FEATURED IN LEADERSHIP
I was working a plainclothes unit targeting an identified crime problem when we received a call to phone the station. The manager of a local ice cream store had phoned the police. A man was hanging around the store long after consuming his ice cream treat. The waitresses complained about the man's strange questions and his lengthy loitering. The manager had taken a close look at him and saw what appeared to be a gun tucked behind his waistband.
We discussed our tactical plan on the way to the store. We would enter the store separately. I would sit as close as possible to the suspect. Moments later, my partner would take a seat close to the cash register and door. We would both order something so we appeared to be regular customers. After I finished my order, I would walk behind the suspect and suddenly put my arms around the counter seat, grabbing the gun, if it was there. My partner would quickly converge on the suspect as soon as I started my move.
The store was near my home and I was a regular customer. When I entered, the employees immediately knew the police were present and they were all noticeably nervous.
I took an available chair at the counter immediately next to the suspect. I ordered a chocolate ice cream soda. As I began working on the soda, I took a quick look at the suspect's waistband. Sure enough, there was a gun-shaped bulge. The store was full of young people from the nearby high school. I was anxious about the confrontation. I wanted to get this thing over with.
I asked for the check and began my move. As I passed behind the suspect, I quickly put my arms around his body, shouted police officer and grasped for the object in his belt. It was a gun. I clenched it through his light jacket with a death grip as he grappled to pull it out. I yelled to my partner, It s a gun! My partner pulled his gun and yelled, Police! Everyone get down! When the suspect saw my partner converging on us, he stopped struggling and allowed me to remove the gun. We quickly cuffed him and found a second gun.
Know the Motive, Know the Man
We took the suspect to the station and found he was an ex-convict and prohibited from possessing a handgun. At that point, we didn't connect him with any other crime, but wondered about his motive for carrying two loaded guns and loitering around an ice cream store. What was he about to do with these illegally possessed guns? He chose to remain silent, but his motives eventually became apparent. An alert jailor noticed he resembled an artist's rendering of a dangerous criminal wanted for kidnapping, rape and attempted murder. He was later convicted for those crimes.
We all have motives. Knowing a suspect's motive for their actions is often the key to solving crimes. Knowing your own motives for seeking and exercising leadership is also very important. Many pursue leadership out of pride and selfish ambition. They see a leadership role as leading to recognition, accolades and praise. Some seek leadership to push a personal agenda. Often the motive is simply power. To some people, power is everything.
The motives underlying a leader's actions and decisions eventually become known. It's possible to conceal one's motives only temporarily. Generally the size of the group being led has a relationship to the length of time it takes for a leader s motives to become known. Where the group being led is small and has daily contact with the leader, the exposure time is usually short. In a situation where the group being led is large and few have close contact with the leader, the exposure time can be lengthy. Nevertheless, in either case the leader's motives will eventually emerge.
Followers are more likely to follow a leader when they believe the motives of the leader are noble and in their best interests. They appreciate decisions and actions based upon motives of integrity, fairness, professionalism, loyalty and morality.
Followers expend themselves to produce good results for a leader whose motives are selfless. Ultimately a leader whose motives are self-sacrificing will get the recognition, praise and rewards they richly deserve on point.