Daniel, S I will discuss the Los Angeles Probation Department in regards to how leadership characteristics, follower characteristics, and situational factors all influence leadership effectiveness. All three are of upmost importance and they all intertwine. Chief Blevins is showing excellent leadership characteristics in that he has a vision and he knows how to navigate the L. A. C. P. D. from point A to Z. I have reviewed the Chief’s Strategic Plan and he is very detailed of his expectations. I am very impressed with the positive changes is going to make.
He is a good listener (he reads employee comments on website), in that he talks to the employees in the department in regards to their concerns and he asks them how can we as a department resolve the matter. To my knowledge, I can not recall a chief who cared to ask the employees any of their concerns. From my observation he has a genuine interest in making changes that will benefit the department as a whole. He has the ability to get the majority of employees to buy-in to making a positive change that is desperately needed (he has my full cooperation).
He has held his current position no more than the last three to six months, but in that short time he has written and implemented his plan and everything should be in full operation come June 2010. Leadership is the key in building the foundation within an organization. The organization’s leaders should possess strong skills, be knowledgeable of their organization, and keep abreast of new changes that may affect the organization, and last work together for the common good of the organization. Effective leaders create positive organizational cultures, strengthen motivation, clarify mission and organizational objectives, and steer organizations to more productive and high performing outcomes”. “Recent evidence of the importance of leadership and its absence or limited presence in some public organizations is plentiful” (Partnership for Public Service 2003). I have had the pleasure to work with several phenomenal leaders within the L. A. C. P. D. Under their tutelage I have learned so much.
As a follower within my department, I look for the following characteristics within the leaders: the ability to share their experience and knowledge, good communication skills, have high confidence in themselves, knowledge of the job, open minded, each one teach one type of attitude, goal oriented, very focused, has the ability to lead (teaches how to lead as well) and last, a leader who has a good rapport with their staff. I have been so fortunate to have had great supervisors who have the qualities of an outstanding leader.
I will gladly follow a leader who exudes high standards and great expectations for their employees. Effective followers become leaders within their organizations. Leaders and followers are one of the same but the follower is in training. “The basic characteristics and capabilities of effective leaders and followers are very similar and what differentiates them is the role they are playing in a particular situation and time” (HeriocLeaders. com).
I was a good follower who worked for great leaders which allowed me to be on the fast track in reference to knowing the job and being ready to promote. I believe that I would have been working in upper management if I had not decided to start a family. My priorities had changed and so my interest to promote no longer existed because my children were my world. Situational factors are elements which involve both the leader and the follower and the possible problems that may exist as a result of the leadership within an organization.
The leadership that has represented the L. A. C. P. D. for the last ten years has failed due to situational factors that were not addressed, for example: leadership did not work together, there was no accountability for wrong doing, and there was misuse of funds just to name a few. I did not have faith in the previous leaders of the department. I believe that there must be some form of trust in place for there to be cohesion and togetherness. A true leader has the ability to effectively influence leadership by having a plan to make a change and following through on it.
The two challenges that related to practice of leadership within the department was accountability and accepting change. The time has finally come and everyone will be held accountable for their job duties and they will be trained properly before receiving reprimands. History has shown throughout the department that mangers were quick to criticize and scrutinize but very slow to assist and train the employees. A new day is here. I am sure that every employee is capable of doing their jobs with the proper tools. Leaders will be encouraged to be more hands on with the employees and encourage them and not micro mange them.
As song by the famous singer Sam Cook, “A Change Is Gone Come” speaks life into the L. A. C. P. D. Leaders should embrace the change that will better the department and better service our number on e priority, the clients. While searching the web for research information, I found this Summary chart of Hypothesis and I though it was interesting to share. References: Howell, J. P. , & Costley, D. L. (2006). Understanding behaviors for effective leadership (2nd ed. ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. (Partnership for Public Service 2003). World Wide Web: HeroricLeaders. com