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RCMP Commissioner: Is This A Leader?

May 30

I have posted articles related to leadership on this blog before. I thought I had exhausted the topic before I was provided with this audio clip * of Bob Paulson Commissioner of the RCMP.  MPPAC has provided the full audio of the town hall meeting April 9, 2013

You may recall that I used Vince Lombardi (former coach of the Green Bay Packers), Steve Jobs, the Dalai Lama, and Mohandas K. Ghandi as examples of transformative leaders. These individuals are inspirational visionaries for many. They are deeply passionate, energetic, and enthusiastic about their organizations, their plans, and their followers; people like and respond to that. They are charismatic, innovative and strategic thinkers who achieved great success and initiated large scale changes. Transformational leaders have a way of motivating people to “buy in” and dedicate themselves to the “cause”. Here are some excerpts from an email I received from a loyal, hardworking RCMP member:

“My anger is still an issue and this audio clip of the Commissioner triggered it big time. Unreal. He is skating on thin ice with his seemed made-up answers on the fly. This just doesn’t cut it in my book. He is not a leader…period. Does not even sound like one. He is in a sandbox that is too big for him. I have zero faith in what he says. He says that PTSD is overused?? Excuse me!! … It was like he kicked me in the gut when I heard that. It hurt…and I will not forget it, not just what he said…but how he said it… And then dismissively says… “I had it too” – Rrrright! Just disgusting, it shows exactly what he is thinking, that people who are ODS are just off for the hell of it.

Is this member ready to “buy in”? Is this member motivated and dedicated to the “cause”, after hearing this? Did Mr. Paulson communicate his deep passion for the organization and it’s members?

Most importantly, transformative leadership is characterized by an emotional connection between the leader and those lead. In a figurative sense, a transformational leader will not eat until those lead have eaten; will not rest until those lead have rested. Here are a couple of quotes from great military leaders:

“The test of a leader lies in the reaction and response of his followers… He must make his influence felt by example and the instilling of confidence in his followers”.

 -General Omar Bradley

“Like carbon to the diamond, character is the basic quality of the leader…

 -General Edward C. Mayer

So after listening to the audio clip of Mr. Paulson what do you think? What kind of example does he set? Do you have confidence in him? What do you think of his character?

Dr. Mike Webster, R. Psych.
* I was advised, by some who attended, that accompanying Mr. Paulson’s whistle was the universal hand signal for “insanity”.

  1. Anonymous permalink

    Can someone explain where and when this tape was made and who was present?

  2. DJ Motorcop permalink

    So glad to be retired and away from the talking red serge promoting image before all non leaders.

    • Anonymous permalink

      Agreed DJ Motorcop. That’s all they are…. the ‘walking talking rectums of red serge’. “Welcome to the Royal Canadian Mounted BumBlasters BoyClub – you don’t need substance…but only uphold our false image”.

  3. Anonymous permalink

    Why is it that time and again, it seems, that things are not done in accordance with available research literature – done, so as to improve things? This is very surprising that this seems to get ignored. One would think that RCMP would be pleased to have such good tools available to help them do their jobs better, more effectively, safely, for ALL.


  4. E Famia permalink

    Every member who has been diagnosed with or are suffering from a mental illness ie. PTSD should be filing harassment complaints against the Commissioner. The CPC should be investigating the Commissioner using the chair-initiated section. Furthermore, the Canadian Mental Health Association should be advised immediately of these comments and be asked for their own response to them. The Commissioner should be held accountable for his insensitive and harassing comments. The Commissioner has proven that he is the Commissioner for some who share his skewed leadership values and not a Commissioner for all. He has proven he is not fit for this office.

  5. Anonymous permalink

    I really like that CMHA idea, I hope that Famia follows up on it.

    I’d really like a first hand report of someone who was there and witnessed it. I’d like to know for sure that he made the hand sign when he whistled. I’d co-sign such a harassment complaint.

    I find it interesting that he claims in the same speech that PTSD is over used and then claims to have had it himself. Making Commissioner at 25 years service doesn’t really seem to support the PTSD claim ie: he is over using the claim himself.

    In a previous press interview, the Commissioner stated that he didn’t like members going to the press. On a public blog someone pointed out the irony of the Commissioner going to the press about members going to the press.

    • E Famia permalink

      The Commissioner is to appear before the National Security and Defence Committee which is studying harassment in the RCMP today at 4 pm Ottawa time. Senator Dallaire is a member of this committee. Perhaps the audio clip and Dr Websters article should be provided to Senator Dallaire. The Senator suffers from PTSD. I am sure he would find the Commissioners comments about PTSD very disturbing. It would be interesting to get the Commissioners response to this audio clip before the committee studying harassment.

  6. Anonymous permalink

    What is the common thread? The professionals whom are seeing and diagnosing these members come from all parts of Canada. Can all these professionals ( many which are employed by the RCMP) be wrong?

    The comissioner and the upper management are the perputrators of the abuse across Canada, they are the common thread, admitting that they are doing something wrong would be the first step for change in the force. Not continuously denying and demeaning.

    Have they looked to see why so many members are suffering from PTSD? If they are worried about the cost of having so many members ODS, then maybe an Upstream approach (looking at cause of PTSD), versus the Downstream approach.

  7. anonymous for now permalink

    Well the message is clear, do your job and shut up…. However members should do only that and stop working 40, 60 or 80 hours of Volontairy OT a month to make ends meet because if you get burned out and sick as a result management will kick you out.

  8. Bas Stevens permalink

    Here is a link to a “real leader”.

    Maybe Bob Paulson should fly “down under” and take a few lessons from this LEADER!

  9. Bas Stevens permalink


    Here is the missing link:

  10. Fokk Jullenaaiers permalink

    I don’t know why anyone expects much different from Bob Paulson. When you reach into the rat’s maze to select a leader, chances are you’ll pull out a rat.

    It’s time to make policing into a more civilian organization, hire some folks with corporate experience for management, and for the love of Pete, demand more of recruits than a dogwood. Hiring athletes with little else to offer than slabs of muscle as a rule has done more harm than good.


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