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While any sphere needs competent and effective leaders, the criminal justice system is notable for its specific requirements as chiefs are responsible for making decisions that will affect all populations. They not only have to solve numerous problems but also do their best to improve the system and change the current situation for the better. As a result, choosing a proper leadership style becomes important. This paper examines two letters from Mayor D.L. Plusquellic and Chief of Police J. Nice that are connected with public opinion and the assistance request.
In these letters, the cooperation with the FBI is considered to be a potentially effective solution, and both leaders draw attention to this fact asking to change the federal government’s policy (Akron Policy Change Request 1). In this example, the leadership style of Akron’s Mayor and Police Chief is discussed and criticized.
First and foremost, one should understand the contents of the term “leadership style.” Although much work has been done in this sphere and different approaches have been developed and represented in academic sources, there is no unanimous agreement. According to the Lewins’ framework, one of the most wide-spread classifications, there are democratic, autocratic, and Laissez-faire leadership styles (Harvey 91).
Another conception is transformational leadership. The choice of this type seems advantageous. This preference is explained by the situation in which the mayor and police chief act. As has been mentioned above, both of them are concerned with the recent shooting accidents. Thus, they seek for collaboration with the FBI and want to implement a considerable change that is likely to affect the whole population and organization and transform the existing order to achieve this goal. In this respect, it is necessary to scrutinize what the transformational leadership model implicates in general and within the criminal justice system.
Transformational leadership has been the object of interest in recent years. A large body of literature pertaining to this type of leadership in different professional spheres exists. Researchers state that this approach emerged as the most significant and influential framework for the present-day leaders (Cleavenger and Munyon 352). It is emphasized that charismatic and inspirational leadership, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration are integrated (Wrench and Punyanunt-Carter 300).
Charisma, in the modern sense of this term, implies the “star quality” (Roe 126). To put it bluntly, a charismatic leader shows the power to be regarded as an exceptional individual by other people. The set of qualities that characterizes a leader includes the traits and abilities associated with power and dominance. Then, in terms of intellectual stimulation, a good leader encourages employees to be creative and open to innovations. Critical thinking skills play a significant role: the values and traditions of an organization are not to be blindly accepted, on the contrary, transformational leaders foster challenging the present regime and finding new opportunities to enhance the performance.
As for the individualized consideration, an ideal leader helps each person unlock their potential and apply their knowledge and skills in the best possible way. If necessary, a leader should set examples and give tasks on the one-to-one basis to followers to help alter their motivations, aims, and responsibilities as well as to satisfy the current needs of a company (Wrench and Punyanunt-Carter 303). Apart from these characteristics, the recent research promotes trust as the significant factor due to which one can mediate the outcomes of the transformational leadership on staff performance, particularly in teamwork (Chou et al. par. 4).
It means that proper transformational leadership is impossible without every person’s confidence in their leader provided that this trust is cognitive-based. The high level of trust is beneficial since the team and organizational efficiency increases.
Mayor D.L. Plusquellic’s Leadership
In the context of the transformational leadership, it is possible to analyze the approach adopted by D.L. Plusquellic, the mayor of Akron. Judging by his letter, one may assume that he is a perfect example of a transformational leader within the criminal justice system because he addresses the components of this leadership style discussed in the previous section.
Apparently, it is quite difficult to educe direct information concerning the mayor’s charisma. However, a few facts give some ground to consider him a charismatic person. He states that he personally asked the FBI to take over cases where shooting happened (Akron Policy Change Request 1). As he prefers face-to-face communication to solve a very important problem, he is an accomplished communicator with a great probability. Another fact is that, despite many obstacles, he managed to “get outside prosecutors to volunteer to take over the investigation” (Akron Policy Change Request 1). Thus, Mr. Plusquellic can persuade people, and his charisma is probably one of his key instruments.
While the inspiration leadership qualities cannot be traced in this letter, intellectual stimulation is one of the strongest points. The mayor thoroughly describes the experience of the past and offers substantial evidence to support his opinion. Further, individualized consideration manifests itself in Mr. Plusquellic’s attention to sensitive police incidents, such as shooting because each specific case requires the individual approach. Finally, trust becomes the final goal for the mayor since he conveys the idea that the society seeks for justice and does not fully believe the police throughout his letter.
Chief of Police Nice’s Leadership
The same model of transformational leadership is relevant to Mr. Nice’s activities. However, the balance among the main components is different. Charisma is more evident in this letter: he draws attention to the collaboration with the FBI and connects this issue with his opinion. He acts accurately and politely and underlines that he does not want to question the authority of the FBI superiors. Thus, the combination of respect and stating one’s purpose is to be advantageous.
As for the inspirational component, it is intertwined with the intellectual stimulation addressed to the authorities. On the one hand, Mr. Nice inspires the addressee suggesting new programs and measures, for instance, setting up a pilot program “that would be a work in progress, experimenting with the processes in order to develop a working model for other large cities” (Akron Policy Change Request 2). On the other hand, the same statement refers to the intellectual stimulation. The chief suggests his idea and appeals to the reasoning power.
Finally, individualized consideration is also present in Mr. Nice’s letter. He considers the staff members’ experience and attitudes and wants the departments to find common ground. He also cares about the confidence in the community.
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To sum up, both Mayor D.L. Plusquellic and Chief of Police J. Nice of Akron have the transformational leadership style. Their letters demonstrate that they use similar components of the style: charismatic and inspirational leadership, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. However, there are slight correlational differences in the way they implement them since the mayor addresses intellectual issues to a greater extent while the Chief of Police is more charismatic.
Akron Policy Change Request. 2014. Web.
Chou, Huey-Wen, Yu-Hsun Lin, Hsiu-Hua Chang, and Wen-Wei Chuang. “Transformational Leadership and Team Performance.” SAGE Open 3.3 (2013): 1-10. Sage Journals. Web.
Cleavenger, Dean J., and Timothy P. Munyon. “It’s How You Frame It: Transformational Leadership and the Meaning of Work.” Business Horizons 56.3 (2013): 351-360. Print.
Harvey, Michael. Interactional Leadership and How to Coach It: The Art of the Choice-Focused Leader. New York: Routledge, 2014. Print.
Roe, Kevin. Leadership: Practice and Perspectives. New York: OUP Oxford, 2014. Print.
Wrench, Jason S., and Narissra Punyanunt-Carter. An Introduction to Organizational Communication. Washington, DC: Flat World Knowledge, Inc., 2015. Print.