Emerging Leaders Program

Emerging Leaders

ICLD 1.3 First-Line and Mid-Level Supervision: Discussion Board

Instructor: Dr. Mitch
  1. Post a new discussion related to the topics covered in this module.  Your post needs to provide specific lessons learned with examples from this module helping you enhance your leadership capacity at work.
  2. After posting your discussion, review posts provided by other students in the class and reply to at least one of them. 


  • As a first-line supervisor, I have learned that leading down and managing up is crucial. It is vital to communicate effectively with subordinates and superiors to ensure everyone is on the same page.

    In addition, accountability and professionalism are crucial components of effective leadership. By holding myself and my team accountable for our actions, we are able to take ownership of our work and ensure that we are meeting our goals and objectives.

    One specific lesson I learned from this module is the importance of leading by example. As a supervisor, I am responsible for setting a positive tone and work ethic for my team. By showing my team that I am dedicated and hardworking, I can inspire them to do the same.

    I have also learned the importance of helping subordinates reach their goals. By identifying their strengths and weaknesses, I can provide them with the necessary resources and support to grow and develop their skills. This not only benefits the individual but also the team as a whole.

    Lastly, I understand the value of cultivating others into new leaders. By providing opportunities for growth and development, I can help my team members reach their full potential and prepare them for future leadership roles.

    Overall, this module has provided valuable insights and strategies for enhancing my leadership capacity at work. By implementing these concepts and lessons learned, I am confident that I can continue to improve as a first-line supervisor and contribute to the success of my team and organization.

  • This module had some good information in it. The concept of the sergeant beingthe first line of the mission resonated with me. As a leader you can have a mission but if you cannot get your front line supervisiors to buy into it, you will fail at selling it to the team.

  • Good information, wish I had this information 25 years ago when I was first promoted into a first line leadership position, it would have made the transition a whole lot easier. Newly appointed FLS have a difficult transition to make, they still want to be part of the “group” but are now in a supervisory position which often times is difficult to deal with. Going from supervised to supervisor and taking on a new role with authority and responsibility while navigating the old relationships that were built while in the being supervised role is difficult. This lesson should certainly help those newly promoted FLS.

    When in a FLS or mid level supervisory position it’s really important to set the tone early, making sure that those working for you understand that everything you do is centered around department beliefs, ethics and policy. FLS should also always find ways to challenge subordinates, better subordinates means a better department and better service for the citizens that we are sworn to serve. FLS should always the department’s mission, values and vision, FLS should be instilling these beliefs into the people that work for them. It’s very important that FLS be able to navigate “friendships” that have been made over the years and not allow personal feelings and emotions become involved when addressing disciplinary situations and issues. One should very rarely be a “boss” and learn skills through training, education, conferences, etc. and learn how to be leaders. It is important to have a vision and goal, but one must have a plan to achieve the goal and certainly must have “buy in” from those that are being led. Communication is big part of being a successful leader. Making sure that every thing that is communicated is clear and concise will prevent little things from becoming big things.
    I enjoyed the segment on leading down and managing up. Hire good people and establish good solid communication and again those little problems will most likely be addressed and prevented from becoming bigger issues in the future.
    Steve Jobs hit the nail on the head with having a passion for what you are doing and surrounding yourself with great people.
    Having a goal is important, but of equal importance is having a plan. Planning, studying, training and probably most importantly; debriefing after an incident. I have learned so much from debriefs over my 35 year career.
    I’ll conclude with what I have heard more than once while navigating this training; TRUST is the most important tool in a leaders tool box.

  • An important concept that I took from this module is that Sergeant’s should realize how their direct contact with police officers can rise to a great amount of influence. Sgt’s represent change in an organization and change is not always welcome amongst patrol officers. Sgt’s should be aware of their ability to influence and how every comment, gesture, non-verbal communication is interpreted and analyzed by patrol as either support for or rejection of a position. According to the instructor Gary Benthin, the first responsibility of Sgt’s is to support their superiors in their efforts as long as those efforts are in line with the departments goals and guidelines. When there is disagreement between a Sgt and a superior they should address that with the superior and not complain about that superior or their decisions to their subordinates.

    • I completely agree with this concept. It’s vital for sergeants to understand and recognize their influence on police officers and to be mindful of their behavior and communication. As a representative of change in the organization, their actions and words carry weight and can impact the attitudes and behaviors of the patrol officers. Sergeants must support their superiors and work towards the department’s goals while addressing disagreements directly rather than complaining to their subordinates. This approach can help build a positive and cohesive team culture.

  • This lesson summarized the guiding principles to becoming a successful leader. A few of the good takeaways:
    – Hesitation/indecisiveness can be seen as a lack of a plan, and thus, a lack of leadership. This is important because once you lose the trust and confidence from your team, it can be hard to win them back over.
    – Have a plan for as many situations as possible. This creates more trust from your team when they know you’ve thought ahead, know what the plan is, and can better execute. Have critical incident debriefs to discuss what went well and what didn’t, and then make modifications as appropriate for the future.
    – As a supervisor, it is your job to know the ins and outs at your agency and in your field. You must know the ethics, mission, vision, policies, procedures, plans, and laws better than your subordinates or they may lose confidence, trust, and respect for you. A good leader is always learning and should focus on bettering themselves in a variety of areas including decision making, liability, personnel law, conflict resolution, media relations, and the criminal law/case law.
    – Managing up can be just as important as managing down.
    – Small problems become big problems if not addressed promptly.

    • These are all excellent points of the module. I recently (indirectly) had to deal with the point of small problems becoming big problems when not promptly addressed. If an employee is causing a problem it should be promptly dealt with. In the module the instructor made a good point that if an employee gave you one problem they will give you more problems in the future. While coaching and counseling is extremely important for minor issues, documentation becomes extremely important for chronic problem employees.

    • Great comment, very well written and communicated. I agree that all of the points you discuss are important.

  • In this weeks topic I believe it is important for the first line supervisor to build a good repour with his squad. He/ she needs to be an effective communicator and needs to lead by example. I do expect my team to be professional at all times. But I also understand that that starts with me. I do not encourage them to hang in groups for a long period of time. But I do believe it does not hurt if they congregate for few minutes as long as they are attentive to what needs to be done and within a timely manner. A supervisor in my opinion needs to have a great understanding of the daily responsibilities and needs to be consistent with how he interacts with his team. Even it is a disciplinary problem it is the responsibility of the supervisor to address the situation immediately and consistent with how the administration expects the situation to be handled. I also believe that the same supervisor needs to also recognize his teams positives and acknowledge them when it is feasible. It builds morale and it builds team work.

    • I agree that it starts with you as a supervisor and think that your statement “needs to have a great understanding of the daily responsibilities and needs to be consistent with how he interacts with his team” is very impactful. Without understanding daily responsibilities and being consistent the tone can be set as confusion and incompetency of the supervisor.

      • I think it goes without saying that the first line supervisors are arguably the most important in the department. They are the eyes and ears to not only the public but the upper supervision as well. Sometimes the higher ups can get a little out of the loop and must rely on the lower level supervisors.

  • I believe most of what was covered in this lesson were the basics of supervision. One of the elements I believe are especially true is being fair and consistent with employees. It amazes me how much subordinates can hold on to your spoken words and actions and will believe they have been wronged if they are treated even slightly differently than someone else under similar circumstances. I also learned that those under supervision may not have all the facts but will come to a judgement regarding a situation or decision regardless. As previously stated in prior lessons, trust is the foundation of leadership. If your subordinates trust you and have a healthy relationship with you, then they will come to you with their perceived grievances. I have been able to explain and resolve issues ahead of time because the employee felt comfortable bringing their perceived issue with me.

    • I agree with your point about being fair/consistent with staff. This is a huge deal for those in the trenches. Everyone wants (and deserves) to be treated with respect and when leadership does not treat all staff fair/consistently, it comes across as a sign of disrespect through targeting. It’s perceived as a cautionary red flag because even if they are not being targeted currently, if the wind changes, maybe they will be the next target on admin’s list of who to seek out next. It is always best practice to enforce rules and procedure violations equal across the board to keep trust intact.

  • One specific lesson that I learned from this module that would help enhance my leadership capacity is to maintain consistency with each action while leading subordinates. For example, being consistent with disciplinary actions for similar behaviors with each member. This is one of the hardest decisions to make however it will ensure trust overall.

  • As the lecture says, the transition to a position where you are now supervising your previous peer is a tough task. You have to choose your responsibilities as a supervisor over your past friendships with your now subordinates or you can become a bad supervisor. I believe that there is a positive from being promoted above your peer, in that you know what they want in the job when you were working with them. From this you can adjust you leadership style to help promote good morale and establish trust with your new subordinates.

  • I have heard the phrase lead down and manage up, but never truly understood the actual concept. It makes complete sense, the supervisor is the conduit between the front-line staff and management. As a supervisor you have to ensure that you are going to have people on the team that is a good fit and going to carry out the mission. The supervisor has to ensure that each team member is meeting their time frames and completing work timely. But they also have to ensure that the employees are enjoying what they are doing and want to come in each day. That same supervisor also has to effectively communicate what their team needs from upper management as well as articulating ways on streamlining processes. In my current position I feel like I have a good relationship with my upper management and feel comfortable sharing my ideas and issues with them to help improve our area. It is also important for me to explain that things have changed since they did the job so they can look at the issue at hand in a different perspective.

    • O’Neil, I agree with you. Being a front-line supervisor is an a ‘conduit’ position. I have had to ‘sell’ department positions to the front-line guys and have had to defend and explain actions from the front-line guys to the brass. Mid-level supervision is a fundamental position to the health and prosperity of an organization.

  • Being professional and showing professionalism can come hand in hand. You want to be able to act the part that we signed up for. Uniform pressed, clean shaven, and acting appropriately in front of your subordinates and other members in society. They will be your worst critic on how you present yourself and show confidence in yourself. I will disagree though with your subordinates turning in unfixed reports to you. As a leader, you should tell them why what is wrong with it, and have them fix it themselves instead of you fixing it yourself.

    • I agree that being professional is extremely important especially as first responders or civilian member who work with first responders. The members are constantly under watchful eyes of the public and social media. Many citizens don’t understand the difference between a civilian or deputy, all they see is a star on their shirt. When an individual isn’t acting professional then they lose all credibility and authority. If a deputy responded to a call with a wrinkled uniform, smoking a cigarette and swearing; they would most likely not be received well by the citizens and probably end up on social media with a ton of comments. As first responders and member who work with first responders we are held to the highest standers and we must be professional at all times.

  • There both positive and negative elements as mentioned when becoming a new supervisor. I have achieved this step twice in my career (due to leaving for a larger agency). I recall thinking that becoming a supervisor was not going to change things between subordinates you were at the same level with. It was eye opening (depending on personnel and agency-size) that professionalism took precedence over friendship due to the “I don’t want to screw this up!” mentality the first time you get it. Having lived through that and being placed into a leadership role a second time; I have been able to take what i learned in order to complete the tasks and achieve what I believe as a well-oiled machine without having that awkward relationship with my subordinates. The message of what is expected and needs to be done is conveyed appropriately without sacrificing a leadership role to a manager role.

    • I agree that the clear voicing of your expectations in the beginning can help prevent any awkward talks you have to have with you subordinates who are acting inappropriately with you.

    • Johansen, thank you for sharing. It is hard to balance friendship over professionalism especially when you have worked with a particular person for many years. I learned that it was better to work at a different sector or district depending on the promotion. Then when it really came down to it. I knew no matter what that I wanted to move on and I would still be the same person but it was important that everyone respect that professionalism for the badge is what is important and I would not tolerate anything else. I was raised to respect those of leadership and always to respect the chain of command.

  • In the lecture, it was discussed having too many officers at a scene is unprofessional, but I disagree in part. We live and work in an unforgiven society. Sometimes showing force is the appropriate response. Who’s to say how many officers it too many? I see different supervisors handle this differently from one another. I don’t see the issue with the entire squad backing each other up as long as other calls are not affected. Ask yourself, would you rather have extra officers and not need them or need them and not have them?

    • I agree with our guys/girls being able to meet up and hang out in between calls for service, as this can help build and maintain a positive morale on your squads. When there are many moving parts in addition to numerous tasks that need completion, our subordinates will congregate and push through in order to finish the goal a lot faster (in theory). When arriving on scene to a call and a majority are conversing (with the primary deputy/officer is doing majority of the work), perception is from you and from the outside looking in (including admin looking on mapping databases) can be very bleak. I believe there has to be a balance in the amount of personnel on a scene depending on the nature of the call and other calls holding as you mentioned.

      • Yes, balance is likely necessary. The work is intense and many need frequent interaction with with co-workers that is light and not so serious to get some relief from the constant hard decisions that are made.

  • A lot of what was taught in this lesson was definitely common sense, but might be so common we really don’t tend to think a lot about how important it all is in our daily performance and functions. The lessons on professionalism, in particular, I found to be incredibly important. I think “professionalism” as a whole encapsulates everything we as law enforcement strive for at our best. Because of the authority vested in us, as law enforcement, we owe it to the public to be professional to truly exude that authority we’ve been granted.

    If we aren’t professional, we are telling the public we don’t take this authority seriously. Sure, I get that we are human and we’re going to make jokes and laugh and BS after calls are cleared. But we all know the old adage “there’s a time and a place”. Professionalism is knowing when and where that time and place are and acting appropriately as we would know a professional would.

    • I’m one for making jokes and BSing, but we can’t forget these Ring doorbells are nearly everywhere, and they can easily pick up of conversations standing in the middle of the street. We need to remember this because I’d hate to see someone get burned on this.

    • I agree, there is always a time and a place to make jokes and kickback with our peers. We should always be aware of our surroundings on whose around and listening.

  • I am a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPAC) evaluator and am testing the system

  • While a lot of the material in this module seems like common sense, I appreciated the opportunity to reconsider the various ways in which an organization is interconnected. In the toil of conducting our daily work, it is easy to forget that each level of the chain builds upon those above and below it.

    Effective, professional individual contributors will help to build effective, professional teams. Effective, professional teams will help to build an effective, professional department. It’s a simple but powerful concept.

    Ensuring that we develop and place effective leaders at each level of the organization is a challenging but critical component of success.

    • I think with the authority vested in us by the public, we owe it to them to be professional. Not just because we need to look good in uniform and treat them fairly and equitably, but because professionalism exudes confidence. We want the public to be confident in our ability to handle the requirements of the job and the authority they’ve granted in us to complete the job. The more confidence we can build in the public, the more they’ll come to trust us.

  • I am a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPAC) evaluator and am testing the system.

  • I am a Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPAC) evaluator and am testing the system.

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