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Chief Complaints: Coping with a Bad Boss

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 51 Issue: 10 Dated: October 2003 Pages: 96,98,100,102
Wayne H. Daniels; Lynnette Spratley
Date Published
October 2003
4 pages
This article suggests various ways for police officers to cope with a bad boss, depending on the severity of the problem.
Establishing a constructive relationship with a new boss begins when he/she first assumes the job. An officer should give the new boss time to settle into the job and time for the officer to learn the boss' style of management before providing any input or bringing grievances. If the new boss begins by making sweeping changes in departmental goals, methods of operation, and job descriptions, it is best to go along with the program, since the changes may be constructive. If it becomes clear that the boss' concepts of policing differ from one's own, the officer should first attempt to resolve these differences with the boss before sending resumes to other agencies. The amount of time to allow for a relationship to work depends on the tolerance level of an individual officer. Bringing one's concerns to the boss may provide the opportunity for the boss to explain some of his/her concerns and reasons for his/her policies and style of management, such that a new attitude emerges, including an awareness of the pressures under which the boss is working. If problems cannot be resolved in interaction with the boss, the officer should give careful consideration to going to a higher authority. This is most likely to be effective when there is clear evidence that the department's mission is being damaged by the manager's performance and decisions. This step is most effective when done by a group of officer's who can present both written and verbal statements of the detrimental impact of management policies and styles. When all efforts fail in reaching a satisfactory interaction with the boss, and the stress level of working under him/her is destructive to personal health and relationships over time, then it is probably time for the officer to seek a position in another department.


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