Leadership Skills for Criminal Justice Professionals Leadership involves the commitment, dedication, and risk taking attitude of the individual, which also includes other skills to accomplish the tasks. “In a criminal justice organization, leadership is essential to the success of the goals of the organization” (McKinney, 2008). Criminal justice professionals should develop and maintain leadership skills in their professional and personal lives because they are role models, and their decision-making is suppose to be trusted by the public.
The field of criminal justice is very broad, which includes professions like law enforcement, information security, and forensic science; however, there are many career choices in that field that require some of the same skills in leadership. Communication is a major skill in the success of careers in the criminal justice field. “Professionals in this field should possess excellent communication skills because they must be able to give suggestions to employees, give orders to people over whom they have authority, and explain clearly to the community what legal issues are involved” (“Qualities of Good Criminal Justice,” 2011).
Professionals will need to be able to speak clearly, effectively, and with confidence and authority. In addition, a professional in the criminal justice field must be able to write in a manner that is understandably clear and relayed effectively. They will be writing anything from reports, press releases to parole orders from time to time; therefore, they also need to be comfortable with versatile writing styles and requirements. Good communication skills will help the justice professional to avoid conflicts and solve problems.
Another vital leadership skill that a criminal justice professional should have or develop is the ability to think fast with a sound mind in order to make good judgment calls when faced with any issue. Meaning, in order to act in a way that is effective, a professional must possess the ability to evaluate a situation in order to determine what the next course of action that possibly needs to be taken. By applying analytics to forge an information-led strategy, criminal justice leaders can make decisions based on solid, robust data and allocate resources effectively to guide prevention, intervention and/or suppression tactics.
Sometimes it is good to solicit opinions and obtain feedback from those that can be trusted or have had a similar situation to contend with. Finally, although most careers include some level of stress, some more than others, careers in the criminal justice field may be considered more stressful than any of the others. “In a career that deals with public safety, law enforcement, crime and punishment, and legal maneuvers, stress is inescapable” (Qualities of Good Criminal Justice,” 2011).
A professional working in the field of criminal justice absolutely must be able to deal with the personal stress of the job with a competent state of mind at all times while performing their duties effectively and safely. Failure to properly cope with stress endangers criminal justice workers and can compromise public safety. It is important to stay in charge of emotions, but even more important to leave it at work and forget about it when you go home.
The leadership skills mentioned above are only a few on a long list needed to be a strong leader, but being a professional in the field also means that one must possess a strong ethical sensibility. Why? Because they will be working to promote adherence to laws in order to prevent law-breaking, as well as determining consequences for those who do not follow the law. “Virtue ethics encourages people to act according to the best aspects of their personalities, assuming each has the capacity to act with prudence, honesty, courage and fairness” (Frenz, 2011).
Without knowledge of ethics, criminal justice professionals may be naive about moral issues occurring within the criminal justice system. Many people think that acting lawfully is the same as acting ethically, but that’s not the case. Understanding ethics enables an appreciation of the complexities of acts that involve ethical issues and dilemmas There are so many leadership skills that a criminal justice professional should possess, and only a few was touched on in this essay. One important thing that a good leader can recognize is when to lead and when to follow. With criminal justice organizations constantly evolving and having to change, it is important to have a leader that is able to work with his subordinates and superiors to make effective decision that take the organization in the best directions” (McKinney, 2008¬). Ethics and morals encourage people to make beneficial, respectful and fair decisions. Ethical considerations are central to decisions involving discretion, force, and due process that require people to make good moral judgments. Therefore, it is imperative that the individuals put in any type of executive role to have formidable leadership skills.
Reference Frenz, R. (2011). Importance of ethics and morals. eHow. Retrieved from http://www. ehow. com about_6718517_importance-ethics-morals. html Mckinney, C. (2008, April 3). Modern leadership theories in criminal justice. Yahoo Voices. Retrieved from http://voices. yahoo. com/modern-leadership-theories-criminal-justice- 1338251. html Qualities of good criminal justice professionals. (2011). Go Criminal Justice Schools. Retrieved from http://gocriminaljusticeschools. com/qualities-of-good-criminal-justice- professionals. html
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