As a leader in the police service there has never been a more important time to be able to lead a team of confident, capable and engaged people to achieve a massive task.

It’s 5 pm on a cold, foggy and damp afternoon in March 2018, in inner London. Jim is a police constable who has 6 jobs waiting in line for him to attend. An old lady has been burgled; a teenager has been hit by a gang member after school. There’s a small road traffic accident to attend and three cars have been broken into. His shift only started at 4pm. He is already sweating. But so is his sergeant and the Inspector as they know it is going to get even harder throughout the night and 2 officers are off sick with stress, and one has just left and got a job in a supermarket instead.

The budgets have been cut to breaking point; volunteers are being drafted in to carry out supporting functions. Specials are being utilised in roles that were once carried out by paid officers, and police stations have been shut and sold. Police as we know it is dying a quick death!

As a leader in the police service there has never been a more important time to be able to lead a team of confident, capable and engaged people to achieve a massive task. But the historically bureaucratic task focused machine has worn down the people within, losing the enthusiasm and desire to step up and lead.

This is no difference in many other public sector organisations too - NHS for example. The spotlight is on and the heat is rising.

What hope is there for the future of the Police and the NHS? Will this be the Death of Policing as we know it? And will it continue to be a very poorly NHS indeed?

But maybe there is something that can be done? What about those people that are left?

It is impossible to work harder and longer – there are only 24 hrs in the day. So what can make the difference? What is that 999 factor that can bring the spark of life back?

I believe we need to create something so different from what is there now. Not just the functional changes, the shape, but the fundamental way in which the leaders and the people in the business work.

Imagine a culture of trust and confidence to lead. Enthusiastic, engaged souls, focused on the job in hand and knowing where they fit in to the bigger picture. How can these leaders pull it out of the bag? How will they prevent the demise of their organisation and will they be able to step up and do what it takes?

I believe this is where coaching will be the 4th emergency service to this and other types of organisations under pressure.

It is not by “push” management that we will see change. We need to get people to think differently, take ownership and find solutions that the “mother ship” cannot even know might exist. We need a new style of leadership and coaching those people will enable them to develop into confident, energised and respected leaders. They will inspire change in others and will begin to develop a new kind of worker in the organisation. One that wants to make a difference, take a risk and step up to speak and do.

Practical and accessible leadership is the key to engaging people in these organisations. What if we asked just 6 questions of ourselves as leaders?

Do I have these 6 elements when I lead my team?

  • Focus & Direction
  • Engagement
  • Skill in the team
  • Mindset
  • Impact
  • System

If I miss out on even one of these areas, I fail as a leader in enabling my teams to step up and take action. As coaches, if we focus on these areas and the issues that come out from them when working with leaders we will create massive impact on results. If we can awaken the knowledge and experience of the professionals in the public sector and couple it with coaching them towards becoming masters of these 6 questions and creators of Team Performance in their own areas then we will help to turn these organisations into Team Performance Engines, full of life and fuel for the future. If we want to make a difference, become that 4th emergency service then answer that call!

Julie is a Leadership and Teams Specialist and developer of the Team Performance Engine™ Programme for accessible and practical Leadership.

For more information contact Julie on

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