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Humble leadership and the Police Service.

Smith, Robert


Robert Smith


The concepts of Humble Leadership and Leader Humility are emerging as areas of interest in leadership studies and this briefing note is intended to highlight their potential relevance as a leadership style in the police service. The notion of humble leadership being of relevance to the police service per se was first raised by Leadership Professor Dennis Tourish at the SIPR New Directions in Policing, leadership seminar held at the Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen on 7 May, 2009. In leadership research there is a tendency to concentrate upon the charismatic vein that flows through leadership. However, not all leaders are comfortable with the theatricality and showmanship which often accompany this very public style of leadership. In public services such as the police there is often merit in adopting a cloak of anonymity and being quiet and industrious as one goes about the task of supervising, managing and leading their team. Middle management is a psychic space where one is under pressure to quietly perform and produce results. Thus paradoxically, being the proverbial but dependable Grey Man can have potential benefits in terms of career development. This is particularly true of those officers who are in temporary roles and acting ranks. In this respect the metaphors of the steward and the caretaker are of particular relevance.


SMITH, R., 2009. Humble leadership and the Police Service. SIPR Briefings 6. Edinburgh: Scottish Institute for Policing Research, School of Applied Sciences, Edinburgh Napier University.

Report Type Discussion Paper
Online Publication Date Dec 31, 2009
Publication Date Dec 31, 2009
Deposit Date Nov 30, 2009
Publicly Available Date Nov 30, 2009
Publisher Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR)
Keywords Police service; Leadership; Humble leadership; Leader humility
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