“Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling” — Aristotle

I’m reading Larry Kreider’s new book “21 Tests of Effective Leadership” and so far have been very impressed. Larry identifies 21 tests that each leader must/should encounter and pass in order to be truly effective. If you do not learn the lesson the first time around, God will keep bringing you back to until you do. Each test is identified with a maxim that explains the principle underlying the test.

The first test is the Calling Test and the maxim is: An effective leader will discover his calling and trust God to manifest it.

According to Larry, “God will not call you to something he does not give you the grace to do.” I have used very similar words in counselling those who are seeking to find God’s call in their life.

And it certainly applies to the field of law enforcement. In the early days of my career, I was an “evangelist” of sorts, always trying to recruit young folks into the profession. Later on, as I began to see the destructive effects of the police lifestyle on the lives and families of officers under my command, I took the opposite approach. I began to encourage them to find something else to do with their lives.

Then, as I  matured in my leadership roles, I realized that neither extreme is correct. Now, I counsel would-be officers to examine their hearts to determine if they are genuinely CALLED into the profession. If the answer is yes, pursue it with all of the energy God gives you. If not, find something else to do because you will likely be miserable and unsuccessful.

It ties in with Stephen Covey’s thoughts about the ideals of law enforcement. As you may know, he is the author of the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Some years ago he put together a law enforcement version called the Seven Habits of Highly Effective Police Officers. I took my entire command staff to attend the seminar and it had a profound effect on our performance. I highly recommend it.

Go to Larry’s website to learn more about the 21 Tests of Effective Leadership.

3 thoughts on ““Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, lies your calling” — Aristotle

  1. Again, I am left thoughtful after reading your post. I have served in the field of Criminal Justice for 30 years and have always considered it my calling from God. Only until very recently have I ever doubted that and I think my recent doubts are simply the result of old age and burn out. However, I have a 25 year old son in law enforcment and I agree 100% that every young officer should examine his/her heart to determine if this profession is a calling or just a job. I intend to ask my son that question very soon!

  2. Sheriff Nash,

    I have been getting e-mails from your blog on a regular basis for about two weeks now and I find the information of great benefit to myself as well as forwarding it to others in our dept. I’m not sure this is the right venue to ask this, but one of the issues we have been dealing with in our local comunity of law enforcement is ethics and morals. I was wondering if you could direct me to some information in this area for instructional purposes?

    Sgt. Lane Magill

    • Sarge:

      This is the perfect venue to ask that question. Police Dynamics is all about applying character and ethics to the real problems and challenges plaguing law enforcement. I would direct you to several sources right away.

      The first is the Police Dynamics website. I am in the process of upgrading this site, but right now you can still find a ton of information about the character-based principles of Police Dynamics. Check it out at http://www.police-dynamics.com.

      The second source is the Police Dynamics e-Book. It contains detailed information taken directly from the training program. It can be purchased on this site under the e-Book tab. It’s only $9.95 in a downloadable form. At lease one agency is using the e-Book as the basis for it’s promotional exam.

      You might also want to consider the Police Dynamics Video Training Series. It contains the entire Police Dynamics training program in a format perfect for in-service or pre-service training. You can check them out under the Training Videos tab on this site. To promote the new blog site, I am offering these DVD’s at 50% off for a limited time. The way we market the DVD program is to give you and your agency 30 days to evaluate them before deciding on a purchase. If you like them, keep them and mail a check. If not, send them back with no further obligation. If you are interested in that option, email my Training Coordinator at info@policedynamics.com and we will arrange for you to preview the DVD’s.

      And, finally, keep coming back to this blog site. I will do my best to keep it updated with relevant information relating to law enforcement ethics and police tactics…

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