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Talent Wasted=Talent Leaving

Leaders Must Leverage Their Most Talented Employees
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Law Enforcement has a talent problem but not in the way you may think. The problem is that many of our leaders are wasting it and when talent goes unused, talent will either leave or dedicate their time and energy away from the job. 

To describe the problem, I want to tell the true story of Mark and it’s an all too familiar story in this profession. A great cop, Mark had a multitude of talents outside of policing. One of those was communication and public relations. He had a college degree in it and used it away from the job with various non-profit organizations he was involved with. 

After 15 years with his agency, his dream job came open…The Public Information Officer. Everyone on the department knew that Mark was made for this job and that was likely the reason he was the only applicant to the position. Unfortunately for Mark, there was a decision maker that didn’t like him. Who knows why and it certainly wasn’t because he didn’t work hard or get along with everyone.

The position was pulled back, the rank changed and Mark was out. 

A year later, Mark left the job and took his talents elsewhere. 

Mark became an Entrepreneur and maximized his talent and his passion. 

Most reading this likely know someone like my friend and unlike the private industry, weak law enforcement leaders have become accustomed to ignoring their employees and their talents because of the pension system. 

They don’t fear anyone would actually leave but times have changed and the new generation could care less about a small check 30 years from now. They are talented and if we don’t mold those talents to the job, they will simply walk away. 

It’s already happening. 

Embrace The Intrapreneur 

The private industry has long understood that if they don’t place the right person in the right position, their retention and thus their productivity and profit will suffer. They embrace what is commonly referred to as the “intrapreneur.”

You could call them the “hard chargers,” the “game changers”, or the “difference makers.” 

Whatever you call them, you better recognize them and put them to work in an environment where their talents can be maximized. 

It’s a “win/win” scenario. 

The agency will thrive and your employees will be satisfied and work hard. That’s called “cruise control” for a leader but it is rare in law enforcement. 

Just like Mark, I hear stories every week from great cops that have been minimized. They have either been told to quit doing the job they love or placed in a position they hate because they work for a coward. 

The private industry uses intrapreneurs to refine processes and generate new ideas. They help get “buy-in” from the stakeholders and they help develop and execute new initiatives. They are used to drive innovation and their skills are used within the organization to ,make the organization better. 

Leverage The Intrapreneur

Agency greatness begins with the idea of leaders using the talent in front of them but they can’t do that until they know who is in front of them. As a leader, do you know the likes and dislikes of your employees? Do you know what they love to do away from the job? 

Do you really know them?

If you actually know them, then you will know where they need to be in your agency. You would know that if you need a website, who to turn to. You would know who loves sports and who would be the perfect selection for that police athletic league position or a host of other positions that we either hire out or pick our friend to do. 

If law enforcement doesn’t start embracing the concept of “putting the right people on the right bus,” that bus is going to leave the agency and some great men and women will be on it. 

Share Courageous Police Leadership with Travis Yates


Dr. Travis Yates retired as a commander with a large municipal police department after 30 years of service. He is the author of “The Courageous Police Leader: A Survival Guide for Combating Cowards, Chaos & Lies.” His risk management and leadership seminars have been taught to thousands of professionals across the world. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy with a Doctorate Degree in Strategic Leadership and the CEO of the Courageous Police Leadership Alliance.

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Courageous Police Leadership with Travis Yates
Courageous Police Leadership with Travis Yates