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A few Thoughts on Leadership
By Joe Bouchard
Published: 03/14/2011

Alien leader Take me to your Leader
This sounds like a dated reference concerning visiting extraterrestrials. However, I mean this in a (if you would kindly excuse the pun) more down-to-earth manner. It's an invitation to assess the type of leaders we want to follow.

Naturally, every part of the spectrum of the work life needs good leaders. However, in corrections, leadership is far more important. Quite simply, this is because lives are at stake. The safety of the public would be in question without a good leadership. In addition, we are sworn to maintain order. Without strong leadership, all those necessary things are less attainable, if not impossible.

Without question there are many types of studies that report the types of leadership qualities most important to us. In the spirit of that I'm conducting a one-person study. Here some live thoughts on leadership. In other words, I am going to take you to my ideal leader.

Leaders are human. It's very easy to forget this as we depend upon infallible commanders. It's natural but unfortunate that we lose sight of our own flaws and expect more of others. This does not condone that we overlook leadership which is a complete wreck. Rather, I advocate the variety of leader that grows and learns. Besides, if your leader starts off perfect, how can your leader grow and learn.

Versatility in communication is an important aspect of leadership. The archetypal good leader that I envision is good with all groups of people. They should have the ability to speak well with line level staff, prisoners, the public, and high level administrators.

Honesty is so important in leadership. The optimal leader can admit when they have made an error. This buttresses the section of this essay about leaders as human. It's refreshing when leaders honestly assess themselves and work on their flaws while enhancing their assets.

Honest assessment of others is important for leader. If they can do that with themselves is more likely that they'll be able to honestly assess those who work under them. It is a sense of moderation. That is to say, the leader should not blindly dole out straight A's nor fail everyone because it's easy to do. Rather the bell shaped curve of ability should be well represented in assessing.

Friendly but detached is another preferred quality. Nepotism and favoritism are practices that can assail the good reputation of an otherwise strong leader. It all boils down to perceptions of fairness. If the leader is strongly attached to subordinate inside or outside of work, questions of integrity will always rise.

A good leader should be realistic. This is the type of person who doesn't crumble when a plan fails. Rather, the dust themselves off and repair what they can. This goes hand in hand with honesty – the ability to acknowledge and repair mistakes that they have made rather than to conceal.

Leaders live a longer leader life when they are able to utilize stress management techniques. Whether it be a winning sense of humor, physical activity, or relaxation techniques, ways to combat the stresses of leading others is crucial.

There are many varieties of leaders. There are line level leaders, de facto leaders, and official supervisors to name a few. It takes a wonderful mix of talent to guide the actions of hundreds of diverse personalities in a potentially volatile environment such as a correctional facility. There is more than meets the eye when guiding others. And with so many things said and evolved human beings, the truth runs deeper than the surface. Corrections runs well with good leaders.

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