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COLIN MENZIES. Introduction . What do we know about leadership and policing? Context of contemporary policing in Scotland Recent research findings Conclusions . Home Office (2001). What do we know about Leadership & Policing?. Trait Theories, ‘Great Man’ Approach

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Presentation Transcript
  • What do we know about leadership and policing?
  • Context of contemporary policing in Scotland
  • Recent research findings
  • Conclusions

Home Office (2001)

what do we know about leadership policing
What do we know about Leadership & Policing?
  • Trait Theories, ‘Great Man’ Approach
  • First Academic Police Study (Banton, 1964)
  • 1970’s Contingency Theories – Fiedler, Hersey & Blanchard
  • Action-Centred Leadership (Adair, 1979)
  • Blake & Mouton, Briggs-Myers
  • 1980’s – ‘new leadership’ – Visionary, Charismatic, Transformational
  • 1990’s – Emotional intelligence, situational leadership & principle based approaches
  • Recent Research (Dobby et al 2003, Menzies, 2004)
  • Scarman (1981)
  • New Social Movements (1980’s – present)
  • ACPO – ‘police culture must shift from conservative, cautious militaristic hierarchy to a people-centred culture’ (1993)
  • Macpherson - ‘failure of leadership by senior officers’ (1999)
  • Home Office – challenge facing public sector leaders is ‘unprecedented’ and ‘modernisation of leadership, training and professionalism will be required at all levels within the police service’ (2001)
  • Adlam, R. & Villiers, P. (2003)
contingency still counts
Contingency still counts

Research and experience suggests that effectiveness of leadership is determined by being able to recognise the situation before applying the most appropriate style


TEAM TASKCan a group member explain what the Police Leadership Model is, why we have one and what we use it for?

the context of policing in scotland
The Context of Policing in Scotland
  • Scottish Executive relationship
  • Rapid change
  • Role of police
  • Complexity of demand, omni-competence
  • National Intelligence Model & Problem Solving Policing
  • Public Sector Reform & Community Planning
  • Partnership and collaboration
  • Criminal Justice Reform
  • Profile of Crime
perceived success factors of effective police leaders
Perceived Success Factors of Effective Police Leaders
  • Vision
  • Two-Way Communication
  • Visibility & Accessibility
  • Transparency of Decision Making
  • Delivery & Performance Management
  • Empathy

Home Office (2001)


‘….significant change in our approach to leading others’ the hallmarks of which will be ‘a more collaborative and inter-dependant approach to resolving challenges’

ACPOS (Fit for the 21st Century, 2003)


‘Professional, managerial and organisational leadership must become the norm and not the exception…..leadership must be strong, visible and dynamic’

Ton McCabe, Transforming Public Services (2006)

research objectives
Research Objectives
  • To evaluate which aspects of transformational leadership are being provided by ‘close’ police leaders in Scotland
  • To identify the nature and extent of the relationship between identified aspects of transformational leadership and self-reported psychological outcomes
  • To identify variation in the extent of transformational leadership behaviour between ranks
  • To identify variation in the extent of transformational leadership behaviour as a result of gender and locality
  • To make recommendations regarding the future training of police leaders in Scotland based on the findings
What some Scottish Officers said about their leaders
  • Supervisor is very nice but cannot cope under pressure. Does not have global view of way forward, lives for today and delegates on that basis
  • My manager has a PHD in hindsight and a masters in bullying. He has created an atmosphere of fear in which people are afraid to go to his meetings
  • My manager is almost invisible within the organisation and community, he appears to avoid conflict at all cost
  • Listens with empathy but does nothing to actively support
  • We all experience a lack of motivational leadership
key findings
Key Findings
  • Police leaders in Scotland, at all ranks, are rated by immediate subordinates as behaving least effectively in Encouraging & Facilitating Change, Networking & Achieving and Building Shared Vision. In these area they are also reported as being significantly less effective than leaders in other public sector areas
  • Such behaviours are highly relevant in the context of contemporary policing in Scotland
  • 20% of all police leaders score very poorly on a transformational scale
  • Police leaders in Scotland are rated as behaving most effectively in Being Accessible and Being Decisive
key findings1
Key Findings
  • A statistically significant variation in transformational behaviour is found between ranks with Sergeants in particular rated lower in a number of key areas
  • Senior managers most ineffective at ‘Inspiring Others’ or ‘Showing Genuine Concern’
  • No significant variation is found as a result of gender or urban/rural locality
  • Some variation between Forces - scale
  • Almost 40% of respondents across all ranks report that leaders behave in a way that fails to raise motivation, reduce stress, increase commitment or enable achievement beyond expectations
key findings2
Key Findings
  • It can reliably be assumed from the data that leaders who ‘build a shared vision’ and ‘show genuine concern’ will be seen as behaving in a way that;
    • Has a positive effect on job commitment
    • Has a positive effect on self-confidence
    • Raises sense of fulfilment
    • Reduces job related stress
    • Increases job satisfaction
    • Increases self esteem
key findings3
Key Findings

The strength and nature of the correlations enables the assumption to be confidently made that police leaders who do not ‘show genuine concern’ or ‘build shared vision’ are highly unlikely to achieve any positive psychological impact on their direct reports


‘effective leadership takes many guises…….a major factor in the success of operational policing was the ability of unit commanders to know when ‘to direct and delegate and when to play a coach/mentoring role’

(HMIC BCU Thematic Inspection, 2002)



  • The guiding principle of policing in Scotland is one of intelligence-led, highly collaborative problem solving
  • Delivery of policing services increasingly requires greater adaptability to change and collaboration
  • The absence of any definitive doctrine or approach to leadership has exposed the service to widespread criticism
  • A range of leadership styles are employed by the most successful leaders
Research has shown that Transformational Leadership behaviours are valued by police officers
  • Structured adoption of Transformational Leadership as part of a leadership framework has improved motivation, morale and performance in public and private sector areas
  • Transformational leadership is complementary to a transactional command and control style
  • Research suggests that police leaders at all ranks, most significantly near the front line, may be ill equipped to cope with the demands of leadership in contemporary policing
  • There is little evidence of ongoing research into police leadership in Scotland
thank you

Thank You!