What is Leadership

Mackey appears to have become Commissioner because of being a good business manager rather than a leader.
IMHO the head of an organisation the size of the Met needs to be a good business LEADER, business being the business of policing. He or she doesn’t necessarily have to be a good policeman or a small team leader. It’s probably unrealistic to expect someone who has the ability to lead a large, multi faceted organisation in a highly demanding stakeholder environment ton have the range of skills and traits necessary to do a Constables job or lead at Sergeant level. Just as it would be unrealistic to expect a Constable to brief COBRA. Which is more important in a Commissioner; to be a leader of men or a leader of organisations? Yet that’s what we do; we select senior leaders from a very narrow pool yet some how expect them to be all things to all
men. My suspicion is that you are right; Mackey and his ilk are selected for management skills not leadership skills.

A slight change of line of thought. Mackey had just come out of a grilling from MPs. In its own way, probably a stressful event and one that stretched him. He was probably in his car taking a moment to reset and focus on the next, very different priority when he got back. That’s the nature of holding a strategic leadership role; everyone needs a piece of your time and you never have enough. So is it realistic to expect him to assess a situation in 30 seconds and dive in?
 
As I said, I've got no interest in continuing to engage with someone who misrepresents the events in order to score silly debating points. I'm even less inclined to do so when you insist on making baseless personal attacks instead of discussing the issue.

Happy to re-engage once you calm down and disscuss things like an adult.
You really need to grow up
 
I see this as a logical outcome of the current organisational culture in the Police and culture of the Home Office. It is more “Citizens on Parade” then “Hill Street Blue” apologies for the septic references.

The current UK Police “service” is inherently blue collar, it’s Officers were exclusively drawn from the ranks. Those who display the “correct” values and beliefs and more than likely have a diverse profile are likely to promoted.

None of this rewards any demonstration of leadership, hence the current “management” of the Police service.

YM
 
I think large orgs do need management specialists as well as leaders. That's why we have the MOD for all the good it does. But they should be civies seperate to on the job leaders. If the bloke was a non warranted pen pusher as he clearly should have been then this would have been a non issue. But he was a police constable with the powers and dutys that go with that.

Whether it's your Regiment, your Police Force or your Fire Brigade orgs where the basic building block it's all built on is personal courage to deal with whats in front of you and rendering aid to a mucker in distress need leaders not managers from top to bottom. Managers should be a seperate civilian support function providing an interface between all levels of job and the politicians who provide the funding for the necessary.
 
IMHO the head of an organisation the size of the Met needs to be a good business LEADER, business being the business of policing. He or she doesn’t necessarily have to be a good policeman or a small team leader. It’s probably unrealistic to expect someone who has the ability to lead a large, multi faceted organisation in a highly demanding stakeholder environment ton have the range of skills and traits necessary to do a Constables job or lead at Sergeant level. Just as it would be unrealistic to expect a Constable to brief COBRA. Which is more important in a Commissioner; to be a leader of men or a leader of organisations? Yet that’s what we do; we select senior leaders from a very narrow pool yet some how expect them to be all things to all
men. My suspicion is that you are right; Mackey and his ilk are selected for management skills not leadership skills.

A slight change of line of thought. Mackey had just come out of a grilling from MPs. In its own way, probably a stressful event and one that stretched him. He was probably in his car taking a moment to reset and focus on the next, very different priority when he got back. That’s the nature of holding a strategic leadership role; everyone needs a piece of your time and you never have enough. So is it realistic to expect him to assess a situation in 30 seconds and dive in?
I agree with much of your post but I am struggling to define for myself the problem inherent in someone passing from the operational side of a business to an admin/planning side, whilst retaining the trappings - in terms of appearance and self-presentation - of someone in ops.
Put another way, and reversing your question, would Mackey ever come out and say ' Look, I'm a planner. I haven't been on the street for x years, I couldn't be expected to get involved'?
I think he wouldn't. He instead came out with stuff about 'securing evidence' which gives the impression that he wants to present himself as someone doing something active. The uniform issue does not help as the public see a uniform with all that implies - the dress uniform is military in appearance (colour aside) and the braid, epulaulettes, service and other medals, are not things one sees on those in most other management positions.
Considering your post, perhaps he would have been better off just admitting that he couldn't do much, that he is now a manager, not in ops. Instead he implied (in Mar '17) that he'd had some sort of active role (' securing evidence ' - giving a statement it sounds like) and has had to squirm for the past two weeks because of his initial lack of openness and because of the choices he made on the day of the attack.
I take your point about the difference between ops and management. I can't work out how the difference could resolve itself if the incident was to be repeated, and another senior officer found themselves present at a major incident.
 
I agree with much of your post but I am struggling to define for myself the problem inherent in someone passing from the operational side of a business to an admin/planning side, whilst retaining the trappings - in terms of appearance and self-presentation - of someone in ops.
Put another way, and reversing your question, would Mackey ever come out and say ' Look, I'm a planner. I haven't been on the street for x years, I couldn't be expected to get involved'?
I think he wouldn't. He instead came out with stuff about 'securing evidence' which gives the impression that he wants to present himself as someone doing something active. The uniform issue does not help as the public see a uniform with all that implies - the dress uniform is military in appearance (colour aside) and the braid, epulaulettes, service and other medals, are not things one sees on those in most other management positions.
Considering your post, perhaps he would have been better off just admitting that he couldn't do much, that he is now a manager, not in ops. Instead he implied (in Mar '17) that he'd had some sort of active role (' securing evidence ' - giving a statement it sounds like) and has had to squirm for the past two weeks because of his initial lack of openness and because of the choices he made on the day of the attack.
I take your point about the difference between ops and management. I can't work out how the difference could resolve itself if the incident was to be repeated, and another senior officer found themselves present at a major incident.
My argument is not one of management versus operations. It’s one of strategic leadership versus team leadership. The Commissioner isn’t a manager, he’s got a team of managers around him to do the planning, manage current operations etc etc. He or she is supposed to provide the big vision and to inspire people to encompass the vision. By people I means all stakeholders, not just the rank and file but also the public and his political masters.

My one corollary to that line of thought is that he is the Deputy Commissioner. I’m not sure how the senior leadership team’s responsibilities are allocated, but it is not uncommon for the second-in-command to have the ops porfolio and have a managerial focus. Horses for courses.

I think you are spot on about Mackey’s response. If he did make a conscious decision to head back to HQ to take strategic command, why didn’t he say so on the day? Why did it take over a year for his t
role to become public and to do so in such a meally mouthed way? Why were he, Cressida Dick and the other strategic leaders so blinkered to the likely damage of not taking a timely, bullish approach?

I’ve read somewhere that it was because he was a key witness. So what? Surely the needs of the service and the people of London trump that?

I think the answer is because he is not a strategic leader. If he were, he would have known instinctively that he had to act and he would have acted strategically.
 
It's one thing for him to have plans for the running and future of the Met whilst he's Compere, sorry Commissioner.
I personally tend to be a bit wary of those who have visions-in my personal experience, they're either religious maniacs or on drugs.
Or both.
 
@bobthebuilder

I guess his strategic command briefing would have been a tad awkward.

Ok sir getting multiple reports of mass casualties in westminster.

Yes that is accurate intel one chap got offed in front of me. Legged it natch. Now what should we tweet? I'm thinking something that uses communities twice in the same sentance.
 
@bobthebuilder

I guess his strategic command briefing would have been a tad awkward.

Ok sir getting multiple reports of mass casualties in westminster.

Yes that is accurate intel one chap got offed in front of me. Legged it natch. Now what should we tweet? I'm thinking something that uses communities twice in the same sentance.
I share your cynicism. If Mackey and his ilk were credible strategic leaders, we’d trust them to provide the necessary strategic leadership. The fact is they are over-promoted middle managers who climb the greasy pole through political posturing and correctness and subsequently act in their own interests.

If we trusted our strategic leaders to act effectively, honourably and honestly in their primary roles, we wouldn’t be having this debate.
 
I share your cynicism. If Mackey and his ilk were credible strategic leaders, we’d trust them to provide the necessary strategic leadership. The fact is they are over-promoted middle managers who climb the greasy pole through political posturing and correctness and subsequently act in their own interests.

If we trusted our strategic leaders to act effectively, honourably and honestly in their primary roles, we wouldn’t be having this debate.
Which was kinda my point above previously. An ops focused person will always prioritise capacity and deployability. The brutal financial realities mean that you do need people making the call between x and y in terms of what is invested in and what is cut. Personally i think a negotiation between ops focused uniform and civilian middlemen trained to manage limited budgets between the politicians and ops would be more effective than promotion structures that expect soldiers, coppers and fire fighters to morph into accountants and diversity officers with age and seniority.
 
What was your excuse for letting gang rapists get away with their crime?
My "excuse" for my part in the outcome, which I'm neither proud nor ashamed of, was that it was what the victim wanted - considerably more, in fact, and I think the victim has more right to have a say in the outcome than those who've been uninvolved. It wasn't my choice to let anyone get away with anything, nor was it up to me - you're not just making things up but openly lying about events you know nothing about other than my detailing them, and what I detailed has no connection with what you're saying.

You were pretty low in my estimation before, blaming your lack of further promotion on others being promoted who are downgraded, blaming "Fatty MacFatF*ck" when your own physical fitness is at best questionable, and blaming your commanders for their failure to give you the credit you think you deserve, but you've reached an all time low here even by your standards.

A willingness to 'get stuck in' to a brawl in the NAAFI and the "honesty" to admit that you'd leave your mates and subordinates to die in the field unless you were suitably safe and protected are not things to be proud of.

While the Army may have changed just as the police undoubtedly has, and soldiers may arguably be less fit or physically robust and different in other ways, I don't believe for a second that the ethos of backing up your mates, your peers, and above all your subordinates has changed by the smallest fraction in the Army, the police, or any similar organisations or that those serving in them are any less ready, willing and able to do so, whatever the risk to themselves, than they have ever been.

There will always be bottom feeders who will put themselves first, who will at worst disgrace the uniform others deservedly wear with pride or at best bask in the undeserved glory others have given that uniform, and some will inevitably rise just as sh1t floats as well as cream, but that should never detract from the sacrifice all the rest are willing to make.
 
My "excuse" for my part in the outcome, which I'm neither proud nor ashamed of, was that it was what the victim wanted - considerably more, in fact, and I think the victim has more right to have a say in the outcome than those who've been uninvolved. It wasn't my choice to let anyone get away with anything, nor was it up to me - you're not just making things up but openly lying about events you know nothing about other than my detailing them, and what I detailed has no connection with what you're saying.

You were pretty low in my estimation before, blaming your lack of further promotion on others being promoted who are downgraded, blaming "Fatty MacFatF*ck" when your own physical fitness is at best questionable, and blaming your commanders for their failure to give you the credit you think you deserve, but you've reached an all time low here even by your standards.

A willingness to 'get stuck in' to a brawl in the NAAFI and the "honesty" to admit that you'd leave your mates and subordinates to die in the field unless you were suitably safe and protected are not things to be proud of.

While the Army may have changed just as the police undoubtedly has, and soldiers may arguably be less fit or physically robust and different in other ways, I don't believe for a second that the ethos of backing up your mates, your peers, and above all your subordinates has changed by the smallest fraction in the Army, the police, or any similar organisations or that those serving in them are any less ready, willing and able to do so, whatever the risk to themselves, than they have ever been.

There will always be bottom feeders who will put themselves first, who will at worst disgrace the uniform others deservedly wear with pride or at best bask in the undeserved glory others have given that uniform, and some will inevitably rise just as sh1t floats as well as cream, but that should never detract from the sacrifice all the rest are willing to make.
You are not ashamed you covered up gang rape? Jesus, what a **** you really are.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
If we trusted our strategic leaders to act effectively, honourably and honestly in their primary roles, we wouldn’t be having this debate.
I disagree firmly with this. I think a useful hypothetical is to imagine any military leader you respect, historical or recent, and imagine they responded in the same way as Mackey. How would that be treated?

I think it'd be seen in the same light as Mackey, perhaps even worse. I just don't think the quality of his strategic leadership is relevant. Its the fact he wears the uniform that matters.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I wish I was brave as I like to think I am :)
I can confirm the first is true. You're on the wrong track, put the shovel down gracefully.

Like he said, it's not outside the realm of probability that on a military internet forum that some people might have some real world experience of fighting, combat, CT, etc. Sure, it's sensible to be generically suspicious about internet hardmen, but somewhere in the morass are people who do actually know what they are talking about. I know at least three on this thread.

Not really, we can fantasize, we can wish we will react the right way but when push comes to shove we haven't really a clue
Then what is the point of, essentially, the entirety of infantry, CP, SF, etc etc training? Also extend that to skydiving / parachuting, climbing, scuba diving drills or even driving lessons. All are directed at making certain responses automatic, so that when it matters the chances of flapping or freezing are minimised, and so that the movements required are muscle memory rather than things one has to think about.

The fact that still some people refuse in the door, freeze or flap, doesn't mean that "we haven't really a clue how we will react", it just speaks to the reason we train that way in the first place: the untrained inclination is to freeze. But you can be confident that comparing a group of 100 people with that training to a group of 100 without, there will be a lot more of the first group who respond reliably than the second.

The sentiment you quote is still slightly true, but it comes from a period of conscript armies and little to no training. We've come a long way since then. Among professionally trained groups of all the kinds above, it's not a significant problem.
 
..and therein lies the problem.

Modern society as portrayed through the media and the legal system has an aversion to any concept of discretion, and assumes that no situation that occurs cannot be covered by prescribed protocols..

..
Fortunately wiser counsel now appears to prevail, at least in one emergency service and one would hope within them all. Any job which by its very nature is predicated on dealing with emergency situations must have some degree of discretion, just like the old military adage that no plan however well formulated survives first contact.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
can confirm the first is true. You're on the wrong track, put the shovel down gracefully.

Like he said, it's not outside the realm of probability that on a military internet forum that some people might have some real world experience of fighting, combat, CT, etc. Sure, it's sensible to be generically suspicious about internet hardmen, but somewhere in the morass are people who do actually know what they are talking about. I know at least three on this thread.
Thanks.

I'm still not sure that experience is necessary to understand the right thing to do. 21st of foot is probably right that none of us have been in exactly the same situation as Mackey and therefore don't know how we'd react, but I think even my civilian mates can make a judgement about the right thing to do.

I'd also say that just because someone says something is the right thing to do, that doesn't mean they're claiming they would do it. See any VC or GC citation for an example of something I'm 99% sure I wouldn't do but I know was the right thing.
 
Thanks.

I'm still not sure that experience is necessary to understand the right thing to do. 21st of foot is probably right that none of us have been in exactly the same situation as Mackey and therefore don't know how we'd react, but I think even my civilian mates can make a judgement about the right thing to do.

I'd also say that just because someone says something is the right thing to do, that doesn't mean they're claiming they would do it. See any VC or GC citation for an example of something I'm 99% sure I wouldn't do but I know was the right thing.
I dont't think its about the right thing. Dither, fanny about, all of not exactly the right thing to do.

Its don't do the wrong thing, lock the doors and drive away from a colleague being killed. Bloke had many options but flee was the one he couldn't take and keep any honour and he picked that one.

And I don't think the majority of us like yourself on this side of the argument are being harsh. At best a man wearing a uniform he should not be.
 
I disagree firmly with this. I think a useful hypothetical is to imagine any military leader you respect, historical or recent, and imagine they responded in the same way as Mackey. How would that be treated?

I think it'd be seen in the same light as Mackey, perhaps even worse. I just don't think the quality of his strategic leadership is relevant. Its the fact he wears the uniform that matters.
I don’t think Mackey’s actions are a leadership issue at all. They are a human issue.

His place as a leader should surely be where he can lead from. I can think of any number of military leaders who placed themselves where they were most effective. Sometimes that was forward, sometimes back. Some successful strategic leaders never went forward; Harris never flew a mission over Germany as CinC. There are plenty of who have gone forward on to extricate rapidly from a fight to do their job.

I don’t think we know anywhere near enough to judge Mackey a coward. I’ve no idea whether he was an effective team leader. He appears to me to be an utterly **** strategic leader. But then he’s the Deputy Commissioner, not the Commissioner. Maybe that role requires a tje highest levels of managerial skill and less leadership.
 
Interesting idea: I was in at the time, so saw both...how do you think it's affecting the discussion?
Its maybe more a "correlation rather than causation" thing. More importantly I'd like to know whether "Operational Discretion" has actually taken route in the organisation or is a veneer as some posters on this site insist "Mission Command" is in the Army.

As an aside I think we still lack a definitive sequence of events. People seem to be arguing from differing understandings. I have not been following this issue beyond this thread and what I have googled up because of it and I certainly haven't had time to do anything with the transcripts so where I have argued something both what I have been arguing against and for have been prompted by the thread. I have found new information (to the thread) but only because I had a question which originated from here.

For example, Mackey has been critcised for not acting because he could not be sure others had reacted. However as I understand it he was just departing and had (I think) walked past the Uniformed Firearms officers and perhaps was even aware of the presence of SA74 and his colleagues. Now in the car rolling forwards towards the barriered lane at the gates he becomes aware of Masood. Was he ahead, beside or perhaps even past him at this point? If he decants alongside he gets into the way of the armed officers and potentially exposes the civillians with him to boot.

My picture had assumed that Masood was between the gate and the car and debusing would have put him between the firearms officers (some of who in reality were on there way to the crash site at the fence). The location of the car in the picture that I query upthread (if that is indeed where he was when the incident happened) would suggest that debussing would have put him in the armed officers line of fire but behind the target and that he himself would have had very little reaction time as Masood appeared around the corner. Again AIUI Masood reversed direction at some point having seen officers (I assume SA74 and his colleague) advancing on him so the possibilty of exposing his passengers as well as interfering with a shot comes into play again.
 
I dont't think its about the right thing. Dither, fanny about, all of not exactly the right thing to do.

Its don't do the wrong thing, lock the doors and drive away from a colleague being killed. Bloke had many options but flee was the one he couldn't take and keep any honour and he picked that one.

And I don't think the majority of us like yourself on this side of the argument are being harsh. At best a man wearing a uniform he should not be.
Explicitly acknowledging that this is in a military rather than a policing context how do you square that with deferring treating caualties untilthe fire fight is own. Further, is all casualty handling the Platoon Commanders job? Its his responsibility yes, but is it his job? Also what about the principle of first aid that states don't become a casualty yourself?
 

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