I love watching war movies – especially the old ones. And if you watch enough of them, you’re going to find one where the fearless leader accomplishes the mission in spite of the cost to their people.
Now I get that sometimes the mission is of such importance that significant cost may be justified. But the truth is, these types of missions are a rarity. Yet, the use of team members at any cost is not always as uncommon as the uncommon mission.
The leaders that worry me, and should worry you, are the ones that routinely accomplish the mission at the expense of their people. Mission first is their mantra. People are seen only as tools to accomplish the mission. They have no value otherwise.
I am all for accomplishing the mission. In fact, talk to those who know me best and they will attest how mission oriented I can be. But I have come to realize that accomplishing the mission is done through our people – not at the expense of them. That the leader doesn’t have to make the choice between the ultimate goal and our team members.
I recognize that in the law enforcement profession we sometimes must do dangerous things. And ask our people do dangerous things. But it should always be done in the most prudent way possible. Never unnecessarily. And as rarely as possible.
The mission is important. There is no denying that. But our people are more important. And if we treat them properly, the likelihood is the mission gets accomplished through them – not at the expense of them.