Credible Leadership Development White Paper

Credible Leadership Development White Paper Copyright © 2023-2024. Every Officer Is A Leader. All Rights Reserved. Page: 2 of 6 1.2.1 Why Aren’t All Leadership Programs Skills-Based? Historically, the study of leadership has largely been an academic affair with leadership theories being in focus. Since the 1960’s, two streams of learning at the university level where the skills have been trained, are social work programs and counselling programs. Competence, however, is usually verified only if a professional master’s level degree has been attained and certification standards are passed. To earn a master’s degree in counseling or social work there is usually a required Field Practice assignment where the skills are verified. Skills verification is generally necessary since, similar to medicine, dentistry, and nursing programs, this advanced degree may allow certification that includes the right to legally practice in the jurisdiction where you might want to live. To the best of our knowledge, the one exception to this is in the Criminal Justice Program in British Columbia at the University of the Fraser Valley. Since 1976, this Canadian university has housed competencybased courses and two field practice assignments that verify competence in specific skills. This competence is required for a two-year Diploma in Criminal Justice, in addition to a 4-year degree. Students who enrol in the MA program are expected to have these skills well-developed. 1.2.2 But These Skills Are Life-Skills that Everyone Needs – Why Aren’t These Skills Taught in High School, Universities, Colleges or in other Support Organizations? Teachers can’t teach what they haven’t learned. Because teachers are not taught these skills in their teacher training, the school curriculum assumes that these life skills (e.g., self-management, communication and problem-solving) should be learned at home or on the playground or on the job, by trial and error. Most curriculum decision-makers assume these skills are “personal” skills that don’t belong in the public curriculum. 1.3 A New Paradigm Emerges for Police Education 1.3.1 What Leadership Skills Do Learners Have Before Training? 1.3.1.1 Historical Background In the late 1970’s, when Dr. Anderson taught the communication and problem-solving skills in a leadership night class, we observed the following: 1. Over 85% of the students (including many police officers) who did a video of them trying to assist someone to solve a problem for 15 minutes: a. did not engage in active listening, b. demonstrated little to no accurate empathy, and/or c. gave premature advice to help solve a problem which was never specified (i.e. “have you tried this, or that?”). For the first few years, we did a pre-post video to make sure that it was 15% of the people who performed well. By the end of the course, we were able to coach the 85% who didn’t do well in their initial video. At the end of the course, we personally reviewed all of the videos to determine if the skill acquisition had occurred compared to the videos that were recorded at the beginning of the course. We were able to verify that over 95% of the people who completed the full 45 hours of instruction and practice were able to acquire and demonstrate all 12 of the communication skills and all 12 problem-solving skills, at least at the level they could continue to develop it after the course was completed.

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