An introduction to public leadership
An introduction to public leadership

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An introduction to public leadership

3.1 Team-working in the police service

In policing, the role of team leaders is to balance the task and social needs of the team alongside other professional considerations. In the following video, some of our policing leaders talk about how teams work in their organisations. Their functioning is underpinned by a common purpose and a strong set of individual motivations to serve the public. Leaders must harness this sense of commitment and direct it to the achievement of more specific team objectives, while at the same time taking care not to exploit it to the detriment of team members’ well-being.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_police_vid_1043.mp4
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Effective teams are essential to public service, absolutely essential. And for me, one of the first things that I do when I have a new team or I'm part of a new team is to get to know the team, the people, the component parts, what skills they actually bring.
The strength of the team is bringing together a team of mixed skills, mixed abilities, mixed experience, blending it together under a supervisor, and giving them good, strong direction what you want them to achieve.
However, there is always a risk around a team as a manager of stifling their talents by being too close and not empowering that innovation, that ownership, that self-belief around delivering performance, delivering what the public expects us to deliver, going back to ethics and morals. And I think it's about how being, sometimes around teams, giving them the space to breathe
What are we doing on this day, this month? What is our common purpose? And what we do with the team is we utilise the best skills of the people on that team to get the best results.
I think in terms of teamwork in policing, this has undergone quite a journey. I think in our - in fact in my own, I think of my own circumstances. Teamwork would involve around the shift or the rota that you worked on.
So you may be eight or nine constables, a couple of sergeants, an inspector and that would be your team. And I think as time has moved on, I think things have developed around what the team consists of now. And I think it's much more of a broader definition.
Policing is not something that is exclusive to police in terms of some of our most challenging moments. Our communities and our partners are at our side. They're involved in the evidence gathering, they're involved in the problem solving, we share media lines with them.
I always considered part of my team social workers, some of the medical profession that we worked with, the College of Policing, the constabularies. And everybody that's involved with policing, really, is part of that team. And in a broader sense, you could almost extend that to the public as well in terms of the things that may be obvious, like community groups, neighbourhood watch programmes, societies that police speak at, things like that.
Wherever I found myself in policing, I've always developed - one of the first things that I do is that I always set up a development programme for my team for the area of business that I am in. And the development programme is about, let me make sure that my people understand problem solving. Let me train and develop my people to ensure that they know the range of tactics and behaviours that are needed to do the work that we need to do.
Within the public sector, we're here as public servants. We've all joined organisations for reasons of maybe a greater, greater calling, but to give something back for a common purpose. And it's about driving that and allowing that to be delivered within a team environment.
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