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Correctional Officers - Stepping Up
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 05/27/2013

Shoes Reading Peter Gruber's article “Managing Up” When Your Boss Has You Down” felt so right to copy and adapt for the purpose of guiding correctional employees on the right track for career development. It was loaded with great advice and the more I read into it, the more I saw a unique opportunity to apply his concepts to the correctional profession. In fact, it was hard not to write word for word as it was filled with reality checks inside a correctional operational and management setting. Hence I will try to deliver his message with a slight adaptation for the environment and challenges on this most difficult job of being a correctional officer working in a very negative environment.

First we must first most of us must admit that we love our jobs but we hate the way your job is being managed by your supervisors or administrators. Not wanting to quit your job there are some reasonable alternatives available to you to not only do your job but to excel in getting it done. Realizing you have alternatives is important for it give you the motivation you need to get up every day and go to work. As time goes by, you have adjusted well to the job and contributed too many core values that are important in the areas of public safety and staff safety.

We have all experienced the difficult bosses. Whether you are working with a boss that is a micro-manager, bully, clueless wonder or brown noser you must adjust your performance in order to successfully attain better career growth and opportunities. The first step in taking the positive direction is to realize that although you boss can make you miserable, you must identify this to be one of your own problems to address in order to get ahead and be successful. You have to adjust your relationship with your boss to endure the time and make significant career growth plans long the way while focusing on pay raises and other opportunities that come with successful career planning. The adjustment is easier than you may realize as the very first step you take is to emphasize your boss's job and responsibilities. Know how to walk in your bosses' shoes makes sure you are on the same ideology thought track and aligns their interest and goals the same as yours making you totally compatible to the organization as well as your boss. Being in harmony with these two elements assures your longevity and opportunities within the workplace. Therefore, to have empathy is the first key to successful planning and managing your career.

The second step is to learn the mission, the strategic goals and taking a proactive interest in how your boss wants or intents do accomplish this. This means your relationship with you boss must be one of sharing and communicating how he or she thinks or executes so that you can better understand the strategic objectives and manner of expectation this is realized to be accomplished.

Third you must take ownership and show you have a professional and personal interest in the “game” meaning you are committed to do your best to show your respect, maturity and willingness to demonstrate your commitment. Emulating your boss's favorite style of communicating is very important for it establishes a comfort level between you and your boss illustrating you are on board with the boss's preferable communication method whether it be email, phone, face to face etc.. Knowing how your boss operates is instrumental in being in tune with the systems in place and shows an attention to detail many bosses admire and respect. It also builds your reputation and makes you trustworthy of special assignments and other special duties. Peter Gruber states that “The more you convey through your actions that you are trustworthy, the more confidence your manager will have in giving you greater responsibility and recognition. This means that you don’t just deliver problems, but solutions. This type of transparency deepens a trusting relationship.”

Corrections is a difficult job as it stands. Every bit of advice emulation or mentorship is essential in building your success. Reading, educating, training and understanding your job is important but getting along with your boss is very instrumental in your career success and career development that allows you to grow. Source; http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130509190459-101213441--managing-up-when-your-boss-has-you-down?trk=eml-mktg-condig-0108-p3

Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Car’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."

Other articles by ToersBijns:



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