Better Leaders Create Better Followers

One of the biggest questions new leaders ask themselves is “how can I make my troops better?” If you are not asking this question, you probably shouldn’t be a leader. Unfortunately, too many leaders focus on finding new training, more equipment, and other cost-prohibitive measures to achieve this goal when all they need to do is improve themselves.

As a follower I wanted to be the best foot soldier possible, in fact, there was a time when this was the whole of my career goals. Eventually, the opportunity to advance was offered, and I took it. Not only was it good for my family and me but I hoped it would be good for my fellow officers as well. You see I had experienced some poor leaders through my career, did not want to see that continue and thought I could help change from higher up the ladder. Now that I am closer to the top of the ladder than the bottom, and the end of my career than the beginning, I like to think I was right.

So, how did I achieve what I hope were positive changes for those below me? Sure, I advocated on their behalf when possible arguing for better equipment & training. But more importantly, I tried to be the best leader possible and set the best example possible. By doing this, I set the stage for those just starting out to see what was expected, what was possible and how to achieve both. More importantly, I tried to lead by example by doing the right thing, for the right reason.

Yes, I regret not being able to provide all the trinkets and training officers want. But, as we all know, money is an object, and those items all cost money. But being professional, moral and ethical have not a monetary cost, but their value is unmeasurable. That is what every leader can provide, and no accountant or bean counter can stop you, and whether or not it is realized, the return is worth far more than money as well.

Having a field force that is guided by principle is ultimately going to reduce conflicts, both internally and with the public, and increase morale & productivity. This will decrease lawsuits, discipline, and public complaints – all of which can eventually result in more money being made available for the other more tangible benefits the officer is looking for.

Be a good leader, and you will create good followers.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Tom Burrell

Tom enlisted in the US Marine Corps Reserves in 1987. Following service in Desert Storm, he transitioned to active duty with the US Coast Guard. In 1997 he left the USCG to pursue a position in conservation & maritime law enforcement. Tom is currently a Captain and he oversees several programs, including his agency investigation unit. He is also a training instructor in several areas including firearms, defensive tactics and first aid/CPR. In 2006 Tom received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Harrisburg Area Community College and in 2010 a Bachelor’s Degree from Penn State University.
Tom Burrell
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