Lead by Example and Inspire Others to Follow

Myron Hamm
Myron Hamm
Secretary/Director of Corrections

What are the trademarks of a true leader? A leader is someone who inspires us to strive for greatness or someone who leads by example. I have witnessed many people promote within the LVMPD, and some have moved up the ranks to become outstanding supervisors. In my opinion, people who promote fall into one of three categories: the group that promotes and hopes they never have to make a critical decision or get involved in an uncomfortable situation; the group that has never done the job well and wants to promote so they don’t have to perform a job they were never qualified for; and lastly, the group that people want to follow and are willing to work an undesirable location or shift for because they know their supervisor is looking out for them and ensuring they are headed in the right direction. Whether you are supervising on Patrol or at CCDC, the theme should be the same — lead by example and inspire your troops to do the job the correct way. 

I recently observed someone on the promotion list taking a lunch break on the 12th floor of CCDC. This individual had removed their duty belt and was enjoying their lunch break. My question is, how would you respond quickly if a code were called? This individual is on the list to be promoted, and in my opinion, this is a horrible example to set for the rank and file. I wonder what reaction this person would have if they were to observe one of their troops doing the same thing. Simply put, lead by example. In another instance, I was informed by a patrol officer that upon arriving to change in the locker room, a supervisor came into the locker room and called the officer a profane name. If there was an issue, why not go to the officer’s supervisor instead of humiliating the officer in front of everyone? But in this instance, the supervisor wanted to show everyone how big a man and tough guy he is. Unfortunately, all he succeeded in doing was showing his true colors and his lack of respect for anyone. 

So how do we get to a point where we treat each other with decency and respect? We are expected to go out into the public and treat people with respect and courtesy, but our own supervisors do not adhere to this standard. That being said, I will admit that I get to deal with supervisors and it is a very pleasant experience. We have some truly fine representatives on the supervisor side, and I would be remiss if I did not state this as a fact. Unfortunately, we also have some who are petty and seem to enjoy showing just how much the world needs them. Just remember that supervisors were once the rank and file, and I think they struggled with the same things that officers are being chastised for today. It is so easy to judge and demean, but imagine if instead, you helped or attempted to teach. The responsibility of being a leader should be treated with a high level of commitment and dignity. Supervisors calling subordinates names and being rude to them should never happen, and when it does, it just demonstrates how that supervisor is not suited to lead. We are facing times in which our profession is under attack, we have officers questioning each other and, quite frankly, not trusting each other. This is a time where the younger officers look to their supervisors for guidance and leadership. It is a shame that some are only concerned with themselves and their over-inflated value of self-worth. A wise man once said, “Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”