Effective Operational Command Essay

Pages: 5 (2123 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 15  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Leadership

¶ … Operational Command

In the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, Metropolitan Police had the wrong man. They believed he was a suicide bomber, and they chased him down and shot him. It was not long after the fact that they discovered he was not the person they thought he was, and they tried to cover up what they had done. At that point, Blair called the IPCC chairman in an effort to head off an investigation. Of course, the investigation took place anyway and the Met was ultimately found guilty of violations of laws pertaining to safety and health. So, what actually caused the problem with the Met and Sir Ian Blair? How, exactly, did the breach occur that resulted in the death of de Menezes? Those are questions that do not have easy answers, but it is clear that there were command related factors that led up to the problem and to the way in which Blair attempted to skirt the issues that led to his eventual departure. Even though he had some support after the trial, his life as a commander was never the same and he was notified that his contract would not be renewed. Rather than face that, he stepped down - essentially quitting before he could actually be fired.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Essay on Effective Operational Command Assignment

When someone is in command, it is possible for that person's perception of what is acceptable and what is not to become skewed to some degree (Alderson, 2003; Crowther & Cooper, 2002; McKinsey & Company, 2002; Paton, 2003). In other words, each person reacts to command differently, and some will take advantage of the power and prestige of their position in an effort to cover up problems that they may be facing or that they have seen in their department (Alexander, 2002; Bullock, Haddan, & Bell, 2004; Byrnes, 2003). In the case of Blair, it was not just the shooting and aftermath of it that led to his eventual departure. There were other accusations that piled on top of that one, and other issues that Blair just seemed to keep appearing in the middle of. That led his superiors to the eventual conclusion that this was not completely coincidence, and that Blair may be at fault for some of the problems that continued to appear in his working life. There were comments that had to be apologized for and retracted, accusations of taping phone conversations without permission, requests for bonuses when officers were taking pay cuts, race relation problems, and other issues surrounding Blair.

He was notified in 2008 that his contract would not be renewed when it expired in 2010. Instead of working through until the end of his contract, he resigned in 2008. He was able to continue to get paid through the end of his contract, and he also got to keep his pension for retirement. It seemed as though he was highly rewarded financially for a great deal of bad behavior. Stress can cause otherwise upstanding people to make poor choices (Drabek & McEntire, 2003), however, and the stress of the job held by Blair may have become too much for him. That is especially important where the shooting of de Menezes is concerned. Did Blair panic and think that he had to do something to cover it up rather than just admit the mistake? Or was he calculated in his choice to attempt to hide the fact that an unarmed man was shot and killed in a case of mistaken identity? There could be other reasons for the deception, as well. Blair may have believed he was above the law, or that he had enough power to make the problem go away if he simply said that it was not to be investigated.

If that was the case, Blair quickly discovered that his power did not extend that far because the Met was investigated and was even found guilty of health and safety law violations. However, no one was prosecuted for murder or manslaughter, and Blair was not asked to resign. The Metropolitan Police Authority offered him their continued support, and said that they would have refused to accept Blair's resignation at that time, if he had offered to or tried to step down from his post. As time passed and more issues came to light, however, Blair eventually lost the support of most of his peers and allies. When he lost the support of the mayor of London, he decided that he could not continue in his position, because he did not feel comfortable doing his job without the backing of the mayor. Whether that was actually true or whether Blair was just looking for a reason to resign, knowing that he could keep his salary and still get his pension, is unknown. There is speculation, however, because Blair had so many issues throughout his command that appeared to paint him as someone who would conduct underhanded business if it benefitted him.

When someone is in command, he or she has to lead by example (Dupuy, 1992; Fischer, 2002; Office, 2002). This example should be a good one, naturally, but often examples are negative. They can serve as a study of what not to do, or they can be viewed as acceptable because the person who is in charge is (allegedly) showing others how to act appropriately (Flin, 2003; McCulloch, 2003). By attempting to cover up the de Menezes shooting, Blair showed his officers the kind of behavior he found acceptable. What happened was tragic, but whether it was a true mistake or simple carelessness on the part of the Met it should have been owned up to by Blair and his team of officers. Instead, the desire was to hide the problem and hope that it would disappear on its own. While it did not completely go away, there were no serious and lasting ramifications from it, other than the Met was fined and had to pay money. Beyond that, nothing actually happened. When there are no serious consequences for a commander who clearly does something wrong, it simply reinforces the idea that the commander can get away with nearly anything, and that he or she has the power to do whatever he or she wants without serious concern (Green, 2010; Lyons, 2002; McKinsey & Company, 2002).

That is, most likely, not the message that should be sent to officers and to the public. It is better to enforce the law for everyone - not just for civilians. Police officers and even police commanders can be guilty of breaking the law, and they should be punished in the same way as anyone else would be in that situation (Paton, 2003). While that is often not what happens, there is clearly a difference between what usually takes place and what should take place when it comes to breaches of the law. Blair left his post and stepped down because too much of what he had done in the past had caused a loss of confidence from those who had appointed him and those who had supported him in the past. That is very important, because it appeared for some time as though Blair was immune to a loss of support, even though much of what he did was questionable from the standpoint of skirting the law, as well as from the standpoint of being a good leader for the men and women of the Met. When leaders do not lead properly, they have trouble gaining and keeping followers (Lyons, 2002; Paton, 2003).

A good commander must be a good leader, and Blair had failed at that task. Had he succeeded, he never would have lost support - no matter what he actually did or did not do as a commander. The choices that a person makes in what he or she does, and the way that is perceived by followers is not always the same (Alderson, 2003; Flin, 2003). It is possible for a person to get away with many misdeeds if there is the correct spin on the outcome. Followers will believe in the leader, and they will stay with the leader. If there is no leadership quality, though, that support will begin to wane (Paton, 2003). It could take time, but eventually the support the leader held will diminish and the followers will begin to drop away. Blair was able to keep his followers and supporters for quite some time in the face of the de Menezes incident, but eventually they started to leave him. He was not an effective leader at that point, and remaining in his position as commander could have actually been detrimental to the Met. When officers do not fully support their commander, they can have trouble taking orders from that person or giving their all to the job, which can put innocent civilians at risk (Crowther & Cooper, 2002; Drabek & McEntire, 2003).

Overall, Blair appeared to do a competent day-to-day job of leadership. However, when big events or major catastrophes… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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