Ok, so you probably wondering why I even care about Hell’s Kitchen and Chef Ramsey and wondering what the show has to do with training law enforcement professionals. I believe it has everything to do with training, managing, and leading. As someone who has dedicated the last 20 years to training professional warriors to perform at their best in challenging circumstances I strongly believe the attitude that treating people like shit will teach them to perform at a high level in a tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving event is seriously flawed thinking.
It concerns me that so many people in our society are fascinated by watching people get treated that way. That fascination leads to huge ratings for the show and packed houses at Hell’s Kitchen. It also leads to a proliferation of abuse in training and in the workplace. Because of Chef Ramsey’s fame and the popularity of the show there are people out there in a position of authority who think that is the way to treat people if you want them to perform under stress.
Some of those people who are fascinated by the show are law enforcments trainers and people in leadership positions. I have seen this type of abuse take place in law enforcement academies around North America and heard the horror stories from enlightened trainers, concerned officers and true leaders. This attitude also permeates the street and new officers in some agencies are still treated like lowly ‘dog shit’ recruits rather than well trained law enforcement professionals with limited field experience.
If they are not well trained, then you as a trainer need to take action and fix that. Either fix what is going on at the academy or, if you have no control over the academy, then fix it when they get to your agency.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe Chef Ramsey is to blame for all the less desirable and sometimes destructive training that is taking place at some academies. I do however, believe that shows like Hell’s Kitchen make it socially acceptable to treat people like crap in the name of high performance. When you treat people like that in a professional setting some will have the ability to brush it off as a game that is played and they will function despite it, a few will actually be motivated by it, others however will think they have to take shit from people (especially people in a position of authority) and some can hardly wait until they graduate and get in a position of authority in the field or in the academy to be able to treat people like that. They justify their treatment of others by saying “That is how it was when I went through the academy, and damn it look how good I turned out.” People with that attitude did not turn out as great as they think they did.
I believe in high standards. I believe in pushing people to excel. I believe in rewarding people when they work hard and strive for personal excellence. I also believe in treating law enforcement professionals in training and in the workplace like professionals.
Tuesday’s blog will contain a book review I did for the ILEETA review that speaks to this issue and should be recommended reading for all law enforcement trainers and leaders. Speaking of ILEETA, if you are a law enforcement trainer and are not a member of ILEETA then go to thewebsite (www.ileeta.org), download the membership application and join. It will be the best $45.00 you have every INVESTED.