“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry D. Thoreau
With increasing competition and reduced promotion vacancies across forces, officers who do have a promotion opportunity might be forgiven for thinking the process is increasingly morphing into a resilience test.
Mental Toughness is a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances, such as difficult competitive situations, and emerge without losing confidence. It can be defined as the ability or inner quality that enables individuals to work hard and stick to their long-term goals, despite difficulties encountered.
From a motivational perspective, Angela Lee Duckworth in her TED talk uses the term ‘grit’ to describe mental toughness:
” Grit is a passion or perseverance for long-term goals. Having stamina, sticking with your future, day in and day out, not for a month, but for years to make that future a reality. “
Is that you?
An eye on the future
“ Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing ” – Pele
Those with one eye firmly on future promotion need to be playing a longer game. In the current climate of austerity, organisational change and uncertainties, many qualified Constables and Sergeants do not know (and often cannot find out) if their force will hold a promotion selection process in the next 12 or even 24 months.
This uncertainty is frustrating for some. For others, frustration just doesn’t begin to describe it. In the short term nothing is likely to change this situation. A sign of mental toughness is the intent to prevail, keeping attention on the long term outcome.
A further characteristic of mentally tough people is a focus upon things they can control e.g. attitude, enthusiasm and learning skills going forward. They accept that while circumstances cannot be controlled, they can control their response to a situation.
Don’t call it a dream, call it a plan.
“A year from now you may wish you had started today” Karen Lamb
Preparing ahead and giving yourself time to do so is increasingly important, because force processes are becoming more challenging. Wider implementation of assessment tests to promote to Sergeant and Inspector rank can prolong the overall process, further testing your resilience. These now include:
- Situational Judgement Tests (SJT) – designed to assess ability to choose the most appropriate action in workplace situations.
- Inductive Reasoning Tests (IRT) – designed to measure abilities that are important in solving problems.
- E tray/In tray exercises – designed to test prioritisation and decision making.
- Critical Thinking Aptitude Tests – Most popular being the ‘Watson Glaser’, these are designed to test your ability to draw inferences, conclusions and assumptions.
Lacking knowledge about a process can lower morale. This affects your mental approach, consistency and resilience towards tackling the challenge. Knowing what to expect can have the opposite more positive impact.
Guidance from the College of Policing to forces states that promotion tests should be competence based (e.g. The Policing Professional Framework – Personal Qualities or The Metropolitan Leadership Framework). Note March 2017: Link to the MLF may not work for some since the MET updated their website, so is no longer publicly available. I have requested a change to this. So for the time being please search on your MET intranet site!
Having a plan can help you focus, structure your preparation, feel more in control and build your confidence going forward. Coincidentally, the role of Inspector includes developing and implementing plans!
Failing to plan is planning to fail.
Keep your focus and determination
“First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do” – Epictetus
A person with mental toughness faces challenges directly with a combination of willpower, skill and resilience. If you have qualified for promotion… that describes you!
Reaching your goal of securing promotion will require actively developing new skills.
The College of Policing (COP) Leadership Review recommends that police leaders drive change by demonstrating their own commitment to personal development. This link between Continuous Personal Development (CPD) and promotion success is not always recognised by candidates, so what is your CPD plan?
What CAN you do to learn? To grow? To gain knowledge? How will you prepare effectively for any additional elements of promotion selection tests?
The future depends on what you do today.
Kind Regards, Steve
Wherever you are on your promotion journey, www.ranksuccess.co.uk can help with guidance and support.