"Often, we think the chain of command is a pyramid that goes up. In reality, it is upside down. "
Hello Laramie County and welcome to another addition of Tuesdays Topics. Today I will discuss my thoughts on leading by example. Over my 27-year career, I honed my leadership skills centered on leading by example and my belief in servant leadership. At each stage as I advanced in rank, I ensured that anything I asked my troops to do I would be willing to do myself and did. This allowed me to earn their trust knowing that in any situation, they could count on me to work shoulder to shoulder with them.
As Captain of the jail, I continue to work side by side with the deputies and civilian staff and when necessary, work in the housing units, courts, or anywhere else I am needed. It is no secret that the jail staffing is a big issue, and it will take some time to fill the open positions now that we have secured raises to once again be competitive in attracting quality applicants. In the meantime, it will take all of us working together to get the job done.
In my opinion, leading by example is only a piece of what makes an effective leader, I am also a firm believer in servant leadership and follow the various tenants that make up this style of leadership to include valuing people for who they are and not just what they can do for this agency, staying humble and always putting staff first over my own interests, being a good listener and making every effort to understand their needs. Placing my trust in the staff and empowering them to step out of their comfort zone and try new things, safe in the knowledge that should they falter along the way I will be there to catch them and help them grow. Sometimes though being a leader also means making the hard decisions when mentoring and corrective actions do not work and a staff member continues to violate policy, act in an in appropriate manner or is just not cut out to work in law enforcement. In these instances, a leader must make the decision for the good of the staff and agency to terminate the employee.
I truly care about all the staff I work with, even those who can be challenging at times and only want the best for them. My entire life has been spent in one way or another in some type of service whether to my family, my church, my community, or the staff of this agency.
One of the deputies described my leadership in the following way:
"A leader leads by example and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Often, we think the chain of command is a pyramid that goes up. In reality, it is upside down. The leader is there for everyone. We have been short staffed and Don has helped be that missing piece when we need it the most to alleviate stress and the workload from deputies having to man two pods at a time. Thank you for always being there for us working the pyramid how it was designed too."
If the voters of Laramie County bless me with their vote on August 16thand November 8th, I pledge to continue my service to you as your next sheriff. You will see me out in the various communities that make up this amazing county working shoulder to shoulder with the deputies and other staff to make Laramie County a great place to live and raise a family.
Thanks for reading and God Bless!