View Our Public Safety Solutions BrochureMany police and fire departments are experiencing a significant amount of staff transitions due to retirements, which impacts leadership within those departments. For example, in a short period of time, a Bay Area Fire Department, with a staff of about 135 fire personnel needed to recruit and hire 50 new employees. Most of the staff at the Division Chief level and above were experiencing turnover, as well.
As these ranks turnover in a short period of time, those filling the ranks tend to be less experienced. With less experienced staff assuming the higher levels of responsibility, the rank-and-file can be impacted by less effective leadership, and these leaders tend to experience a greater degree of stress.
Our experience is that many teams get stuck in an unhealthy stage of development characterized by in-fighting, lack of accountability, poor communication, unresolved conflict, and lack of trust. Team maturity drops and stakeholders internally and externally suffer.
Over the years, we have seen several trends in working with police and fire leaders. Some of the issues have their root in emotional intelligence and behavioral style issues.
- Not being aware of the impact of their behavior and/or not being able or willing to manage their behavior differently in order to get better results
- Not understanding how or when to adapt their communication style to better connect with direct reports, peers, and senior managers
- Not addressing problems early and construtively. Failure to do this often results in problems worsening and the leader losing credibility.
Among leadership teams, we have found that they rarely take time to build consensus around the type of leadership needed in their organizations, given their unique culture or current and future challenges.
Switzer Associates-Leadership Solutions has a rich history of working with police and fire agencies, primarily in California, but in a number of other states, as well. Over the years, we have worked with more than 40 different agencies, some multiple times and for extended periods of time. Check out testimonials from police and fire chiefs.
Dr. Switzer was referred to me by some colleagues who raved about his workshops and skills. Merle didn’t disappoint. From our introductory phone call, the planning coordination prior to the TBW to the final moments of the TBW, Merle was fully engaged and highly responsive to our teams’ specific needs. He seamlessly adapted the agenda and drew upon his vast experience to navigate us to some realistic and achievable outcomes. I can’t thank Dr. Switzer enough and am pleased to join my colleagues in highly recommending Merle to aid other organizations.
- Chief Adam McGill, Novato Police Department