Leadership Spotlight

Effective Leadership Through Institutional Integrity

Effective leaders understand that uncompromising and rigid institutional integrity ought to be a core value of any law enforcement or intelligence organization. They appreciate their responsibility to monitor and train their workforce with respect to laws, procedures, regulations, and policies governing their operations and daily activities.

Successful leaders create, develop, and sustain an environment where employees are not reluctant to report any recognized or suspected failure to strictly adhere to law or policy by themselves or others. Personnel want to be confident that their leaders will take the necessary and corrective actions to document and address these failures.

In this evermore multifaceted criminal and intelligence gathering atmosphere where law enforcement professionals function, leaders should try to develop and foster an organizational mentality conducive to ensuring compliance with prevailing laws and policies. Leaders will want to make certain that a formalized procedure for dealing with any failure to comply is obtainable. During the summer of 2007, the FBI responded to this challenge by creating the Office of Integrity and Compliance, part of the Office of the Director, which oversees the Bureau’s Integrity and Compliance Program.

Successful law enforcement leaders may want to consider constructing and placing into practice a compliance program within their departments that can be tailored to proactively discover and mitigate violations of law, operational procedures, or administrative regulations. Officers and other employees ought to recognize and understand their responsibility to report incidents of misconduct, misbehavior, or any systemic failure to follow rules. If it is to succeed, an agency’s program will guarantee confidentiality and promote a spirit of appreciation for doing what is right, instead of instilling a fear of retaliation. A reputable and well-established compliance program can support an organizational culture that encourages ethical and principled behavior. Such an endeavor is the foundation for a triumphant, respected, and professional law enforcement and intelligence organization.

Special Agent Douglas B. Merel, an instructor in the Leadership Development Institute at the FBI Academy, prepared this Leadership Spotlight.