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RCMP Leadership: I Have A Dream

Jun 17

“Let’s face it.  Some people’s ambitions exceed their abilities.  I cannot lead a Force that accommodates and seeks to compensate people for (their) unachieved ambitions.”  (Bob Paulson, Senate Committee Hearing, 2013)

I was gobsmacked when I heard this!  There are some who say that Mr. Paulson doesn’t have what it takes to be a leader.  Military and para-military (e.g. police agencies) leadership differs somewhat from leadership in other fields.  Although leaders, like Mr. Paulson, must also earn the respect of their followers, military/para-military discipline is characterized by two additional aspects; respect for the rank as distinct from the person who has it, and obedience to orders.

Respect for the rank simply means that ranking officers can expect compliance with their orders, but not necessarily personal respect from followers; unless they have earned it.  What do you think?  Has Mr. Paulson earned your personal respect?

Obedience to orders directs that when an order is given, it is obeyed without question.  This kind of obedience is critical to ensure the success of the “mission”, to preserve safety, and for the sake of maintaining unit and individual discipline.  Well?  Do you still have the discipline to obey?

Good leaders utilize their leadership skills to influence followers.  They issue orders only when necessary and as a last resort.  Executive training courses and military colleges emphasize the development of outstanding leadership skills.  Does Mr. Paulson impress you with his leadership skills?  Or is he all about giving orders?

I’m haunted by a dream.  In this dream I’m behind a person at a podium.  I can’t make out who it is because of all the lights.  The person has just been introduced as the Commissioner of the RCMP; and he delivers a message to the membership.  The message goes like this:

“I am here, in this position, to serve you as your Commissioner, mentor, and partner-in-law-enforcement.  I want you to know that when you face danger, I will be in front of you.  When danger lies behind you, I will be watching your backs.  It is my expectation that each of you will be responsible to and for each other.  I will be responsible to and for you all.  I pledge to you my loyalty, integrity, and trust, for absolutely no cost; I will work ceaselessly to earn yours.  Please remember that professionalism requires great discipline.  Prepare yourselves to excel.  Your job is to police; my job is to empower each of you to do the job to the best of your ability.  When I ask you to do something, be assured that I do so because you are the best person I know for the job.  As we work together any success will be your achievement; any failure will be mine alone, for it will have been me who has failed you.  I believe strongly that you are this organization’s greatest asset.  Your most valuable asset, is your family.  When you are in distress, your family becomes my family.  Finally, I wish to impress upon you, as we go forward, that your job is a profession; my job is a tremendous privilege, and I must earn it every day I have it.”

Like I said… it’s a dream.

Dr. Mike Webster, R. Psych.

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10 Comments
  1. I would like to comment, but I am stuck for words as it couldn’t have been said any better.

    I joined the Canadian Military regular force and trained with Princes Louise’s 8th Canadian Hussars, (Armoured Reconnaissance), where I served from 1977 to 1981. I was one of the few to be selected into the (SSF) Special Service Force’s. The SSF was started in 1977 by the Minister of National Defense (Barney Danson). He was one of the original members of the Devils Brigade in World War II, a true Canadian hero. I am taken back to those days by the words mentioned above as this is something that would have come out of the Ministers mouth at the time.

    This a man who I had complete respect for as a leader and a human being. He lived and experienced the horror’s of war. He earned my respect because I new he believed in his men and he lead by example.

    As a very proud ex-military man and a once very proud Mountie, I can not say the same about Commissioner Paulson. I have respect for the uniform but not the man in it. He has not earned my respect. He has a lot of work to do before that happens, if it every does.

    Mr. Paulson show me the real man in the uniform, don’t hide behind it.

    Rolly Beaulieu

  2. E Famia permalink

    The Commissioner has spoken loud and clear. He is a bully. Speak to some former colleagues of his and they will tell you this behaviour isn’t a new phenomenon that became evident once he took over the reigns of the Force. However, there hasn’t been any tangible proof of that bullying until recently. You will recall the email he sent to Mr. Tim Chad last year. Then he went on the attack at the recent televised senate hearings into harassment in the RCMP when he attacked Ms. Caroline O’Farrell, Mr. Roland Beaulieu and Mr. Peter Merrifield for advancing their claims of harassment. Now he has been caught on audio tape bullying mentally ill (PTSD) members of the RCMP at an RCMP meeting in Edmonton. Experts would call this pattern of behaviour a strong indicator of his true leadership style. His behaviour has been shameful. How can the citizens of Canada expect the Commissioner to fix the RCMP’s culture of harassment when he is responsible for breaches of the federal govt’s policy against harassment ? The Commissioner can no longer be entrusted to lead and reform the RCMP. He must resign immediately. He has disgraced the uniform, the organization, the citizens and country he swore an oath to serve and protect, including the people he was appointed to lead.

  3. E Famia permalink

    Here is what citizens of Canada think of Commissioner Paulson. Letters sent to the Edmonton Journal on June 21, 2013 regarding mental illness.

    http://www.edmontonjournal.com/opinion/letters/Featured+letter+Mountie+comments+display+ignorance/8555476/story.html

  4. Stewart permalink

    Leadership??? Real leadership in the RCMP???? Has been an achievable dream for decades, but it requires buy in from the TOP to the bottom. Oh, and change cannot occur when there is chronic fear of change (evolution).

    Stewart Robertson
    Chair
    Lower Mainland Member’s Support Group

  5. worker bee permalink

    Quite a bit of blarney on both sides here I think. As a blue collar worker who employs sub contractors to do certain jobs, I think your pretty well off with your medical benefits. When I hire a carpenter I expect him or her to come to work on time, do the job, and I pay them. The WCB rules the safety aspect of the job and I am held responsible for a safe site. If the people I hire do not like me or my foremen, they are welcome to find employment elsewhere. In hiring cops, if you cant carry a gun, drive a car, or work overnight then maybe you should look elsewhere for a job. If you dont fit in with the crew go somewhere else. The people that work for a living in the trades do not have the luxury of being off work with full salary for a couple of years. Just try and slide that one past the WCB.

    • Stewart permalink

      Very true worker bee on a couple of your points I would like to add some clarity.

      RCMP members do come to work on time, do the job and get paid. On many cases they work for hours after their paid scheduled shift to ensure a complete job & are expected to do that voluntarily without compensation. I’m not sure your workplace encompasses getting, spit on, puked on, punched, kicked, stuck by dirty needle and having to wash out the back seat after your last client voided his or her bladder in it.

      You have WCB to ensure health and safety in your workplace, believe me many Mounties would love to have WCB holding management responsible for following the law and ensuring a safe site. In the RCMP, the RCMP plays the part of WCB or independent oversight. Somewhat like having the fox ensuring security on the hen house.

      Most all Mounties I know want to be at work and serving Canadians as they swore an oath to upon engagement, carrying a gun, driving a car, working nightshifts and serving and protecting the public. Being off duty sick is not a status anyone I know or have worked with would strive to be on and most have been doing the job for many years. We have many members who in their first few years do leave the job, most move on to Municipal Police Forces where entities like WCB provide the professional structure in the workplace where they can do their jobs with everyone from the top to the bottom being responsible for the safe site. Don’t hear a lot about this ODS topic in the Municipal sphere.

      I very much appreciate your post and defend your right to speak freely and express your thoughts, something many Mounties are afraid to do because of career limiting reprisals, abuse of authority and isolation, again with no WCB as oversight to the psychological violence.

      Believe me, no one ever wants to be ODS.

      Sincerely,

      Stewart Robertson
      Chair
      Lower Mainland RCMP Member’s Support Group

  6. Anonymous permalink

    Well said Stew.

  7. E Famia permalink

    RCMP Leadership;

    At a time when the Conservative Gov’ts Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) has become a problem for its officers and the citizens they serve, the Commissioner and his Senior Executive have continued to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on unnecessary travel expenses and hospitality. This excess spending is occuring at a time when the same Senior Executive have ordered drastic cuts to the administration and operation of the RCMP. Mr. Paulson has spent $135,112.61 on travel expenses and hospitality since he became Commissioner in an 18 month period ending June 1st, 2013. These numbers don`t include his Senior Executive spending. How can the Commissioner and his Senior Executive justify spending this money during the cuts prescribed by the Fed. Gov`t ? Please check out the following link to the RCMP public website for proactive disclosure for all the details.

    http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pd-dp/travhosp-voyacc/2013-06-01/paulson/index-eng.htm

  8. Jeff Who permalink

    I am curious what issue any of you have concerning Paulson’s comments to the Senate Hearing. He is correct when he states that “…people’s ambitions exceed their abilities…” within the RCMP. The unfortunate part about the RCMP is that far too many exceed the level of their own incompetence and I think that is why the RCMP is in the state it is in.

  9. mixer permalink

    Well Buffalo BOB is once again out of touch with Reality. He can site stuff from books that were said by TRUE LEADERS. But he is watching the Parade GO BY. I once said to My Supervisors up to Chief Super… we Must start at the TOP to change because that is where the Power is coming from. Only once they realize that there is nobody left to do the Job at the bottom Level will things Change. A fellow troop member who is now a Chief Super asked me how things are going to be fixed. I told him SIR I’m a Cst. you’re Management you have to remember that CST and Front Line Supervisors are keeping the RCMP going. Not the people in the fancy Chairs. .. He was not impressed.

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