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Police Promotion: What is the role of a Police Sergeant? Part 2

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“The great Sergeant is in short trying to be a better person, in addition to being a better police officer and first line supervisor” –  Edward Werder

In Police Promotion: What is the role of a Police Sergeant? I looked at how behaviours and expectations are described differently across police promotion guidance. I also covered some typical initial responses to the question:  “Would you please describe your understanding of the Sergeant’s role?”

part two, I set out some of the wider functions and dimensions of the Sergeant’s to support your thinking and help build upon the ‘nutshell’ description of the role offered in part one:  ‘To set, communicate and reinforce standards in the organisation’.

The headings and breakdown below are to help raise your awareness and develop a broader understanding as part of effective preparation and ahead of your promotion opportunity. I provide this colour coordinated model as an overview to help you remember.

1. Briefing & Administration

A key function of the sergeant’s role is the ability to communicate effectively through briefing and administration of daily business.

Oral and written communication are vehicles for supervisory leadership. Communications and trust are linked and the ability to deliver formal and informal briefings is a requirement of the sergeant’s role.

Administrative responsibilities are wide but include allocating and reviewing team workloads, performance reviews and managing/supervising investigations.

2. Discipline & Ethics

First line supervisors set, communicate and reinforce professional standards and maintain discipline, thereby supporting public trust and confidence.

As a role model of professional standards your character qualities e.g. honesty, respect for others, integrity and fairness become the standard by which others judge their own actions.

Ethics is a body of moral principles or values. Knowing what is right, being totally committed to it and doing it, underpin ethical supervision. The Code of Ethics sets out the principles and standards of behaviour expected from professional police supervisors.

3. Provide Leadership: People, Performance & Change

It is often helpful to consider leadership in context. The context here is 21st Century policing.

The role of sergeant is essentially about leading a team of police officers and staff, driving/managing performance and leading change.

Your personal drive, cognitive capacity and communication skills are all indicators of high potential, that you may well find being tested in your promotion application and wider promotion selection process.

Don’t forget, a promotion board is a leadership interview so being able to talk confidently about your own leadership and behaviours is an important part of effective preparation for the role.

4. Supervision & Training

Ensuring that important work gets done is a key part of the role.

Serving as leader of a team, you are there to motivate people, develop them and to manage their productivity and performance.

Creating a positive working environment where people can thrive, innovate and excel is part of the role expectation. Your functions include allocating relevant, necessary tasks and to ensure they are completed.

Team performance under your guidance as supervisor is key to meeting organisational aims and serving the public. You are accountable for your team’s performance.

Training others is a key but sometimes forgotten aspect of the role.

Training ranges from demonstrating the correct way of doing things to ensuring individuals and the wider team complete important personal and organisational training programmes.

It can be formal classroom based training or online elements.

5. Managing Resources & Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

Managing resources e.g. time, money, people and equipment is a role expectation as is taking personal responsibility for managing your own continuous professional development. Effective leadership also includes developing others.

It’s an important element of the sergeant role. Taking responsibility for driving your own development is the number one recommendation of the review of police leadership by the College of Policing.

Many aspiring promotion candidates I speak to are not aware of this and do not have a CPD plan.

Potential promotion board questions might include: “What have you done to develop yourself or anyone else in the last 12 months?”  

If you are not aware of this element of the role and/or cannot respond effectively to such questions the board may decide that you are not yet ready for promotion.

6. Welfare

As a sergeant a primary role responsibility includes the welfare of individuals in your team.

Knowing your team members, taking time to talk things through and support them as necessary together with knowledge of how and where to signpost or direct individuals for enhanced support services is an important element of the role.

This may require good awareness of your own wellbeing and abilities to understand and/or identify early indicators of potential trauma or stress in others.

Coping with pressure, physical health, mental wellbeing and managing personal, health or work issues are wider dimensions of ‘wellness’.

Good candidates are well informed and aware of this expectation e.g. Well people + Well managed = Well organisation.

7. Decision Making

Decision making is a critical aspect of policing and a highly valued skill. As such, it is a key expectation of the sergeant’s role and a competency tested in promotion processes at all ranks from Sergeant to Chief Constable.

The good news is that a lot of what you need to know about decision making is detailed in the National Decision Model (NDM).

The NDM provides a sound structure to consider and think through operational or wider decision making. It’s a valuable aid to help explain and justify why you took action or decided not to.

The Code of Ethics and the 10 risk principles are additional components to inform your rationale.

Over To You

Here’s a different snapshot of how the role behaviours and values for Sergeant are summarised across three different promotion frameworks.

You’ll note that role behaviours, expectations and values are similar; but frameworks cover and offer different perspectives. That can be quite helpful when you are trying to get an overview.

You can then focus on your own force framework to refine and develop your understanding of what is expected.

Clearly there is room for discussion and debate regarding these and other qualities that are not identified here.

However, it is my experience that many individuals preparing for promotion opportunities benefit strongly from discussion around aspects of the role, it helps to raise awareness, develop understanding and enhance personal confidence.

The best candidates are well prepared.

They are able to be verbally proactive in interview about the role, making links as appropriate to help persuade, influence and reassure the panel when collectively making a risk decision – to promote you!

I hope I have triggered, supported and provoked some thinking around the role of Sergeant.

If you’d like some support with your promotion preparation and want to hit the ground running you can download a FREE guide right now and make a start today! Over to you! Here’s the link: ‘7 Things Promotion Boards Also Look For In Candidates

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You

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A determined Sergeant inspired me to write this blog. He first made contact with me because he had been unsuccessful in previous attempts at promotion to Inspector in his own force. I’ll come back to this later…

There’s no easy route to acquiring or developing good interview skills. It takes time, perseverance and commitment. The good news is that you can massively enhance your chances of success with some smart working. Because of the promotion processes are a competition, it means you must become the best version of you.

A strong performance in your promotion interview is likely to be underpinned by your ability to talk comfortably: Talking about the role you aspire to, your workforce mission, vision and shared values; together with enthusiasm and a clear idea of what you will do with your new stripes or pips going forward.

 Begin With the End in Mind

 “Visualise this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.” – Robert Collier

To make it easy for the panel to pick you from others, aim to be so good that they can’t ignore you. This is in your power. Take a few moments to visualise your promotion interview. Ask yourself these questions and write down your responses.

  1. What impression do I want to leave the panel with when I leave the room?
  2. What do I want them to think?
  3. What needs to happen for that to be the case?

Visualising success ahead of your promotion opportunity helps lay a mental foundation for managing your interview responses. Thinking through potential questions and responses develops self-awareness and incrementally builds your personal confidence. However, it’s not a one-off. You need to work at this over time.

 Your Attitude

“You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of becoming a little better each day and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better” – John Wooden

Your attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents your degree of like or dislike for something. It is your ‘state of readiness’ to respond in a characteristic way to a concept or situation. It is the dynamic element in your behaviour, the motive (reason) for activity e.g. Why are you doing this?

The good news is that your attitude is a choice. It can be changed through persuasion. It is generally a positive or negative view of a thing or event. Always remember that you are free to choose your attitude.

“The last of human freedoms is the power to choose one’s attitude to a given set of circumstances” – Victor Frankl

What attitude have you chosen?

 Growth Mindset

 “When the world says give up,hope whispers, tryone more time.” – Unknown

Have a look at the differences between fixed and growth mindsets, as described by the psychologist Carol Dweck.

The following also lays the concept out nicely in a graphic designed by the theorist Nigel Holmes.

Dweck states that a passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when it is not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. Individuals with the growth mindset find success in doing their best, in learning and improving.

What do you recognise in your own mindset?

A Triple Whammy…

“Some people don’t like competition because it makes them work harder, better” – Drew Carey

Aspiring officers who have previously experienced failure often contact me. As a coach/mentor, I believe in the potential of every individual.

I mentioned earlier that I had been inspired to write this blog by a Sergeant, who had been unsuccessful in promotion selection processes in his force. We spoke on the phone and it was clear that he still possessed a positive attitude.

Although he was disappointed by previous setbacks, his growth mindset, self-belief and reserves of resilience were all factors that made him want to try again. But this time he decided to approach things slightly differently. I’ll let him tell the story:

“I applied for promotion three times with my force and was unsuccessful each time. From wanting to give up and thinking it may not be for me, I attended the Rank Success promotion Masterclass, where I got to grip with how and what I needed to do. I tried one final time applying for mutiple advertised Inspector vacancies in three different forces. Every force had different application processes (A “Why Me & Why Now” Letter, an online application and a standard application).

“I was successful in all three paper sifts that followed and was invited to interviews/assessment centres. Rank Success eBooks helped me prepare for my presentations, briefings and formal interviews.”

I went from 3 Failures to 3 Passes!

“I passed all three-promotion boards with flying colours coming top in two processes. A choice of three forces! I wish I could take all the positions offered but have to decide where is my career best suited!”  –

Deepak recently (Passed THREE Inspectors processes at once!)

What happened for this to be the outcome?

When you begin with the end in mind,‘ Be so good they can’t ignore you, becomes a mindset. It raises the bar from day one. I encourage all my clients to aim that high.

Successful candidates often tell me that they put more effort, time and commitment into preparing for their interview than anything they have ever prepared for before. As a result, they feel more aware and confident. It’s that simple, and it’s that hard!

Ask yourself  How much do I want to succeed?

Am I prepared to do the necessary work to perform to the best of my ability when it matters?

Life is a series of choices. You can choose your mindset. You can choose to start now.

Wherever you are on your promotion journey, Rank Success can help you prepare effectively. Why not download a FREE guide & start today?

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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If You Don’t Believe in Yourself, Why Should Anyone Else?

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 “Your success depends mainly on what you think of yourself and whether you believe in yourself  William J. H. Boetcker 

 Our relationships, abilities and possibilities are influenced by our beliefs about them. These beliefs can be empowering but amongst them we all have some limiting beliefs and thoughts. 

 These are the powerful thoughts that limit action, that stop you moving forward. Some are as a result of social conditioning, often from childhood and act as your very own filter of reality, affecting how you see and experience the world. These limiting or negative beliefs are also invisible. They hold you back from achieving your true potential. 

 As the owner of these thoughts and beliefs you can choose to get rid of them. You can do this through raising your awareness and prove them false. Sometimes described as stinking thinking, here are some examples. 

  • All the wrong people get promoted

  • It’s a waste of time

  • I don’t have enough experience

  • It’s not a fair process

  • There’s no point in me applying

  • I’m too old

  • Others have a better chance than me

  • I’m not good enough

  • I’m too young

  • I don’t have the time

  • There are no opportunities

 You can identify and acknowledge your self-limiting or negative beliefsBeing completely honest with yourself is a starting point. Everyone has them. At least one! 

 Write them down. Make them visible.

Out In The Open

“Positive thinking won’t let you do anything, but it will let you do everything better than negative thinking will” Zig Ziglar

Once they are out in the open, one way of dealing with these thoughts is to reframe them. Reframing is a technique for altering negative or self-defeating thought patterns by deliberately replacing them with positive conscious self-talk. It’s about changing your perception and generating new options.  

For example: “I don’t have enough time” when reframed becomes “I prioritise things that are important to me”.

Here are some more:

A Thinking Partner

“Our thoughts are shaped by our assumptions and sometimes those assumptions are just plain wrong” Cara Stein

Coaches are sometimes described as a thinking partner. Supporting and respectfully challenging the thinking of individuals who aspire to promotion is something that I love doing.

Identifying stinking thinking and then reframing it helps with getting the approach right going forward. It’s a valuable tactic and one that can help build confidence.

I hear lots of aspiring promotion candidates using the term ‘if I’m successful” when talking about opportunities ahead. That’s some stinking thinking right there!  It’s a subconscious barrier. It reflects inner doubt, lack of self-belief and can prevent you from presenting the best version of yourself during a promotion selection process.

Reframing can be a powerful enabler.  Here’s a brief insight from Steve, a Detective Sergeant, prior to successfully achieving his goal of promotion to Inspector:

“The positive mind set you kept me in was very good for me…You often corrected me from saying ‘if’ I pass to ‘when’ I pass, which had an impact psychologically on my preparation and actually made me feel you were keeping me on track. Compared to a previous unsuccessful interview, I felt completely different and more relaxed. Where I was unsure… a quick chat put me back in the positive thinking area again. There were a few times you did that”

Reframing “if” (stinking thinking) to “when” (positive thinking) helps tremendously in visualising a successful outcome. As Henry Ford puts it: 

“If you think you can or if you think you can’t, you’re right”

Finally, if you are preparing ahead and would like something to trigger and support your thinking, here’s a FREE 50 page downloadable guide: ‘7 Things Promotion Boards Also Look For’

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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Police Promotion Long Live The CVF

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The phrase: ‘The King is dead. Long live the King’, refers to the heir who immediately succeeds to the throne. It arose from the law of ‘le mort saisit le vif’, meaning that the transfer of sovereignty occurs instantaneously upon the moment of the death or the previous monarch.

As of April 2018, the College of Policing (CoP) ended its support for the Policing Professional Framework (PPF) personal-qualities based police promotion. There has been no coronation as such, yet in the world of police promotion processes, there has been a succession. A new monarch, the ‘CVF’, or Competency and Values Framework to announce its full title has arrived. If you aspire to promotion now or in future, CVF the new monarch requires your allegiance!

A Level Playing Field

“Success in any field begins by deciding exactly what you want, then developing a plan” – Anon

Despite the well-documented challenges facing the police service, there are clearly a significant number of highly motivated aspiring leaders: Thousands of officers are awaiting the result of the NPPF Sergeant’s exam as I write this.

If there is such a thing as a level playing field, it’s as close right now as it will ever be. Those who will be assessed against the new framework all have the same opportunity now whilst awaiting their exam results, to get to know the CVF and to raise their awareness and understanding of it.

Some may wonder why on earth would you start reading up on the new framework already, when you don’t know your exam result yet? Now there’s a question!

“While we are making up our minds as to when we shall begin, the opportunity is lost.” – Quintillion

A proportion of those awaiting results will procrastinate, unwittingly running the risk of being left behind by waiting for this announcement as their starting gun.

Others commit fully, decision made, knowing instinctively that the starting gun has already been fired. They make full use of time before exam results are known, to get ahead of the curve and to be in the best position possible when a promotion process opens. Those who do this also recognise their own responsibility to drive and maintain their CPD (notably the number 1 recommendation from the CoP Leadership Review!).

“Development is always self-development. Nothing could be more absurd than for the enterprise to assume responsibility for the development of a person. The responsibility rests with the individual, their abilities, their efforts.” Peter Drucker

Candidates who prepare ahead inevitably find that they are better able to ‘hit the ground running’ when a promotion process is announced. They realise the value of homework on the framework, often drafting values based evidence aligned to the competencies (aka ‘behaviours’). Others realise too late. It dawns upon them that the CVF takes time to digest, to absorb and to think through, let alone work through.

Battle of the Shires…

“Change. We don’t like it, but we can’t stop it from coming. We either adapt to change or we get left behind. It hurts to grow, anybody who tells you it doesn’t is lying, but here’s the truth sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. Sometimes change is good.” – Meredith Grey

Some forces introduced the CVF before April. Having already supported officers at level 2 and 3 of the CVF in achieving promotion to Sergeant/Inspector, I’ve had some interesting anecdotal conversations along the way. Safe to say there are a wide range of strong views and opinions on the CVF!

There are clearly two distinct tribes of opinion, battling in the warzone of police promotion:

  1. First there are those who are clearly bitter, seeing themselves as a victim of unfair changes hampering their ability to get promoted. They will criticise and question how fit the new framework is for policing and may even put forward some convincing arguments.

  2. Then there are those with a growth mindset. Whether reluctantly or enthusiastically, they are navigating their way through the challenge, adapting the way they may have previously prepared. They get on with it, knowing there is no single best system for promotion selections!

The CVF is new for supervisors, HR departments and assessors. As with any change there will be issues as this new framework beds in with lots of learning and adjustments.

A Way Forward

“The process of going from confusion to understanding is a precious, even emotional, experience that can be the foundation of self-confidence” – Brian Greene

John Wooden said, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts”, and that’s a great starting point for everyone.

Reading through all available guidance is a helpful first step. Many candidates attempt a promotion process without even a rudimentary understanding of their promotion framework, often overlooking what is a precious source of information. If you aspire to promotion and want to be successful, the most valuable action you can take today is to familiarise yourself with the promotion framework your force uses.

The reason for this is simple: It’s jam packed full of golden nuggets of information to help raise your awareness. It describes what ‘good’ looks like and provides guidance to help align your evidence for promotion applications and interviews.

The framework is now in place. The CVF has been crowned King of UK police promotion frameworks… “Long live the CVF!” Your allegiance will grow stronger after some hard work to start making sense of it for yourself. Then you’ll be able to start aligning and drafting your evidence to the behaviours and shared values.

Unless of course you reside in the MET, which everyone knows is a separate Kingdom, far from the shires, where things are done a differently. Here, when it comes to promotion it is: “Long live the MLF!” In any case I always encourage my clients to look at both frameworks to gain a deeper understanding of the Sergeant’s role from two different perspectives.

I’ll leave the last word to someone who knew a thing or two about overcoming challenges…

“Some people dream of success. Others wake up and work hard at it.” – Winston Churchill

Wherever you are on your promotion journey, Rank Success can help you prepare effectively. Why not download a FREE guide & start today?

Let us know your views by tweeting @PoliceHour We'll feature the best tweets within the article.

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