Leadership in the guardian style requires a distinct set of skills. Effective leaders must prioritize building trust within the community while simultaneously fostering a positive and motivated work environment for their team as they implement new practices.
In this article, we will explore the differences between various policing philosophies and outline five essential skills that leaders must possess to be successful in the "guardian style" of policing.
Guardian vs warrior policing: What’s the difference?
Two different styles of policing that have gained attention in recent years are the "warrior" and "guardian" styles. The warrior style emphasizes the use of force and a military approach to law enforcement, while the guardian style prioritizes community engagement, de-escalation and protection of citizens' civil rights.
Advocates of the guardian style argue that it builds trust between the police and the community, while the warrior style can lead to excessive use of force and worsen tensions between law enforcement and citizens. Overall, the choice between these two styles of policing depends on the goals and values of the community being served.
For those interested in policing leadership, let’s take a look at the top skills and qualities that translate to success in the guardian style.
1. Community engagement
Community engagement is a critical skill for leaders in the guardian style of policing. Effective leaders must be able to establish and maintain positive relationships with the community, including vulnerable populations, to build trust and promote public safety.
Leaders must prioritize community engagement by listening to community members, addressing their concerns and collaborating to solve problems. Leaders must also be able to communicate effectively with the community to ensure that messages are clear and accessible.
2. Problem-solving and critical thinking
Problem-solving is a core skill for leaders in the guardian style of policing. Leaders must be able to identify community issues and work collaboratively with community members and other stakeholders to develop effective solutions. Effective problem-solving requires strong critical thinking and creativity. Leaders must be able to evaluate complex information, consider multiple perspectives and develop innovative strategies that align with community values and priorities.
3. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is an essential skill for leaders in the guardian style of policing. Leaders must be able to understand and manage their own emotions effectively and build positive relationships with their teams.
Emotional intelligence includes self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy and social skills. Leaders must be able to manage conflict, build trust and create a positive work environment for their teams. Emotional intelligence also allows leaders to connect with community members, understand their needs, and work collaboratively to address them.
4. Collaboration skills
Collaboration is a critical skill for leaders in the guardian style of policing. Leaders must be able to work effectively with other agencies, community organizations, and stakeholders to achieve common goals.
Effective collaboration requires strong communication skills, relationship-building, and a willingness to consider multiple perspectives. Leaders must be able to negotiate effectively, build consensus, and develop collaborative solutions that benefit the community.
5. Motivational leadership skills
Effective leaders must be able to set clear expectations, provide feedback, and recognize and reward high performance in their teams. This involves coaching and developing team members, delegating effectively, and promoting a culture of continuous improvement. Leaders must also be able to make tough decisions, manage risk, and balance the needs of the community with the needs of their teams.
Leadership in the guardian style of policing requires a unique set of skills that enable leaders to build trust with the community, prioritize public safety, and foster a positive work environment for their teams. By developing these skills, leaders can promote positive change in their departments, improve public safety and build trust between law enforcement and the community.
For those interested in managerial roles in policing, ASU CareerCatalyst’s Policing Leadership and Management certificate program is a perfect next step. The program aims to equip you with the knowledge and tools to lead in a modern, guardian-centered model of policing — and increase your earning potential as well. Click here to learn more about the Policing Leadership and Management certificate program.