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Correctional Supervisors – Avoiding Self-Serving “Leadership”
By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ
Published: 11/04/2013

Leadership It’s hard to forget that special day when you received your promotion and brand new position you applied and worked so hard for. Being promoted is an important positive step in your life and career which brings with it added duties and responsibilities as well as a higher salary. Promotions you might say are a reflection of your career feats and career-growth as well as organizational value.

Promotions to higher positions does not make a leader and just because you were called upon or chosen for the new job does not mean you qualify for leadership unless you recognize the fact that success is not just about you. Many times it is sad to say that people who are promoted forget their roots and miss the most important pivotal point in their career. It is here where they are challenged to hang on to everything positive and what got them there as well as recognizing everybody that helped them get that job.

A leader focuses on group growth and success, not individual glory. A great leader makes his or her job about making other people successful and focuses on building a performance and efficiency track record that can prepare others for the future promotions and instill the quality and confidence they need to get the job done. In other words, a great leader creates a team garnered success record that makes you all proud and better in the long run of each and everyone’s career.

Being a leader requires a combination of nurturing, mentoring, guiding and tutoring others. As a leader, making others do better is one of the main challenge at hand and begins how you meet the challenge to accept new responsibilities and be successful. It could very well be the most important point in your career and decide whether you are a success or failure individually or within the organization.

Showing leadership qualities could start as early as high school if you participated in a team sport or activity that has some level of competition to it and how you stepped up to outdo others while taking in the considerations of the needs of the team and encouraging others to put out the same effort and spirit. How you choose your friends and how you act within your social circle can be a contributing factor as well. Leaders pick their friends carefully and do not the let it happen the other way around where their “friends pick them.”

Being a physical or an academic standout does not make a leader. Being promoted does not make a leader. Once you understand that concept and truth of the matter you have a good chance of becoming a better leader. Basically, being a leader is a mindset that takes care of others before taking care of yourself. This is the gap that sets others apart and makes these promotions either another step on the success ladder or another special challenge to show others that it is possible to be successful if you work hard and stick to the integrity and principles the job requires you to have. The transition must be made to include others so that there is a common thread attached to your promotion and new position with those around you.

Leaders care about their people. Good leadership requires compassion and passion for the job and the team he or she is surrounded with. It requires good listening skills and caring about others feelings or ideas. Sharing a mutual interest and loving the way you do your job or how to make it better is part of what people look for in a leader that remains positive throughout those challenges within. Great leaders talk with people and work with people. They make sure the relationship reflects the “with” and not the “for” when others observe the team at work.

Corrections.com author, Carl ToersBijns, (retired), has 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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