chain of command and position. As a result, quasi-militaristic officers that always follow orders from their bosses have been produced. This system of governance strikes a chord to officers that they are just minors with the position in association (Murray, Prunckun & Ras 2007). Studies put emphasis on that current police leadership is reluctant to give information inside the association and seldom tolerate others to contribute in management occasions. The viewpoint of the current police leader is one of being sturdy, self-confident, aggressive, a performer, and rigid to transformation.
However, studies testify that police leadership is gradually rising from a dictatorial, federal approach that was based on intelligence, honesty, and bravery to one that clings to solidarity, participation, and joint leadership. Studies affirm that police associations are permitting more control from the bottom up and indirect management. In current situations, police management emphasizes winning the thinking of a police officer. This attitude was because of applying the perception of society policing (Steinheider & Wuestewald 2008). Studies have shown that the use of the democratic system of leadership approach has become popular because the earlier systems of command and control have undermined morale and productivity. Generally, we can say that people have different opinions on whether police leadership has actually advanced or not. Studies have brought out different systems of leadership as a bottom line of advancement.
Styles of Leadership and Theories
Styles of leadership denote an amalgamation of traits, proficiencies, and conducts employed by leaders as they interrelate with workers. In an attempt for people to choose a style of leadership, they must clearly comprehend the style with regard to its origin. Nevertheless, studies indicate that some attributes are natural in leaders. Some of the natural attributes are anchored in physical and personal traits, in addition to intelligence and interpersonal proficiencies. Daft (2005) linked the Great Man Trait Theory to the Aristotelian viewpoint, which affirmed that leaders are born and not taught and according to the requirement at hand, an appropriate leader will always be found.
There are some limitations that exist in the trait theory and they encompass managers not being brought up through their proficiencies and level of education (Smith 2008). Contrary to the trait theory, the conducting methodology anchored in the recognizable activities that contributed to the effectiveness of a leader. The other two leadership styles, job-based (duty) and employee-based (people) are elucidated in the Personal Behaviour Theories. The job-based (duty-initiating system) behavior concentrates on the leader having command in an attempt to ensure that the work is completed. The employee-based (people-contemplation) behavior concentrates on the leader satisfying the requirements of workers and instigating affiliations. Some studies demonstrate that leaders that were highly worker-based and permitted contribution nurtured more triumphant groups. On the contrary, leaders that were more focused on attaining duties fostered less successful groups.
Ginger (2004) illustrated that the notion that there existed different styles of leadership for a certain situation. However, leaders could be more successful by altering their style of leadership reliant on the circumstances that they encountered. Fiedler’s System attributed styles of leadership to being duty or affiliation anchored and the application of style relied on whether the circumstance was of leader-employee associations, duty structure, or situation power. Moreover, Hersey and Blanchard hypothesized that leadership style was established by the worker’s insights. Hersey and Blanchard’s theory gave further details concerning Fiedler’s model through the creation of four styles of leadership namely: Directing, Training, Backing, and Delegating. Employing similar directives as to the contingency theories, Murphy (2008) affirmed that the path-goal theory impacts and encourages worker’s perspectives and chances. The satisfaction of workers, attainment of objectives, and implementation of improvements could be obtained from the guidance of the manager, the coaching, and backing (Ruggieri 2009). In spite of the results from other researchers, Ruggieri (2009) differed and affirmed that situational theory concentrated on the condition instead of the intra and interpersonal aspects. The styles of leadership examined below are obtained from the aforementioned styles (Ruggieri 2009).
This leadership style is deemed job-based. The job-based (duty-initiating structure) behavior concentrated on the leader taking over in an attempt of ensuring that the task is promptly accomplished. The autocratic leadership style depends profoundly on workers obeying the command from the leader rather than the leader providing a lot of explanation or conversation. The workers are motivated via threats of chastisement or punishment. The autocratic style of leadership has some merits that encompass rapidity of project conclusion that prevents workers in the current business environment from generating options that impact the minority unconstructively, ensuring the leader is paid attention to, and enlightening workers when their performance is enviable. The demerits of this style include dissociating workers, non-advancement of workers, and convenience of application rather than round tabling predicaments. This style of leadership is best applied when an organization is under threat of not achieving an objective in an opportune manner or a disaster condition (Dean & Gottschalk 2013).
This system of leadership has a negative implication as it portrays a static leader who is reluctant to motivating and giving focus to juniors. These leaders run away from their responsibilities like goal-setting, coordination of organizational aims, and many others and leave them to juniors, which may lead to an increase of their influence. They assume workers will make decisions and solve problems in time. This leadership is advantageous as team members have a chance to develop a good working relationship in informal situations and provides an opportunity for success by solving problems individually. However, in the case of a domineering team member, it could lead to an incorrect decision made by him or her resulting in to blame game that may result in pessimism within the group (van Eeden, Cilliers & van Deventer 2008).
A democratic leader must have a revolutionary, creative, and risk-taking mindset in order to inspire workers to be a part of decision-making. Such leaders do this by meeting with them many times, listening, and having trust in them. Academicians describe empowerment as alertness of a person’s abilities. The motivation of workers is done through positive evaluations and financial rewards that boost morale. This has advantages like improved commitment and fewer refusals to police restructuring, increased performance, increased service to the community, and improved working relations just to mention a few. Nevertheless, police ranks that have caused distrust due to variations in experience and different ranks and the egocentric interest of trade unions have undermined this form of governance thus leaving them to cooperate in an only important states of affairs (Olsen, Eid & Johnsen 2006).
Studies have shown that transactional leaders are the ones that identify what they want to obtain from their chores and try to get it when operations permit it. The transactional style of leadership gives incentives and promises of incentives for undertakings. Workers are held responsible irrespective of their capability or resource accessibility. Transactional leadership theories affirm that individuals will pursue leaders that are inspirational where the leader will initiate the vision (perhaps jointly), share the vision, and guide the approach. The triumph of an organization relies on the power of the leader to strengthen the process where the employees accomplish the task. The transactional leadership style has three practices that impact members of staff (Smith 2008). These practices encompass active administration by an exemption, passive administration by an exemption, and contingent incentive.
The transactional style of leadership bears more disadvantages than advantages; this is because the transactional director is authoritative, shows high self-assurance, and is normally more absorbed in the task (Webb 2007). This style of command and control is superannuated and unsuitable in the contemporary business environment. The transactional style of leadership is suited for organizations that are under catastrophe since it provides contentment via an urgent pledge. Nevertheless, the outcomes with transactional leadership are not very promising with time. Even though the transactional leadership style focuses on the requirements of workers, it does not provide chances for gaining inspiration, work contentment, or loyalty. Normally, the transactional style of leadership is applied mainly in organizations governed by command and control systems where workers gain their rank within the organization through contest and compliance. Attributable to the failure of the transactional style of leadership (because of its command and control system) leaders in evidence-based policing that continue to operate in the transactional style have a tendency of being autocratic.
The transformational style of leadership is apprehensive of the situation as it is but ensuring there is an evolutionary transformation in organizations, in addition to service to people. Transformational leadership style can be termed as the capacity of a leader to inspire workers to outshine their personal ambitions for the excellence of the organization (Webb 2007). Transformational leaders are morally accountable and concentrate on initiating the moral development, ideals, and principles of their juniors and supporting their commitment to serve the interests of others, the organization, and the community past self-centeredness. Transformation leadership is revolutionary and hardly backs the present condition, searches chances amid risks, and tries to shape and generate instead of responding to environmental situations. Transformational leaders express a desire to motivate their juniors, set objectives, and stress social and interpersonal proficiencies.
Organizational change is the fundamental focus of the transformational leadership style. Transformational leaders must have great self-worth, self-regard, and self-consciousness to successfully change organizational processes and workers (Webb 2007). The transformational style of leadership is anchored in four basic dynamics to impact the conducts and approaches (Webb 2007). These four dynamics encompass idealized impact (appeal), inspiration, psychological encouragement, and personal deliberation. Like other leadership styles, transformational leadership bears its merits and drawbacks (Webb 2007). Transformational leadership styles put stress on teamwork and strengthening and initiating potential with the aim of attaining their objectives. Transformational leaders create a collaborative business environment, boost morale, are practical towards the administration of change, initiate communication and back empowerment, and uphold responsibility and crisis resolution. In this regard, the leaders encourage workers towards the inspiration and engaging in the objectives they set. The merit of the transformational leadership style is having stimulated and contented workers who display low instances of absenteeism and increased production in their tasks.
A drawback that has been observed concerning transformational style is that the operations of the police require quick judgments and excellent judgment makers, and the transformation leadership style takes a lot of time and is thus seen to be ineffective. Moreover, the transformation style of leadership has a tendency of disrupting a balanced and systematized mode of operation (Webb 2007). Nevertheless, the application of the transformational style of leadership is gaining impetus since it is directly in disagreement with the superannuated command and control style that had been forced on workers for a long time in the past.
Discussion of Organizational Change
Organizational change is often an intricate and demanding task. A number of modifications could be planned while others happen too quickly to give time for preparation. Culture is considered significant as it backs or obstructs strategies, offers principles, impacts attributes, ensures constancy and guidance, directs and generates behavior, and impacts organizational achievement. The natural response of employees to change, even in an excellent situation, is to oppose (Smith 2008). Either the vast majority of people obviously and zealously oppose the change in their personal lives or in the place of work; people like remaining in their comfort zones. A number of controversies exist with reference to resistance to change and implementation of change. A number of studies affirm that leadership in the police sector is the archaic militaristic style, and it hampers communication between the bosses and their subordinates. This creates difficulties with the problem- resolution capacities in the police organization and the manner in which they tackle a hastily changing world and their support to the fundamental process of transformation in an environment where residents and scenery of daily evidence-based policing are changing rapidly.
Silvestri (2007) affirms that the leadership within the police does not encourage creativity, flexibility, or independence because the leadership always enforces the attitude of follow the given commands, keep away from mistakes, and avoid taking risks. Moreover, there is destructive organizational psychology in the police organization where leaders continue to apply outdated structures that choose some officers in the sector to take leadership positions rather than promoting the ones that have constancy in showing the overall attributes of a reform-minded leader. The leadership in the police organization likes choosing their future directors early in their profession and normally fails to recognize the officers that take time to prepare over a period of experience, and this encourages the same outmoded police culture. The rank-based system has progressed over a long period and has existed as a right of course for future leaders to continue the outdated operations of the organization with the officers that get these positions viewing it as a status symbol.
If the rank-oriented approach were to be stopped, the leaders could take it as a fruitless move and a loss of authority. Currently, police organizations are not ready to accept an inventive participatory leadership style due to their involuntariness to communicate and ranks obscure further. Because police leadership is enlaced in a traditional hierarchical custom, it depresses modern styles of leadership since the leaders do not have confidence in their juniors or have never received an introduction to adaptive leadership techniques like permitting interpersonal sharing of information, training, and aid or inclusive judgment making. This brings a lack of modification to the entire success of the organization, and the situation does not change. Another factor that could make police organizations fear change is the alleged time it consumes to make a judgment with respect to the participatory styles of leadership (Smith 2008). A number of police directors have a fear that it could be an unsuccessful technique of judgment making and thus they would be seen as being unproductive and irresolute.
Another factor of the police organization not adapting to change is that their customs and systems have all along been male-gendered, and leaders have been aggressive and commanding with their application of command and control leadership style (Silvestri, Tong & Brown 2013). Even with modifications in maleness and femaleness, in police organizations, they would still remain gendered sites. A number of studies affirm that police leaders are purely not in favor of change since they apply the presumptions that if things are operational, why change them. For police leadership to ascertain themselves as being contemporary, creative, and inventive, they have to adjust to the changes that they encounter. This could be attained through empowering people in the organization to independently make some judgments and encouraging teamwork. Adebayo (2004) who wrote the following has emphasized this:
In order to respond successfully to changes in society’s demographic structure, education, and democratic values, the leadership structure of the police must be seen to be flexible enough to accommodate such changes and also ensure the removal of unnecessary bureaucratic delays in the entire operation of the police (Adebayo, p. 119, 2004).
The autocratic leadership style that mainly contained less educated staff in the past cannot meet the requirements of the current business environment due to the modifications of personnel. Studies have established that modern-day leadership contains personnel with advanced education and have started adapting to change from the traditional promotional procedures to uplifting new leaders anchored in their education, competency, and functions. Learning offers more chances for transformation in the police organization by permitting the learned officers to widen their understanding, and inquiry, and modify evaluations in the way services are offered. The domination of the male gender in police leadership is slowly diminishing since women gainsaid their male equals for leadership positions thus altering the organization culture (Silvestri, Tong & Brown 2013). Currently, women have been integrated into the police organization for more than three decades and this has assisted in eradicating the male-gendered prejudices resulting in an unselfish system and engaged a strengthening and participative leadership. Such modifications in the style of leadership have greatly benefitted people via society and problem-based policing.
Women that are in positions of leadership have proved to more transformational, endeavoring to establish communication and the judgment-making progression. In this regard, the increase of women in police leadership will eventually shake the basis of the command and control style of leadership to the transformational one. Different studies indicate that leadership styles are compelled to change by generational concerns. Presently, there exist 4 major generational cohorts that play a role in the places of work. These generational cohorts encompass Baby Boomers, Veterans, and Generation Y and X (Silvestri, Tong & Brown 2013). The majority of the veteran cohort either has retired from the functions of leadership or has re-emerged in a civilian form position. Nowadays, the cohort that is mostly in leadership is the Baby Boomers. Nevertheless, the Baby Boomers are starting to withdraw, and this will compel the remaining two cohorts to take up leadership positions thus demanding organizational changes.
A continued tendency of the current fiscal condition might compel all the four cohorts to work jointly and they all require knowing the best way of interacting. To generate constructive modification, every one of the aforementioned cohorts must revere and treasure information sharing from one another. Leadership will be required to stress flexibility, learning, and sharing of information amid all the cohorts in organizations. Modification in the police leadership and the formation of the organization has been linked to the increased embracing of unions. Traditionally, leaderships never consulted union leaders in the judgment-making progression (Silvestri, Tong & Brown 2013). Progressive leaders promote advanced working environments, efficiency, service provision, and augmented organizational dedication when incorporating union leadership in the strategy progression. Changes in the police organization are gradually being realized as police leaders start using teamwork to deal with difficulties and missions.
The embracing of teamwork or participative perception alludes to a number of the traits that are unfailing in the transformational leadership style. The compensation for permitting police officers to take part in the teamwork perception while working at assignments and difficulties has generated flexibility and adaptability. Studies have stressed three errors that ought to be avoided if successful modification is going to survive (Silvestri, Tong & Brown 2013). The first error that is made by leaders prior to the implementation of change is failure to encompass contribution from the people that will be affected by the change. Secondly, leaders make the mistake of not allocating sufficient time to the stimulation and persuasion of personnel that the change will be favorable. Finally, leaders fail by not creating the way and not promoting the change. On this note, leaders should avoid these errors to make the process of change less discouraging and nerve-wracking.
Responsible and appropriate leadership is vital to the triumph of every organization. This study has established that a successful leader ought to be principled, founded on the task of the organization, and psychologically involved with staff. The old ways of job-based and employee-based, democratic, command and control, autocratic styles of leadership, and associated exchange theories of leadership ignored the impacts of the leader-worker associations of sharing an idea, illustration, and sacrifice. The command and control style of leadership paid no attention to the requirement of employees to have their physiological demands and necessity for safety concerns, care, belonging, respect, and self-realization satisfied. Change is vital if police organizations desire to keep abreast with the era; the outdated leadership styles have to be wrecked, and the organizations ought to stimulate and coach their leaders to be transformational.
Teamwork, power-sharing, trust, and humility are superseding the impact of rank. This will result in the police organization becoming flattered with minimal instances of management and lesser disagreements between leaders. Theories of leadership allow an individual to employ the correct proficiencies in a given circumstance via a progression of comprehension, critical deliberation, and evaluation. If a board of police leaders from different agencies are asked concerning the leadership style that they consider excellent for application, the entire consensus is expected to be a mixture since a leader is not supposed to depend on a single style since every condition is different.
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