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Advice for a New Sergeant

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  • Advice for a New Sergeant

    Hello, my fellow LEO's

    I'm getting promoted really soon here, to the rank of Police Sergeant. I wanted to read up on some advice from those who have gone through the process, and are now "New Sergeants" themselves or from the "Veteran Sergeants".

    I want to become a great leader/supervisor, and I know that in order to achieve that goal, I must learn/listen from those who have gone through the transition themselves. Any comments or advice would greatly be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    What should I expect?
    What pitfalls should I avoid?
    Share a story about your first day as the "New Sergeant"
    What were the highs and lows during your process to becoming a Sergeant?


    LETS MAKE THIS THREAD FUN
    "I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'"

    President John F. Kennedy

  • #2
    I'm a lowly pleb in the grand scheme of things but sergeants should never forget their roots and what it's like to be one of the troops.

    Some of my colleagues draw a line between managers and leaders. Managers rely solely on their third stripe to assert their authority and like to tell people what to do and ride their backs about it. Leaders get their authority from respect for what they're doing and not treating their troops like idiots.

    I'm only five and a half years on but there are people who only have a year or two more than me who are sergeants or acting sergeants and my polite advice to them is to keep the troops on your side as much as possible. Same goes for any boss.

    Comment


    • #3
      Without going into a long dissertation, among many things, you need to be fair and impartial, and demonstrate not only to your Lt. that you are a leader, but demonstrate that by example to to the men and women you supervise.
      Retired

      Comment


      • #4
        Great advice!
        "I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.'"

        President John F. Kennedy

        Comment


        • #5
          General George Patton once said, "Always be willing to do everything you ask of those you command."

          I have that little quote prominently posted on the wall behind my desk where anyone walking into my office can see it. My guys all know that I will do anything they will.

          That one thing will gain you more respect from the "troops" than just about anything else you do.

          One of my guys was wolfing down a burger yesterday when he got a call for an incident. I told him to finish his lunch and I would take care of it for him. An hour later, I had taken the information, talked to witnesses, gotten statements, and finished the paper. (HATE when that happens. ) But he appreciated not having to finish a cold burger an hour later.

          If they've gotta walk through mud, not only be in the mud with them, but LEAD them through the mud.

          It'll pay off. Good luck in your new adventure, Sergeant.

          .
          "Yes sir, I know you have rights."
          "In fact, I know your rights better than you do!"

          Comment


          • #6
            In addition to the advice offered by my colleagues, I can add:
            Do not let the friendships you have developed with your co-workers effect your mission. It CAN be manageable, but it can also keep you from being the great leader you want to be. This goes back to retired telling you to be fair and impartial. Lines can blur; don't let them.

            Lead by example, err on the side of caution, and always, always do the right thing. Policies and SOPs are in place for a reason.

            “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.”

            Miyamoto Musashi

            “Life Is Hard, But It's Harder When You're Stupid”

            George V. Higgins (from The Friends of Eddie Coyle)

            Comment


            • #7
              #1 Remember where you came from
              #2 Remember you are now not "one of the guys"--Your mission has changed
              #3 Remember not to "dump" on your subordinates---If you catch it, you clean it.
              #4 Remember A boss leads from the rear, a LEADER leads from the front.
              #5 Remember that you too are a cop not just a supervisor
              #6 Remember to be a buffer between your troops and YOUR Command
              Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

              My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

              Comment


              • #8
                Having recently been in your situation I can say that the biggest oncern that I had was not forgetting where I came from. It is easy to remember that you represent to boss to the troops but always keep in mind that you also represent the troops to the boss. A good sergeant does both to the best of her ability.
                In God We Trust
                Everyone else we run local and NCIC

                Comment


                • #9
                  Great advice above in my underinformed opinion. First-level management is a tough job. Your subordinates are apt to be insubordinate and your supervisors are apt to be dictatorial. But you are very much needed by both your subordinates and your supervisors. Thanks for taking the responsibility, and for taking it seriously, as your asking questions about it indicates.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Praise in public, admonish in private. For every, "Oh crap" notation that I had to deliver, I tried to hand out 2 "Atta boys". If you let the troops know that you appreciate their hard work. They will deliver for you and make you look good.
                    When Society makes war on its police, it better be prepared to make friends of its criminals.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Advice from a troop:
                      1) Manage your own troops. Don't try to manage everyone else's.
                      2) If your troop is in the right, have his/her back.
                      3) Make decisions!

                      I can honestly say I've had amazing luck with getting good Sgts. But I have also seen on other shifts how a crappy Sgt can ruin the shift.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Facts of the matter is, as a supervisor, they need you and more importantly, you need them.

                        Don't forget that.
                        Captain Square Badge, reporting for duty!.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Being a supervisor is alot like being a parent. lol

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BNWS View Post
                            Being a supervisor is alot like being a parent. lol
                            and a lot of times the attitudes/behaviors you will be dealing with are similar to dealing with your kids
                            Since some people need to be told by notes in crayon .......Don't PM me with without prior permission. If you can't discuss the situation in the open forum ----it must not be that important

                            My new word for the day is FOCUS, when someone irritates you tell them to FOCUS

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              What should I expect?
                              Start with distance & distrust. Not you towards them, but them towards you...unless they already know you (I have no idea of your agency's size), it's going to take them time to get used to the idea of the new sergeant. If you beat out one of their friends, for the position, it will be worse. You HAVE to do a BETTER and DIFFERENT job from what they think the other guy/girl would've done.

                              What pitfalls should I avoid?
                              Becoming a "super" cop with one more stripe. If at all possible, avoid doing police work. If you can't avoid it, try and clean up the mess YOU create. Don't go looking for trouble on your own. If you land in something, ask for help cleaning it up and do your share in un-f--king it.

                              Share a story about your first day as the "New Sergeant"
                              Kept my mouth shut and learned about my new team mates. Made it a point NOT to mess with anything present for the first 30 days, unless it was unlawful, unethical, unsafe, or promoted tooth-decay. Only after 30 days of observations, and with careful explanations, did I seek to change things.

                              What were the highs and lows during your process to becoming a Sergeant?
                              I've forgotten, or blown off, the lows. Keep it positive. If you don't know your agency's awards & commendations procedures, learn them. If there's never been a formal program, CREATE ONE. Find out who thinks they've been, or better yet - who the GROUP thinks has been eff'ed over or ignored. Right some past wrongs if there are any. Face it, you're going to have to write bad paper at some point. What better way to have them know you're fair by writing POSITIVE paper beforehand?

                              Remember, too, that there are a couple of cops that no matter what you do, they will NEVER (for whatever reason) like or accept you. Sweep your side of the street clean, only, don't intrude upon theirs by calling them out for it. Even when they hate and despise you, if they save a life or solve a great caper, see that they're rewarded.
                              Last edited by Kieth M.; 06-16-2014, 06:45 PM.
                              "You're never fully dressed without a smile."

                              Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

                              Three things I know for sure: (1) No bad deed goes unrewarded, (2) No good deed goes unpunished, and (3) It is entirely possible to push the most devoted, loyal and caring person beyond the point where they no longer give a 5h!t.

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