If you aspire to sergeant or inspector ranks in a police promotion process, expectations include that you are competent at inspiring others to do their best.
That may not yet be the case. Or rather, you are unaccustomed to communicating how and why you do it. That’s an important skill well worth developing ahead of your promotion opportunity.
“We deliver, support and inspire” – College of Policing
The above quote is from the national police promotion ‘Competency and Values Framework’, published by the College of Policing.
“I am a role model for the behaviours I expect to see in others and I act in the best interests of the public and the police service” – CVF Guidance
With that in mind, one question I sometimes ask aspiring officers is: “Do you inspire others?”
“Yes, I do” is a common and anticipated response.
I follow up immediately with: “Inspire them to do what?”
That identifies a gap, right there. It’s where the realisation often dawns that whilst you may well be ‘doing it’, speaking about it in a way that evidences the required behaviour takes thought, consideration and practice.
Your preparation for promotion should include reading the competency descriptors in your promotion framework, then deciding how your actions and/or experiences fit with them.
“I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” – Ernest Henley
Nelson Mandela kept a short poem written on a scrap of paper in his prison cell, to inspire him during his darkest days. The above quote is part of “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley.
Its key message, we must strive to make each day a good one no matter what our circumstances may be, recognises that how we think, determines how we feel.
Some officers wonder what the word tangibly means, as they do about a number of the CVF competencies.
Inspire simply means to excite, motivate, encourage, or breathe life into.
You may find it hard to be inspired by a promotion assessment framework. I don’t blame you there! It can be quite dry stuff. Yet it holds the answers to your success.
Your force guidance is full of golden nuggets, tips and insights to breathe life into your application or interview. Whether it is the Policing Professional Framework (PPF), Metropolitan Leadership Framework (MLF) or the Competency and Values Framework (CVF) matters not.
I encourage all police promotion candidates to think of their promotion framework in this way. Doing so provides a valuable key to unlock and maximise your potential in a promotion process.
“Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy”- Tchaikovsky
Inspiration can be found in books, quotes, movies, words, songs and Autobiographies. It literally surrounds you. Ask yourself the question: What or who inspires you? How? Why?
Spending some time thinking around this will help you connect with and articulate your own leadership abilities. If something or someone does not inspire you, how will you inspire others?
It is something I encourage officers to reflect upon as part of their preparation for a promotion opportunity.
Exemplary leaders understand that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must role model the behaviours they expect of others.
Carpe Diem: Seize the Day.
“Action expresses priorities” – Gandhi
OK, let’s hit the ground running! Lots of officers make a conscious choice to leave promotion preparation to the last minute.
That’s something that is vividly apparent to a promotion panel. The sting of disappointment that follows an unsuccessful board experience usually has its roots in choices made beforehand.
You can practice out loud to yourself right now. Here are three questions to help, which might be asked on your promotion board:
Why do you want to be a Sergeant/Inspector?
How will you support others to ensure delivery of the best possible service?
What’s it like to be led by you?
You may want to take a look at your competency framework or make some notes to structure your response/s before speaking (but remember you won’t normally have any of that available in your interview).
There’s nothing stopping you getting to work now on developing and practicing your responses. Use the questions as part of a mock board; ask colleagues, friends or loved ones to play the part of the board. How inspiring do you sound? Take it from there.