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Qualities of Effective Leadership

NCJ Number
Sheriff Volume: 49 Issue: 6 Dated: November-December 1997 Pages: 8-9
J M Brown
Date Published
2 pages
After reviewing the qualities of an effective leader, this article argues that leadership can be learned, such that it should be taught in supervisory training.
The qualities of effective leadership include courage, strength, the ability to communicate effectively, knowledge, judgment, integrity, and interpersonal skills. A particularly important quality is vision, along with the power to implement that vision. Leadership is not inborn and is not related to a particular personality type. Leadership skills can be learned, provided a person is sufficiently motivated to make changes within himself/herself. One of the greatest shortcomings in law enforcement organizations is the lack of systematic leadership development. People are generally promoted based on past job performance, rather than on leadership potential. The result is that new first-line supervisors are often ill-prepared to assume their new duties. Continued training and education is even more important as people advance up the career ladder. Power is a necessary component of leadership. "Power" means that a person can make things happen, while authority means that a rank enables a person to require people to perform certain duties or suffer the consequences. A true leader manifests power to achieve goals by marshaling the resources of others, even though no official authority has been bestowed on the person. Power is mostly based on the ability to communicate and persuade others to join the effort to reach a significant goal.