Leadership Reminders for the Overworked Supervisor

By Mark Sedevic, M.S., Ed.D. 
Stock image of a man pinching the bridge of his nose.

The tasks that fall under the purview of today’s law enforcement supervisors can feel overwhelming. Supervisors working long hours must efficiently and effectively manage their personnel, assist with staff difficulties, remedy citizen complaints, complete extensive paperwork, and comply with orders from command staff. Sometimes, they must perform the duties of their subordinates or supervisors because of budgetary restraints.

To excel while managing their extensive tasks, law enforcement leaders must keep everything in perspective, stay positive, and lead others from the front. A series of basic precepts can help them lead their agencies and serve the needs of both officers and citizens.

  • Lead by example and practice what is preached.
  • Be a lifelong learner who continually wants to gain knowledge about new ideas.
  • Treat people with respect.
  • Maintain solid character.
  • Have courage and take initiative.
  • Balance everything in life—work, rest, spirituality, learning, exercising, and important relationships.
  • Improve strengths and manage weaknesses.
  • Let employees have input in decisions.
  • Be committed and dedicated to the organization and its employees.
  • Care about personnel and what matters to them.
  • Always stay objective and open-minded.
  • Be generous and put people first.Listen to what others say.
  • See tasks through to completion—not for career enhancement, but because it is the right thing to do.
Sergeant Sedevic serves with the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department.
Sergeant Sedevic serves with the Chicago, Illinois, Police Department.

A Chinese proverb says, “If you cut a blade of grass, you shake the universe.” Law enforcement supervisors can have a significant impact on their world through deeds perceived as small or insignificant. If leaders focus on the little things that they can do, the community, organization, employees, and supervisors will be affected positively. As a result, law enforcement supervisors can manage their myriad tasks with greater efficiency.