After reading the title so many cops instantly identified the Sergeant Suckup in their world. For those working in larger agencies, they might be able to name many of them.
What qualifies a person for this characterization?
Sergeant Suckup is more concerned with appeasing bosses than leading troops. He would order officers to drink toilet water if it came down the chain of command. That’s not leadership, it’s stupidity. A leader would challenge the ridiculous nature of this directive.
Blind obedience is valuable in certain settings, but in general day-to-day operations within a police organization, it does nothing more than make everyone look stupid.
Sergeant Suckup knows how to do one thing well; get his or her nose so far up the south-end of the command staff that suffocation clouds judgment.
How did Sergeant Suckup develop? Easy! The ambition to advance in rank outweighs all other influencing factors in life. As a result, making the boss happy supersedes doing the right thing, in the right way, and for the right reasons.
Blind-followership helps steer the ship into the lighthouse!
I am not advocating insubordination, but assertive supervision. This includes frank discussions with superiors. Blind-followership helps steer the ship into the lighthouse!
There is a certain way to determine if you’re Sergeant Suckup. Ask the Salty Dog sitting in the far corner of roll call with minimum time until retirement. While this person may or may not be the wisest one in the organization, you will receive unvarnished opinions from him. And if you’re viewed as a suckup with little to no value to the officers, he’ll let you know.
But this article is not meant to malign the reputation of Sergeant Suckup. He does that to himself everyday. It is to affirm the value of his polar-opposite; Sergeant Alvin York. The real-life Sergeant York was one of the most decorated soldiers during World War I, and someone worthy of being followed into battle. Officers will follow the Sergeant York style of leader into battle because of the competent investment made in their welfare.
The Sergeant York persona has remembered to represent the perspective of line officers to command staff as well commands from staff to the officers in the trenches. It can be a tough balancing act, but an all-important one if true leadership exists.
It isn’t about style points as much as hitting the target.
Interestingly enough, a majority of officers have relayed details regarding walking away from the business due to Sergeant Suckup. Yet when asked, officers everywhere mention a specific sergeant in their life that had the greatest impact on their career due to the positive nature in which he or she led the troops.
It isn’t about style points as much as hitting the target. Sergeant York zeroes in on the right targets. Sergeant Suckup believes the bullseye is on the back of his officers.
– Jim McNeff, editor-in-chief, Law Enforcement Today
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