Command Issue September 2017

Leaders Know How to Develop Other Leaders

Book Review by Mark Field

U.S. demographics are shifting, as is the average age of police officers. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the average American police officer as 39.6 years old. Since most officers are eligible to retire at 50 years of age with 20 years of service, you can easily project the personnel outlook for your agency.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics found that first-line, mid-level, and upper management leadership constitutes 12.2 % of most police departments.
This begs the question: What are you doing to prepare your organization for the inevitable cyclical gains-and-losses columns due to appear on your leadership personnel roster?

No better example of multiplying leaders exists than the Lakewood, CO Police Department, from which 74 police chiefs and sheriffs emerged over a 46-year span, including Illinois’ own: Chief Howard Cornell (Streamwood); Chief David Dial (Naperville); Chief Leon Kutzke (Carpentersville & Lombard); and Chief Joseph Moffitt (Park Ridge).

A leader’s most important task is to acquire and keep good people, and make leaders out of them. This is because in any organization, people are the only assets that can continually appreciate. Technology becomes outdated, stations deteriorate, and squad cars wear down. But people can grow, develop, and become more productive and effective – if they have a good leader who understands their value.

Organizations cannot increase their value or productivity without people. An organization’s growth is directly related to its personnel potential.
This is the overarching message of John Maxwell’s Developing the Leaders Around You: a good leader is someone who knows how to develop other leaders. This book relates practical techniques and gives tremendous insights on becoming a truly successful leader.

Maxwell convinces readers that a good leader is someone who surrounds themselves with other leaders. A good leader finds the best people, and then develops them into the best leaders that they can be.

Leaders who mentor potential leaders multiply their effectiveness. Developed leaders expand and enhance the success and future of any organization. Therefore, if you develop new leaders, you directly contribute to this goal.

Before reading this book, you may think that developing potential leaders could threaten your leadership. But true leaders know how to inspire and create new leaders. They have faith in other people’s leadership abilities and therefore are not threatened by people with great potential.
“A leader’s success can be defined as the maximum utilization of the abilities of those under him/her,” Maxwell contends.

In addition to discussing why leaders need to reproduce leaders, Maxwell provides practical advice and suggestions about:

  • Identifying Potential Leaders
  • Qualities to Look for in a Leader
  • Creating a Climate for Potential Leaders
  • Nurturing Potential Leaders
  • Equipping Potential Leaders
  • Developing Potential Leaders: Sustaining Growth
  • Levels of Leadership Growth
  • Paying the Leadership Price
  • Be Personally Secure as a Leader
  • Forming and Coaching a Dream Team of Leaders

This book is one of my favorites, an easy and powerful read, and one of the most practical leadership books I’ve read.