In the great book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love” by Cal Newport (which I highly recommend) he talks about three traits that define great work:
It struck me when I read this list that all of these apply to law enforcement training and to the law enforcement profession in general.
Creativity – As a trainer you need to be creative in how you deliver training, design drills, exercises and scenarios and how you engage the participants in your class. Even if POST or some other governing body dictates the content, you have the ability to employ some creativity in the delivery of the material. You need to be creative in making mandatory inservice training engaging, enjoyable and educational. You need to be creative with annual inservice training so you cover the same material every year, but in new and interesting ways.
As an officer / deputy/ constable / trooper on patrol you can be creative in the ways in which you engage members of your community to foster a strong relationship with them, in how you use your discretionary time and the resources you utilize during investigations. The simplest thing to do is stop a few times every shift, get out of your car and have non enforcement interactions with people who live and work in your community, but there are a myriad of other ways to connect based on your skills, talents and interests.
Those of you in formal leadership positions can be creative in how you recognize and reward your people, how you reignite the fire in those in whom it is wavering, how you deliver training in small bites every day, how you engage your people in critical thinking and how you create a culture of learning and leadership in your piece of the organization.
Impact – Law enforcement officers have the opportunity every day to positively impact members of their organization and their communities. Sometimes this is done through acts of bravery where you risk your life to save the life of a citizen or citizens or a brother or sister officer. Most often however, this is done through small acts of kindness and compassion, taking the time to listen to someone who just needs to talk, a well timed and sincere thank you, having a courageous conversation with a peer, or reaching out to a brother or sister officer who you know is struggling. It is also done through living the core values of your organization.
As trainers you continually impact members of your organization, and by default your entire organization, by the way you deliver training. Some of the most impactful and influential leaders in every organization are the trainers. As a trainer you will impact every person in your organization and that impact will carry over on to the street and influence the manner in which your people impact the community.
Control – There are a lot of things in life you do not control. You do have complete control of your attitude and your effort. You have control over your actions and your words. You have control over the way you treat people at home, in the workplace and in your community. You have control of how you use your discretionary time at work. You have control over your learning. You have control over the pause between stimulus and response.
Embrace the Creativity, Impact and Control you have and realize every day is the opportunity for you to do Great Work.
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