Taking it Seriously
Securing a formal leadership position at Sergeant or Inspector rank requires a serious and focused approach. As a coach/mentor specialising in supporting police officers who want promotion, I thought I might share a few thoughts and insights with you that may help with becoming more promotable.
Yes, the goalposts are changing!
“The aim of the promotion process is to select the best available people”
Whatever promotion selection system is in place, there are usually strong views for or against. It might seem at the moment, that forces are competing with each other to introduce levels of difficulty into promotion processes. These range between expressions of interest, competence based written applications, presentations, interviews, situational judgement tests, psychometric tests, paper tray exercises and/or combinations of these.
Forces may argue they have a duty to select the best available people. They need to ensure supervisors/managers/leaders have the skills and abilities to deliver what is required for the policing of a particular force going forward. Different forces have different tests for different ranks at different times, while the candidates are the guinea pigs in navigating the new processes.
So what can you do? The good news is that time spent practising for any test can help fill knowledge and skills gaps. It can also boost personal confidence.
Assessment tests that are introduced have to be competency based e.g. Policing Professional Framework (PPF) and that means you can prepare ahead. Find out what your force are doing.
If a new assessment or test is being introduced, then get some information on it. The tests are often used in other organisations. Become as good as you can, while you can and in advance of any opportunity that may arise. Here’s one resource that may help: How to pass assessment centres (there are many others).
The goalposts will keep changing. Change is the only constant.
“Nothing could be more absurd than for an enterprise to assume responsibility for the development of a person. Development is always self development” (Peter Drucker)
The first recommendation in the College of Policing (COP) Leadership Review states that:
“Existing leaders should influence and drive the required culture of change by demonstrating their own commitment to personal development”
Some officers operate from a default position rooted in a spoon fed culture and historic attitudes to continuous personal/professional development (CPD).
This refers to a genuinely held (but mistaken) belief, that the organisation should provide all necessary training or development to support individual leadership aspirations.
In an ideal world, all forces would do that. But the real responsibility lies where it belongs – with individuals.
The Grand National
“Improve the odds”
Your promotion application is a written communication test and designed to be just that! It’s also a gateway to the next stage, such as an interview.
Two weeks before a deadline is no time to be completing a promotion application when you could have chosen to draft one in readiness. You could be preparing by doing that today and improving the odds of your success!
Typically officers don’t do this, so just like the Grand National runners and riders line up once a year to compete. Most of the field (nationally, a vast cohort!) goes down at the first fence, usually the written application stage. ‘Best Prepared’ frequently romps home.
Preparation is key. Taking time to understand a few basics, about structuring or presenting evidence for your promotion application, can massively boost the odds in your favour. It’’s also a good way of structuring some of your responses in interview so time is never wasted.
Here’s a resource to help you do that and to make a start.
“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better”
This header is a Jim Rohn quote. It can sometimes be quite provocative!
However, if you think about it, you got into the police which isn’t easy. You got through probation, not easy. You passed OSPRE part 1 and/or part 2… again not easy. You prepared for each of these separate tests and will have done so differently. You had to be better than others.
Doing the work for promotion isn’t easy. It’s hard. If it was easy everyone would be doing it. Motivation, determination, resilience and focus all played their part in your achievements to date. It’s no different when you aspire to promotion.
Spending some time to research the role you aspire to and preparing yourself in advance (at least 3 months) is something many – otherwise capable – individuals simply do not do. That can be for various reasons including not knowing how to begin. But in many cases it is individuals simply leaving it too late to make any meaningful start. No traction means reduced momentum.
Underlying attitude, mindset and/or a hint of arrogance can all contribute to a genuinely held belief that it will all work out in the end. It won’t.
It’s not going to get easier. But preparation always makes YOU better.
Kind Regards, Steve
Wherever you are on your promotion journey, www.ranksuccess.co.uk can help with guidance and support.