Leadership and New York City

Topics: Leadership, Colin Powell, CompStat Pages: 10 (4106 words) Published: March 30, 2005
When discussing any triumphant or flourishing organization or institution, the main attribute which will always surface when examining the true fabric of what allows a particular organization or institution to excel, will always be leadership.

Leadership is portrayed at its pinnacle in William Bratton's Turnaround, Rudolph Giuliani's book Leadership, Oren Harari's book The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell, and David Lipsky's book Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point. In each of these works, the author does an exceptional job of depicting the various traits and characteristics necessary for being a powerful and effective leader.

William Bratton, born and raised in Boston, was appointed as New York City's new police commissioner by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani on December 2, 1993. William Bratton was a leader who spent his whole life turning around low-performing, dysfun-ctional police departments. It was his specialty and it soon became his trademark. Bill Bratton hit the ground running as the commissioner of police by implementing several policies and visions that he had, that many believed would be unfathomable in policing. His goals were revolutionary and unprecedented and would not be possible to achieve if not for his incredible leadership ability. His ability as an effective leader allowed him to select intelligent, experienced, and quality individuals who shared identical beliefs and visions as he did. Any leader would agree that anything is possible through optimism, intelligent planning, and preparation, but nothing is possible if your chosen "executives" lack the leader's confidence to operate freely and carry out the organization's ultimate goals. Bratton was a believer in Theodore Roosevelt's ideology that "the best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self- restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it." Bratton was a master motivator. His optimism rubbed off on everyone around him and this reflected their performance. He had a belief that "leadership is the ability to enthuse and encourage the people in your organization so highly that, whatever idea is put into action, they embrace it so fully they forget the genesis and assume it was their own" (Bratton pg.155). This was Bratton's basic concept and he put it to work for him almost immediately in the New York City Police Department. Bratton realized the task at hand and that it would not be easy. He knew he was given the number one police job in the country as the commissioner of the NYPD, and he was ready. He knew that nothing would be possible without the support of his police officers. Morale was one of the big reasons that the NYPD was so run down upon Bratton's arrival. He set out to the 103rd precinct in Queens to let them know that things are about to change. Bratton carefully selected this precinct as the one he would utilize in making his initial presence felt. Morale was exceptionally low in this precinct due to the murder of Officer Ed Byrne. In February of 1988 Officer Byrne was sitting in his patrol car guarding the home of a man who had informed on a drug dealer when he was shot to death by drug dealers. That was a vicious indicator of the life and times of police officers during that era, and Bratton knew it. As Bratton's first "official act" as police commissioner, he stood in front of the 103 and began: "I said when I took this job that we would take this city back for the good people that live here, neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, house by house. But I'm going to need your help in doing that. I'm going to need all of you in the game. I want my cops to be cops. I want them to be assertive. I don't want them walking by or looking the other way when they see something. No matter what the old rules were, I expect you to see something and take proper police action. I expect you to be honest. I expect you to uphold the oath that you took on the first...

Cited: Bratton, W., & Knobler, P. (1998). Turnaround: How America 's Top Cop Reversed the Crime Epidemic. New York: Random House Press.

Giuliani, R.W., & Kurson, K. (2002). Leadership. New York: Hyperion Press.

Harari, O. (2002). The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell. New York: McGraw- Hill Press.

Lipsky, D. (2004). Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point. New York: Vintage Books Press.
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