Leadership is a word tossed around by many to label the head of an organization. But what is a real leader? Is it a chief of police, is it the commander at the station, or is it the hard worker on your shift?
There are plenty of supervisors out there who think they are “leaders.” But let’s be honest, not every supervisor is a leader. You can teach anyone to be a supervisor, but you cannot teach leadership.
Can you teach aspects of leadership? Certainly. But we must also understand that there are certain aspects of leadership that cannot be taught or learned from a book. Leadership is a calling, a feeling, a burning from inside that makes you want to do what you do.
True leaders will find a way to make things work in the worst of situations and a way that makes everyone feel valued and appreciated. I have been blessed over my 30 years here at HPD to have had some very good supervisors and some very good leaders. You need both to have a real and workable paramilitary organization like a police department.
We all know a supervisor that we look at and go: How did they pass that test? I am not bashing supervisors, but we have all had one at some point in our career that we just shake our heads and move on. Our department needs to start developing our leaders for supervisory rolls within the department.
In the same manner, we are going to have to work here at the HPOU to develop our future leaders. I like to think of myself as a leader and have always tried to be within the units that I worked. We all have known those guys who are control freaks who like to take over and handle any situation.
That was me at Southeast. I loved being in the middle of any call and had no problem handling all the paperwork that went along with it. The more in-depth the incident, the more I liked it. Sadly, my sergeants had to do the paperwork associated with working officers, along with a lot of yellow paper that started with “Dear Chief.”
I have repeatedly had to apologize to my supervisors for that, but they always seemed to understand. I was blessed to have worked for true leaders like Mark Bailey, Bobby Roberts and John Yencha, who helped me develop the leadership skills I have today.
Now, here I am in a leadership role at the largest police union in Texas. As most know, I never expected to be in the position of president of the HPOU, but I am proud of the work we do here. Once again, I have been blessed to work with Ray, Joe and Tom – who have been incredible to work with and have helped me transition into the position.
I now look forward to helping our future leaders in this same manner. For anyone wanting to help lead the Houston Police Officers Union into the future, please consider running for our board of directors. Sign-ups have begun and elections will take place in just a few weeks.
So, if you consider yourself a leader and care about this future of the department and our officers, get involved!