The goal of this essay is to describe some leadership skills that are beneficial in the professional and personal life of the criminal justice professional. While some websites list ten criminal justice leadership skill qualifications, only those that pertain to the previously stated parameters of the professional and personal life will be included in this paper. (Various, 2010) The four qualities that meet the aforementioned criteria are communication skills; the ability to think and act quickly; being able to handle stress; and the ethics and virtue.
Communication skills are crucial to the criminal justice professional. One may be the smartest person in the department, but not excel to a leadership position due to lacking these skills. They must be able to make themselves clearly understood verbally in order to convey orders to those under his authority. Another aspect to verbal skills is the ability to explain any legal outcomes to the suspect, the public, or to speak to the media should the need arise. In this position of leadership, en may be asked to speak to a Rotary Club, teen outreach center, or other like functions.
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In today’s society, any mistakes can make the difference whether the speaker is considered a success or failure. Writing skills are crucial to the criminal justice professional. The ability to write reports, observations, parole reports, and press releases will often require many different written styles; all of which the professional must somewhat acquainted with. (Unknown, 2011) The ability to think and act quickly in any situation could mean the difference between life and death in some situations.
In the professional setting, how a hostage situation, a bomb threat, or possible terrorist action is handled is crucial. Mass casualties are possible if quick and decisive action, or a rash unthinking decision, is made. The criminal justice professional must have the ability to think ahead of the current situation and plan accordingly, much like one engaged in a game of Chess. (Surpass, 2008) In their personal life, there may be cases where they have a chance to change someone’s life simply by forewarning them of what they will face, if they persist on their present course.
One example that comes to mind is Chief Gillespie on the television series, “In the Heat of the Night”. A mentally disturbed woman was obsessed with one of his deputies. The chief observed her watching the deputy and his date, and assessed that she had intentions of harming or killing them both. He quietly approached her as a friend on a public street and calmly told her of his concern and offered to get her help. She accepted his offer and the chief took her to the clinic to get help. Stress is one aspect of the criminal justice professional leadership must be able to handle effectively.
Even on a ground floor so to speak of this field, the stress level can result in the officer taking his own life, divorcing his/her spouse, or alcoholism. As a leader this stress increases as they consider the effects their decisions will have on those under their authority; the possible repercussions that may come from those they answer to; and the resulting legal ramifications perpetuated by the decisions they make. Report by Herbert Coupon and a team of psychologist suggests a periodic evaluation of all officers and criminal justice professionals to possibly prevent the aforementioned negative impacts on them.
In regards to their personal life, other psychologists have stated that even being involved in the COPS program or volunteer activity related to their job may help the individual cope with stress. (Coupon, Exalted, Hood, & teal, 201 1) It may well be that this could improve the community perception of the local justice system as a whole, and spur them to help instead of hinder the police department as well as help the professional make a difference. Ethics is defined as the system of moral principles, and virtue is the application of these principles in one’s life. Collins, 2009) While it s not uncommon to find a plethora of incidents where police misconduct has highlighted, the majority of criminal justice professionals abide by a strong code of ethics and morality. It is this majority that strives to treat the people they come in contact with due respect to any cultural or racial differences that In Kohlrabi’s stages of moral development, each criminal justice may exist. Leadership professional must strive to obtain a higher level than those they have authority over.
This will mean forgoing any self interest, just doing what is required of them, or hoping for a reward for their actions. As previously stated n this paper, they must always make the right decision based on what is best for the majority of those involved. (Williams & Arraign, 2008) If the professional has strove to apply this in his personal life, it will bridge overt their professional life. They will be considered to be true leaders based upon this ability to make unbiased assessments in both areas of their lives.
In conclusion, the essays and reading for this class has basically said the same thing over and over from different perspectives and angles. The qualities touched on in this essay are all based on the last two addressed; those of ethics and virtue. In essence, if one is an ethical person they will also be a virtuous person. Michael Josephs once said, “Ethics is not about the way things are, it is about the way things ought to be. ” (Josephs, 2010) The criminal justice professional in a leadership position would do well to think on this regularly.