The Police Supervisor’s Dilemma

The case study discusses about a case where a Command staff is trying to motivate his subordinates. In the process of motivation he strategises few ideas and implements it with an intention of making his subordinates take up the task seriously. The task was taken seriously by the subordinates perhaps the task was not assumed in the right sense as they all considered it a rule passed on to them. They imagined the Command staff to be very strict and hard towards them as he formulated few rules.

Towards the end of the performance appraisal the subordinates scored well as they maintained a day to day record of their achievements, however it did not last long as they decided to go to the higher authority with the complaint that they were treated hard. Few decided to stay away from the command staff and few requested transfer, the harmony among the troop was lost. The case study is all about how to draw a demarcation line between rules and motivation strategies (supervisory routines as mentioned in the case study).

The million dollar question is was the command staff right in his decision, if he is right why did it backfire? The intention of the Command staff was good but still there was a communication gap which misguided the strategy implemented among the subordinates. Is there a relationship between the amount of control desired in a police organization and the ability of police officials to create a motivating environment among rank-and-file officers? If so, how is balance arrived at between these two apparently opposite concerns in police organizations?

I assume there is a relationship between the amount of control desired in a police organisation and the ability of police officials to create a motivating environment among rank-and-file officers. In the first place, the comand staff Captain Frebe was not able to take up his fellow officers sitting idle. So he implemented a strategy which included additional task for the employees, just like submission of daily report and based on it performance appraisals were done often. Captain Frebe is highly dedicated and has expected everyone to fall in track to provide a productive work to the higher authorities.

His brilliant ideas of tightening their work are highly appreciable. What went wrong with the sysytem is that when he assigned the officers the work, he never explained the scheme. I feel he could have carried out the whole show in a presentation where he could have explained why this strategy was implemented. The strategy which was implemented with the sense of motivating them was misunderstood by the other officers that they were kept under supervision or surveillance. Any employee be it, will never be able to work in a work condition where he is aware he is monitored.

The motivation strategies which were implemented were not take in the right sense that the officers thought ther were undersupervision. To make it very clear he could have enforced few light rules to make them understand the difference between the rule and the motivation strategy. In addition he should have explained them the intention behind why such motivation strategies were implemented. Then the idea would have reahed the officers in the right sense. How could have Captain Frebe instituted the mechanisms for officer accountability without alienating officers?

What role do officers have in creating a motivating environment within police organizations? The million dollar question is to make out what is running in the mind of an employee when the employer is trying to build a rapport with him. It purely depends on the employer employee relationship. Had Captain Frebe been so friendly and assumed responsibility much in advance may be at the start of their relationship to be in good terms with the employees and set an amicable working environment, the rules that he had imposed would not have sounded like rules.

Let us consider two cases where Captain Frebe is assumed to be strict with the officers and in the second case where he is being compassionate with them. In the first case where the officer portrays himslef to be strict has to come down to the level of an employee in the first place. Secondly he should build a rapport so as to see to that he is getting all the relevant information that has to be passed on to him appropriately. Thirdly after having built a rapport he should ensure that he intimates them of the rules and the motivation strategies that are to be implemented.

Nextly he can have a talk with his higher officials regarding this and put forth to them in such a way that his subordinates are not affected in anyway. As a next step with the approval of his higher authority he can go ahead explaining all these with the help of a presentation, so that it reaches the subordinates in the right sense. In case the Captain was already in good terms with the subordinates he can just go ahead with consulting his higher officials and proceed with the presentation.

There is an issue of concern here, in case of a barrier between him and his higher authority it would not be appropriate to convey this to his higher authority as he cannot be expected to be in a position to understand what the Captain is trying to put forth. Rather than taking this to his higher authority, he could just put to his subordinates quoting that the order is from the higher authority; of course the subordinate at any cost cannot reach the higher authority to get it verified with him.

Once the performance appraisal is done and the scheme is observed to have fallen in the right track he can take it to his higher authority to prove them his achievements and in the other hand no subordinate will find it uncomfortable or even in case of their uncomfortability they will not prefer to take it to the higher authority as a complaint as the order is directly from the higher authority according to them.

This would not become a big issue even in case this strategy reaches the higher authority before the Captain takes it to his higher authority, as at most chances there would not be a misconception in this regard between the captain and his higher authority. Is it true that you really cannot motivate persons in organizations? If this statement is true, then is there any role for administrators and managers in the motivation of their employees? Are there unique concerns that face police supervisors that make motivation of employees difficult?

If so, what are they, and how would you address them? It is not impossible to motivate the employees working in an organisation. The important point to be noted is that the higher authority, administrator or the manager who has engaged himself to motivate the employees should be demotivated and should not get the negative vibrations transferred from the employee. This transfer of negative vibrations may transfer either way and the higher authority should be well prepared to see to that he just reflects the negative answers from the subordinate by tackling it in the right sense.

It is not possible to tackle the issue in the right sense unless and until he does some research and prepares some anticipated questions and relevant answers to them. Above all an employer can motivate the subordinates only when he is able to forge a good association with them and sustain the association. Week end parties and motivational strategies should be implemented on and off to make them understand the importance of work.

It is just a thin line which demarcates rules and the motivational strategies, employer should be in a position to understand the mindset of an employee so that he can prepare himself to train his subordinates the way he want them to train. Unique concerns that the police supervisors face that make motivation of employees difficult The job is all about roaming in the street to keep a check on the public. It is the choice given to the police whether to work or pretend as if at work, because it is not that difficult to pretend and show the higher authorities a piece of achievement done to make them believe that you have worked.

In such cases, it is difficult for the higher authority to make out that the subordinate is a deadhead. After having made out that the subordinate is a deadhead, it is the utmost responsibility of the higher authority to inculcate the responsibility in the subordinate from within. The job is about being on rounds all the time, despite the continued efforts to excel in the field which is going to reflect on the promotion and hike in the salary, as it is a field work any person could be lead to fatigue.

The motivation strategies should be in such a way that it should overshade the image that it is a tiring job. The training should be such that he should forget the fact that the job is tiring. Conclusion Though the Command staff had good intentions to motivate his subordinates to make their active participation as a cop, the motivation strategies were not taken in the right sense. However, the whole effort did not go in vain, as the performance appraisal projected productive results.

Here is where there is a need for the training department, HR department, Organizational behavior, Change agents and Advisory consultants. Had the task been assigned to any of the departments mentioned above, they would have taken it in the right track. Any task be it, requires an analysis, a research, a study on the pros and cons of the effort, so that the task assumes the shape we intend it to assume. The above mentioned departments, if assigned the task, would have arranged for a dinner or get together or anything of this kind to make the subordinates comfortable in the first place.

Secondly they would have fed it with highlighting the key points such as incentives, performance appraisal, hike and aspects which would excite the employee. Thirdly they would have explained the whole process using a presentation to make it very easily understandable. The whole effort would have been taken just to incorporate the idea that the obejective of the strategy is to motivate the employee and not to be hard with them. The case study emphasises the importance of communication gap, which if not bridged will assure us adverse effects.