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Old October 26, 2008, 12:24 PM   #1
JohnH1963
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Managing those with weapons

I have had the pleasure of managing and being managed. In my experience managing people is challenging. Its difficult to get people to do what you want them to do exactly. You could "whiteboard" a concept in front of someone and then come back to explain the same process in different ways and they still won't "get it".

Then you can never truly be "friends" with the people you are managing for different reasons. If you are "friends" with your direct reports then what happens is they believe its ok not to do something or dont take what you say seriously each time. As a manager, I have learned that your direct reports need to respect you more then liking you if that makes sense.

Oh the world of management...

So my question is how does a police administrator or military officer manage those with weaponry? The people I managed did not carry weaponry. If the people I managed made a mistake then it didnt matter, the earth would not turn over. However, if a person with a weapon does not follow your orders or makes a mistake then lives are effected.
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Old October 26, 2008, 12:30 PM   #2
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Old October 26, 2008, 12:39 PM   #3
kraigwy
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You manage people with weapons just like you manage everyone else.

On the other hand, in coaching rifle and pistol teams I found it easier to coach military personal, you have more control. In coaching civilian teams, you really dont have control with those who second guess you. With military shooters you can take away their spotting scopes so they have to depend on the coach. That dosnt float with civilians. You just cant take personal gear and throw it over the burm. With miliary shooters I could ban them from shooting (for the military), I controlled their entry to matches, orders, travel and pay.

I was also a LE firearms instructor. Cops are differant, with most getting them to qualify is like pulling teeth. Most just dont care. The are perfectly satisified with bearly qualifying. Not much you can do. As a company commander I had more control. If I though some one could do better, I could hold them on the range 24/7.

However I disagree with managing and not being friends. A good manage can manage friends and enemies a like. Just takes differant teckneques.
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Old October 26, 2008, 12:41 PM   #4
JohnH1963
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When I was enlisted in the military many years ago, I respected the people above me basically because I had to. There existed the "Wall of Shame" in most of the places where I worked. The wall would contain in great detail the actions they took against those who did wrong with the "Article 15s" hanging prominently for all to see. These walls were usually placed in the high traffic areas so more people could see them.

I remember at Ft Benning at Airborne training the entire training company would be called to attention and there would be the "duffel bag drag". The First Sgt would be standing in the background yelling "dont be this guy" as the dragger they were terminating from the training would be struggling with his belongings in the early morning.

These tactics were enough for me to respect leadership.

Outside of the military, I learned these management tactics dont work and so I wonder how the police keep their people in-line.
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Old October 26, 2008, 12:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
When I was enlisted in the military many years ago, I respected the people above me basically because I had to
When I was in, I learned that stupidity and dishonor knows no rank.

In some ways, no different from the real (civilian) world.

To earn respect, you have to give respect.
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Old October 26, 2008, 01:54 PM   #6
JohnH1963
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In regards to the coaching at the military range, I remember that unqualified or underqualified personel were not able to wear the camo covers on their Kevlars.

This placed some peer pressure on some of the guys. The ones who could not make the standard would walk around with the olive drab kevlars sticking out amongst the group. I have heard of other tricks at the military range such as a big X on the helmet signifying you didnt qualify.

The days of negative reinforcement...
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Old October 27, 2008, 11:28 AM   #7
TwoXForr
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I am not sure what you are asking. Are you asking how one manages people with guns (assuming it is different than other persons) or are you asking how does a Manager ensure all directives and standards are followed.

Please clarify your question a bit more.
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Old October 27, 2008, 12:35 PM   #8
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Are you assuming that management techniques should differ with armed employees because of the possibility of them going "postal"?

If so, the answer is no. I commanded the 3rd watch of a mid-sized city police department for around 6 years (retired August 29. Yeehaw!! )
Cops can be a cynical, hard-nosed bunch to manage .

Heyduke said respect. That's correct, but there's two kinds of respect. I can demand that my officers respect my rank, but respect for me as a person has to be earned, and that ain't easy. It is, however, essential for a good supervisor.

A mediocre supervisor can throw orders right and left, and be a "my way or the highway" kind of guy, and get the job done, but he'll never get 100% from his people.

A good supervisor knows how to motivate his people, so that they want to do the job, but that can only be done if they respect both the rank and the person, and that can only be done if that respect is mutual.

To that end, I didn't micromanage them, and I believe in public praise, and private discipline. I showed them trust until or unless they proved they couldn't be trusted. And, I didn't sweat the small stuff. I cared.

The list goes on, but the bottom line is, a unit with pride and high morale is far less likely to have a "postal" incident than a unit commanded by someone that simply barks orders and doesn't give a hoot about his people, armed or not.
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Old October 27, 2008, 01:52 PM   #9
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Capt Charlie nails it pretty well here.

Quote:
A mediocre supervisor can throw orders right and left, and be a "my way or the highway" kind of guy, and get the job done, but he'll never get 100% from his people.

A good supervisor knows how to motivate his people, so that they want to do the job, but that can only be done if they respect both the rank and the person, and that can only be done if that respect is mutual.

To that end, I didn't micromanage them, and I believe in public praise, and private discipline. I showed them trust until or unless they proved they couldn't be trusted. And, I didn't sweat the small stuff. I cared.
I learned a long time ago a simple reminder for managers:
A good manager can step on your toes without messing up your shine.

Capt Charlie is correct when he says one can demand respect for rank, but personal respect must be earned. One salutes a 2nd-louie out of respect for his rank, not his person (with rare exceptions). One does not salute a Sergeant, but many get respect because they have earned it many times over.

One of the best bosses I ever had would bring a mistake to your attention. But no matter how simple or serious, once he was done chewing your tail, by the time the session ended you knew he was fair, honest and on your side.

Bud did this by using a few principles;
- People make mistakes. It's human nature.
- Investigate first, criticize, then help the employee solve the problem.
- Always lead - lead them to the correct solution but let them implement it to learn.
- Praise in public, criticize in private.
- Keep things in perspective and maintain a sense of humor

When a problem comes up, a good manager first investigates it. There may have been a valid reason the mistake was made. Criticize as appropriate then discuss what the proper solution should be. Ask questions and make the employee think it through as you would. Then let them spearhead the corrective actions with your support.

This builds respect for your boss. It helps if he has a sense of humor and you know how he uses it. I had one boss who would say "Well! Good afternoon!" to anyone arriving 2-3 minutes late. But he did it with a laugh in his voice to let you know he noticed, but it's not significant. When he asked "Why were you late today?" was when he was serious.

If you're the kind of boss that your subordinates will come to openly and say "I'm not sure how to handle this and I need your advice." then you're probably doing a good job. Likewise when they tell you about some issue brewing elsewhere and give you a "heads up" so you don't get blindsided by it.

If your subordinates are constantly asking for things in writing or sending you e-Mails confirming your instructions, chances are they are in CYA mode and don't have a lot of trust in your verbal communications.
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Old October 28, 2008, 01:53 AM   #10
JohnH1963
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Im not talking about the officers going postal, but asking how it is to coach a group of people on different weapons exercises and weapons in general.

Coaching a group of people through a specific process can be fairly challenging. When I managed people, it would sometimes be a daunting task and not everyone would "get it" all at once. Some people "get it" through a simple half-hour of whiteboarding and no further instruction is needed. Some people "get it", but dont really want to follow your direction. Then there are those who want to follow direction, but dont really "get it" and need much more instruction then a simple whiteboarding. Then there are the ones that never really "get it"...the list goes on....However, with the people I managed, it didnt matter if mistakes were made on occasion because no one got hurt and there was always second-chances to improve.

Lets say, for example, the department changes from a SIG P226 in 9mm to a Glock 21 in .45. Lets say your in charge of a small group of officers that just made the change and need to coach them on the use, care, etc. of the new weapon and qualify them at the range. I can only imagine how daunting this management task can be...
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Old October 28, 2008, 02:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Lets say, for example, the department changes from a SIG P226 in 9mm to a Glock 21 in .45. Lets say your in charge of a small group of officers that just made the change and need to coach them on the use, care, etc. of the new weapon and qualify them at the range
Reminds me of the old complaint... The Chiefs pick the scalping knives, the braves get to carry them, even if the point reaches the ground!
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Old October 28, 2008, 02:07 PM   #12
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I had a supervisor that was as into guns as I. Needless to say, we were friends as well as coworkers. He generally didn't need to direct me much as he considered me a "self-starter." I had a superintendant that I was fairly close to as well. I respected him enough that if made a mistake, I was worried more about disappointing him, rather than any punitive actions by the company. Both of these gentlemen were the rare specimen that people hope for as managers, and I still keep in touch with them even though I am retired.

Friends can be managers and managers can be friends. It's important, though, that everyone have the same work ethic.
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Old October 30, 2008, 03:02 AM   #13
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OK I have had the priveledge as a young man to manage a group of 20 volunteers to work with me. Within the first week 15 of the 20 wanted to unvolunteer themselves because basically I was being a weenie. I was steamrolling them... not letting them do their jobs and micro-managing them.

1. Let them do their jobs and comunicate what you expect from them.

2. If they arent doing what you need them to do .... give them direction. Help them correct their own deficiencies and let them know that their is consequences to not correcting what you want from them.

3. Be fair ... treat the people working for you the way you would want to be treated. I guess this falls under the respect category.

4. I have always demanded respect because thats what I have learned to give in the begining... it when they lose it and have to earn my respect back is the hard part.

5. 4p's Praise in Public... Punish in Private.

6. Lead by example....cant get on someone for not making muster if you stroll in 10 minuites after it starts

7. Communicate both ways....some of your subordinates might have good ideas. I had a Senior Chief in the Navy that said " Dont come to me with a problem unless you have a possible solution on how to fix it ". I know you are saying..Then whats the point you have solved it... well no .. it may have been tried maybe not... but at least you were thinking on your feet.

If you think of it in these terms in my opinion it doesnt matter if they are armed or not... arent weapons just a tool anyway. OK you run a factory... 100 ton press for stamping machine parts.. new equipment... your operator drops the ball on training and makes it unsafe and a huge piece of steel flies from the press and injures someone. You work in a fertilizer factory and one of your employee's does something silly and the whole warehouse of Ammonium nitrate goes KAAABOOM and levels half the town it in. Its the same thing as the person in the military. Accidents happen... friendly fire... imagine being involved in that ugly scenario. If you take care of your people usually your people will find a way to say ... ummm wouldnt that be bad... and if you are communicating with them ... they may just save your glutious maximus...
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