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The Case for Organizational Leadership Education in Corrections
By A. Allen-Jones, MPA - PHD Candiate in Organizational Leadership
Published: 01/23/2012

Recently, I engaged in a discussion with a fellow officer who talked about how much he disliked his job. I listen as he described his workplace environment, and gave vivid details of things that were in his words, “just plain wrong”. More than feeling sympathy for him, I began to feel dismayed over what seems to be a continued disregard for a serious inclusion of Organizational Leadership Certification for Corrections Administrators.

The importance of establishing and maintaining a healthy work environment should be what all administrators desire and work toward. Yet, comments, stories, and conversations, like that previously described, support a drive to work on administrators and line staff rapport. While every trade seems to bare problems among employer-employee working relations, the utter importance of ensuring that line officers can identify what “good leadership” details cannot be overstated.

The characteristics of corrections organizations includes establishing ranks that are awarded based on leadership. No officer can hold superiority rank without successfully maintaining his/her leadership responsibilities. However, administrators appear to be often accused of being out of touch with their staff, and not understanding daily operations of the organization. Instantly problems arise when there is only mid-level leadership and such leadership is not duplicated by administrators. Hypothetically, the lack of administration training in Organizational Leadership appears to be a contributor to ongoing administration and staff problem. Often, administration’s shortcomings seem to be brought to light only after a notable incident takes place. This does not mean that the vast number of administrator carry out their responsibilities ineffectively, but more so points out that there is a need to establish universal accountability standards that are applicable to administration as they are to Line Officers.

There is no doubt that Corrections Administrators have many responsibilities. However, when any one accepts a job on a corrections administration team, he/she must also be prepared to uptake initiatives that promote the most effective and efficient organization. By administrators simply participating in one or two seminars that profess to create “good managers and administrators” in a single day, is simply not enough. Essentially arbitrary seminar attendance does nothing more than introduce rather than educate. There is a great need for a steady and consistent development of thorough Organizational Leadership among Corrections Administrators. By educating administrators in the area of Organizational Leadership a concentration toward incorporating “good administrator “skills, and working toward managerial practices that create a strong and effective workplace environment. Staff should not only be comfortable communicating with administrators, but should also feel that the work that he/she does is an intricate part of the organization.

Great leaders understand that respect is earned. They do not demand it, nor do they ignore the role that each and every person on their team plays. Too many corrections staff has become disgruntled over a feeling of unworthiness. Strong leadership creates strong officers, and strong officers create an effective and efficient organization.

Corrections.com author, A Allen-Jones, holds a Master’s in Administration and Organizational Leadership, and is currently pursuing her PHD in Organizational Leadership. She can be contacted at aliceallenjones@mail.com

Other articles by Allen-Jones:


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  2. booch on 01/18/2012:

    Leadership and communications are inseparable. Our ability to energize, inspire, and arouse people to ever higher levels of performance, is directly related to our ability to communicate. Strong leaders are strong communicators. If my communication skills (especially verbal communication) are weak, I'll never be much of a leader. I may be a strong administrator, director, technician, team member, or manager. But without strong verbal communication skills, I'll be a weak leader. Unless I improve my communication skills, I'll become a victim of the shifting balance between managing things and leading people. Effective communication is no more a natural skill than leadership is a born trait. Very few powerful communicators just opened their mouths and let the words naturally flow out. Most leaders learned, developed, practiced, and refined their communication skills through a lot of hard work and conscientious effort. They learned how to sell and persuade. They learned how to infuse a well-formed case or logic with emotional appeal. They were able to light their logic on fire. A good example of a leader with these attributes is the late Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. The life he lived was inspired by the traits he exhibited early on and people were drawn to him not only by the principles he stood for but how he communicated the message of non violence.

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