Leadership Spokane is committed to the truism that leaders always learn. One leadership truism that bears repeating over and over again is leadership is hard. It is not for the faint of heart because wisdom, fortitude and values are always needed to keep advancing the mission while serving the followers. Often, the right decision is not the most popular decision. Author Max Lucado reminds us: “To lead the orchestra, you have to turn your back on the crowd.” This past week, I had the privilege of representing Spokane citizens being on one of the four panels interviewing for the next police chief. A statement by one of our notable civic leaders Mary Ann Murphy resonated with me through the interviews.police dept She stated publicly at a recent event: “We need to support our next Police Chief.”
Why did this resonate with me so much? Two reasons…one she is right, but secondly, and most importantly, it is so much easier to tear down versus support. Leaders should support. Political campaigns often devolve to voting against versus voting for. Social media can be a hotbed of critique versus affirmation. Just as positive self-esteem does wonders for a person, positive support does wonders for any situation. Maya Angelou elegantly states: “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”
Spokane’s next police chief has a multitude of challenges all at once: learn the community, learn his department, address community concerns while showing amazing support for police officers who have been under the national spotlight. Certainly, I hope the next police chief can support and strengthen his department to foster a community supportive of recruiting. While supporting today’s police department is critical, our future safety and security is dependent on those young applicants who seek to join the long blue line in the next couple years. Let us all hope they are excellent applicants and the next police chief sets the mood and environment to foster that effective recruitment. Clearly, the next police chief, like any police chief, needs to be the best of best leaders.
That is where we as a community come in. In supporting our next chief, we provide a strong foundation for the next chief to launch from. Kevin Eikenberry in his July 2011 blog “Six Way Leaders Can Support Team Success” agues the importance of support: “Since you know that confidence and a positive attitude and energy will improve individual (and team) results, it is important that you not only do this, but help people do the same for each other. Creating this upward spiral or support and encouragement will grow your team’s results as fast as almost any other thing, and it starts with you.” Certainly, challenges will occur over the next days, months and years because policing is difficult work but a leader’s job is to support and find unity and civility. That is, in my opinion, the path least taken but the better path for a better future.
One of our most popular days in Leadership Spokane is our bus tour on Regional Economy Day. Kim Pearman-Gillman from McKinstry is our traditional narrator and her positive and pleasant commentary of our community is the reason it is so well received. As we welcome a new police chief to our community, may we be as pleasant and welcoming. Servant leaders build community, Servant leaders also support. A police chief works for the community. We must also work for the police chief and our first role is to be a welcoming and supportive community. Like leaders, Spokane supports.
Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat. ~ Jean-Paul Sartre