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Breaking Boundaries: The Power of Shared Leadership in Drug Enforcement Teams

Recently, I have been asked about the leadership structure of our regional drug team that I am currently assigned to as a Detective Sergeant. For operational security, I cannot release details. However, I do indeed share the supervision duties with a Bend Police Lieutenant. Together, we report to a governing board made of up of law enforcement leadership in Deschutes, Jefferson and Crook counties.

The Power of Shared Leadership in Drug Enforcement Teams
Shared Leadership

A Detective Sergeant plays a crucial role on a drug enforcement team, overseeing a team of detectives and managing investigations in the field. The duties of a Detective Sergeant are diverse and demanding, requiring a combination of supervision, leadership, investigative oversight, tactical scene coordination, inter-agency collaboration, community relations, risk assessment and administrative skills. Our team Lieutenant often does the same, however, he or she may also be responsible for additional administrative skills that are often within an office environment and requires them to spend less time in the field.

Fortunately for me and the team, having two supervisors and leaders on the team is a blessing for our community. Leadership in a drug task force environment, when shared among multiple leaders, is often referred to as collaborative or shared leadership. This model of leadership involves distributing leadership responsibilities and authority among team members rather than relying on a single leader.

Here are some key aspects and characteristics of shared leadership in a task force:

  1. Distribution of Roles: In a shared leadership model, specific leadership roles and responsibilities are distributed among team members based on their expertise, skills, and strengths. Each leader may take charge of a particular aspect of the task force's goals.

  2. Collective Decision-Making: Shared leadership encourages collective decision-making. Team members collaborate and contribute their perspectives, insights, and expertise to make informed decisions that benefit the overall mission of the task force.

  3. Mutual Support: Leaders in a shared leadership model support and rely on each other. This mutual support fosters a collaborative and cohesive team environment, where leaders complement each other's strengths and compensate for weaknesses.

  4. Open Communication: Effective communication is crucial in shared leadership. Leaders must maintain open lines of communication to share information, updates, and feedback. Transparent communication helps in building trust and ensuring that everyone is on the same page.

  5. Flexibility and Adaptability: Shared leadership allows for greater flexibility and adaptability. When facing challenges or changes in the task force's environment, leaders can adjust their roles and strategies to address emerging needs effectively.

  6. Conflict Resolution: Conflict is inevitable in any team, but shared leadership promotes the resolution of conflicts through open dialogue and collaboration. Leaders work together to find solutions that align with the task force's objectives.

  7. Accountability: Each leader is accountable for their specific area of responsibility, contributing to a sense of ownership and accountability within the team. This accountability fosters a commitment to achieving shared goals.

  8. Empowerment: Shared leadership empowers team members by providing them with opportunities to take on leadership roles. This not only develops individual leadership skills but also contributes to a sense of ownership and commitment to the task force's success.

  9. Shared Vision: Leaders in a shared leadership model work together to create and maintain a shared vision for the task force. This shared vision serves as a guiding principle that aligns the efforts of the entire team.

  10. Continuous Learning: Shared leadership encourages a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Leaders share insights and learn from each other, fostering a dynamic and adaptive team environment.

In summary, shared leadership in a task force is characterized by collaboration, mutual support, open communication, and the collective pursuit of a shared vision. It leverages the diverse strengths of team members to enhance overall effectiveness and achieve common goals.


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