It’s Lonely at the Top

Why Self-Reflection is a leader’s self-preservation

I’ve spoken in the past about self-reflection and the critical role it plays in a leader’s success as the rise through the ranks of an organization. Too often, we are to reliant on others to help fill the need to converse about a problem or a topic of concern. Engaging others not at your level in the organization becomes riskier the more powerful your role is.

As an example, a recently appointed police chief or elected sheriff will find the job particularly lonely at first. Friends from lower ranks within the organization will assume nothing has changed in their relationship with the new chief executive, and yet, everything has changed. Nearly every conversation you’ve had to that point and every conversation you have from that point on could cause tremendous internal conflict within the organization. A simple conversation you had with that sergeant three weeks ago about a policy recommendation now becomes a potential expectation for implementation of that policy whether you are ready as the chief executive to do it or not.

When I talk about self-reflection as a leader, it is to truly take the time on a regular basis to assess the conversations you’ve had with people. What went well or not in those conversations and to take time to think through how to improve for next time. Self-reflection is NOT a touchy-feely-middle-school-girl-diary exercise, it is a true, honest reflection of how you are doing. Remember, the higher in the organization you go, the fewer the people with whom you can commiserate about things. I dare say by the time most are at the command staff level, you better have a successful process in place to self-reflect and self-heal.

Many times, we want to vent at a co-worker about what so and so did today, but many times that is the absolute worst thing you can do to help yourself professionally and personally to grow. Find what works for you. What has worked for me is journaling. Actually, taking the time to write down the events of the day that impacted my leadership – both good and bad has helped me to process what transpired and to see the significance or insignificance of it without involving other people in the organization. Some go for a vigorous workout and think through the day’s problems, and I’ve done that too. Getting the adrenaline flowing can help process negative events of the day. Others, prefer to have time for quiet reflection whether it be in meditation or prayer. Whatever works for you as a leader is what you need to do. Learn to cope on your own. Understand that there is a reason for the saying “It’s lonely at the top.”

The point is do something. Learning early in your career that a process to self-reflect and self-heal is more important to your personal and professional growth as a leader than joining the gripe session at the office water cooler. Remember, the coworkers you confide in today, may be your supervisor or your subordinate tomorrow. Act like a leader today.


You can gain a more in depth understanding of self-reflection by taking my Intentional Leadership: Leading with a Purpose class. Check our website for upcoming class locations. Email Dean at  about the blog. Questions about the class email Kelle Corvin at

“Learning early in your career that a process to self-reflect and self-heal is more important to your personal and professional growth as a leader than joining the gripe session at the office water cooler.”


Creating an Inspired Workplace

The keys to creating one

Do you have an inspired workplace?

One of the questions I’m often asked when on the road teaching, is how to make your employees feel inspired to do their job? It’s a difficult one for many leaders, however, there are some simple tips you can embrace that will begin to create a culture of inspiration.

Most workplace environments are characterized by inspiration or manipulation. Let’s examine each. I’ll start with manipulation, which is far more common in this day and age than one would think. A manipulated workforce is one that has the 3 F’s as I call them:

  • Fear – leaders intimidate, threaten and bully employees into doing their bidding. This has the typical outcome for leaders that embrace this: employees do exactly what is expected so as to avoid retribution and then don’t care about the outcome of their actions. They often hate their job and hate their boss – and for good reason! If you’ve ever worked for someone that manages this way, it isn’t fun. You feel belittled, trapped and by NO means do you feel inspired to do your work.
  • Force – similar to fear, managers (notice I will not call them leaders) rule by force. In their world, there is no discussion, no explanation, just a do as I say or else. Employees are quite frankly treated like children. Their ability to make an independent decision or to even care about the outcome is overpowered by the force their manager has placed on them. Even if the employee had a good idea that would achieve an even better outcome, the “Fear” manager refuses to listen or even solicit input from staff.
  • Facts – the slightly more sophisticated manipulative manager rules by facts. He or she is obsessed with information but it’s only the information that backs up their position – a sort of confirmation bias if you will. The result is a workforce that simply throws up their hands. They view their manager or boss as someone who is a know-it-all always spouting facts but never listening to any counter facts.

In each of these manipulative work environments, managers create stagnant barely functional organizations. Turnover is often very high especially among the Millennial and iGen generations who’s holistic approach to problem solving simply doesn’t mesh with this style. Those employees that do stay, often develop health issues related to the stress this type of environment creates. It’s truly toxic.

A better, modern and more effective approach that true leaders understand is to lead through inspiration. Creating an inspired workplace doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be fun! With a little self-reflection and determination as to where you and your people are as leaders, you can develop a strategy that will lead to an inspired workplace. Here are 7 tips I offer to leaders hoping to do just that:

  • Develop your “why” statement of leadership. This is a simple process that I teach in my Intentional Leadership Class. It’s looking at your personal values and that of your organization and determining what you want your department, division, task force, etc. to be about. It looks something like this “To (do something so as (to create a result)” An example is my Operations Manager’s why statement for her role in our company “To provide the information, infrastructure and support SO that our instructors and employees can positively change the lives of all we touch”
  • Explain your “why” statement of leadership to your people. It’s great if you develop your why of leadership, but if no one knows what it is, how in the world can you expect them to change their view of what they do if they don’t understand what your vision is?
  • Create a partnership with your people. I talk about this at length in my book, Leadership Lessons from the Thin Blue Line. Simply put, if you explain your ‘why’ to where your people understand, you are asking them to join with you or “partner” with you to create the future. Your asking for their input on what can be done to make that vision a reality and to make that why statement truly mean something not only to you but to them.
  • Partnership is created through relationship. Again, in my book, I outline that creating a partnership doesn’t just “happen” but requires effort on your part to show your people that you truly want to know who they are.
  • Spending time with them creates a relationship. Making a point to be available to your people (the so-called open door policy) is well and good for leaders to practice, but do your best to meet your people at their level. Get out in the field. Spend some off-duty time with them in a non-work setting like bowling, softball game, etc. You will be surprised what you learn about them and it will show them that you truly care.
  • People need to know you care. If you have successfully built a partnership through relationship, then your people will know you care. It creates a synergy that makes them feel empowered to execute the why of the organization, department, etc. They are aware of what the ultimate outcome is and know that you will work with them to create positive outcomes for all. It means letting them fail sometimes so that they learn and it means letting them figure out how to solve the problem on their own without your direction. This grows future leaders and empowers them to be better.
  • Create Buy-In. Ultimately, this is what all bosses, managers and leaders really want but it’s the “how” that separates the inspirational leader from the manipulative leader. If you execute the first six tips, you will create a buy-in that is far superior and far less toxic than the manipulated workplace.

If you’d like to learn more about this topic. Please check out my podcast Straight Talk on Leadership with Dean Crisp, Episode 11: Creating and Cultivating an Inspired Workplace where I go in depth into this topic. The podcast is available on most listening platforms like iTunes and Spotify. Be sure to subscribe, like and rate our podcast. Subscribing means you won’t miss an episode and liking and rating helps us!

I welcome your stories on your leadership experiences on this topic and others. Be sure to sign up on our website for free and join the conversation!






“Ultimately, buy-in is what all managers, bosses and leaders want from their people. It’s the process of getting their that differs drastically between a “manager” or a “boss” and a true Leader.”

Setting Achievable Goals

Goal Setting for a New Year

Posted January 8, 2020

So, a new year, 2020 is upon us and I’m often asked by leaders how to set effective goals for a new year. First, this is where self-reflection really makes this process much more effective and realistic to achieve. As many of you know I’m a huge proponent of journaling (and no it isn’t the “dear diary” stuff of teenage girls), I’m talking mature, self-reflection of how you handled professional and personal situations of import in your life so that you can review and learn from them. It’s why every attendee of an Intentional Leadership class receives a “starter” journal to get them in the habit of doing just that – writing about their experiences as a leader.  So, if you have been writing in your journals on a regular basis, you have a record of what you have seen as areas needing improvement for you to advance as a leader and, hopefully a list of possible focus areas for new year goals.

In this post, I will share with you some thoughts on how I have done this in my leadership journey and what I’ve found works effectively. First, I’m sure that many of you are familiar with the concept of S.M.A.R.T. when setting goals: make them Specific; make them Measurable; make them Achievable; make them Relevant to your leadership; and finally, are they Timebound. If any of these aspects of SMART are not clearly defined, the goal is likely going to fail. It’s why most new year’s resolutions fail.

Goal setting only works if you are “all-in” in your leadership. The goals you set must stretch you and must be specific to each area of your life you wish to focus on. When you are new to the process, I recommend picking one personal goal and one professional goal to work on for a short period of time. It might look something like this:

Personal – to make sure I eat dinner with my family at least 3 times each week.

Professional – to read one book that grows me a leader each month (if you are not a reader) and maybe one book per week if you are a reader.

So what to do if you are more advanced and want to really work on multiple areas at one time? Recently, I read an article by Dr. Kenneth Acha, who wrote about the three types of goals: outcome, process and performance goals. Each goal varies from the other based on the amount of control you wish to have. For example, we typically have the most control over process goals, while outcome goals give us the least control. An example of this would be NCAA sports. A coach can set a goal for the team of winning their division and conference championship knowing they have the most control over these based on talent and player health, but stop short of setting a goal of winning a national championship because the coach has little control over whether they will even be in a position to compete. What the coach knows, is by setting the division and conference goals, they are giving their team achievable and specific targets to hit that put them in the best position to compete for a national championship.

The second set of goals are process goals, Acha explains that process goals allow you to set the “procedures” that will put you in a position to achieve the desired success or outcome. Continuing with the NCAA analogy, this would mean how much practice the team will do, how they will do it? What drills they will run? What scrimmages will they do to challenge the team to be it’s best? What nutritional program and study assistance with the student athletes require to help them stay on target physically, mentally and emotionally? What will coaches do to impact player mindset? All of these do not predict the outcome, but the develop a specific strategy and process for how the players will condition themselves to be in position to achieve those outcome goals. Finally, Acha talks about Performance goals or the standards you will use to achieve your goals. So, the NCAA team might say we will win our division and conference titles by training ourselves mentally and physically daily so that we are in peak condition to compete and win our division and conference championship.

Visually it might look something like this:

Goal setting involves setting a series of short-term goals that are achievable. For example, if your goal is to lose weight this year, then start by setting a short-term goal that levels up from where you are. If you haven’t been exercising, then start by committing to working out a set number of days each week for 30 minutes each. Try to stick with it first for 3 weeks. Studies have shown that it takes about 21 days to change any habit. Then level up again. For the next 3 weeks try eliminating sugar on all days but Saturday and continuing your exercise. Then add another and another for each successive 3 weeks. The same can hold true for any area of your life be it your relationship with your spouse, your kids or your co-workers. Pick one thing you feel is important and focus on executing consistently for at least 3 weeks. Soon it will become part of your daily routine.

Goal setting can be fun when it’s done right. Don’t sit down this week and write a list of resolutions that sound great but won’t go anywhere! Instead, really reflect on what you want to improve this year as a leader at work and in life. Pick one behavior related to that, that you can change and do it for 3 weeks and then add another behavior to it. After a few months, you’ll be surprised how much your mindset has changed and how much you’ve accomplished.

I want to hear what some of your goals are for 2020 as leaders. Please share in the comments or on Twitter at @LHLN by Dean Crisp.

I look forward to seeing each of you gain clarity in 2020 as to the type of leader you wish to be.



Article by Dr. Kenneth Acha


Image result for goal setting

“Goal setting can be fun when it’s done right.”








Tips on Effective


  • Know your mindset
  • See the bigger picture
  • Accept that failure is a natural part of anyone’s leadership journey and learn from them
  • Watch your self-talk and limit negative thoughts 
  • Focus on the future and don’t get caught up in the past



“Self-healing is actually learning to heal yourself as a leader and to prevent all of those cuts from doing you harm”



Dean Crisp is the author of Leadership Lessons from the Thin Blue Line. He is the president of the Crisp Consulting Group and founder of Leaders Helping Leaders Network, a network of professionals dedicated to growing future leaders. He’s served as the National Training Director for FBI-LEEDA and continues as an instructor for them when he is not teaching his signature course, Intentional Leadership: Leading with a Purpose. You may reach Dean by emailing him at 



Four Pillars of Leadership

Pillar 4: Self-Healing

By Dean Crisp

This week we wrap up the series on the Four Pillars of Leadership with Self-healing.  First, let’s recap the other three:

  • Mindset – your actions as a leader are often where your mindset lies. Do you know your mindset? Is your growth or fixed? Most of us tend toward one or the other, but regardless, we can all learn and practice having a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset tend to withstand failure and setbacks more than those with a fixed mindset.
  • Emotional Intelligence is the second pillar of leadership and the most complex. Developed by Daniel Goleman, it is the ability to be self-aware, self-managing, organizationally aware and the ability to manage relationships.
  • Self-Reflection, which is the third pillar, is that leadership ability to reflect on the day’s conversations, events and to think about how you as a leader can do things differently next time.

The fourth pillar, Self-Healing, is truly the key to every leaders survival.  

When I think about Leadership I also think about sacrifice.  Working in leadership positions for over twenty-one years, I learned very quickly that sacrifice is a integral part of every day life as a leader. As a leader you will sacrifice many of your personal wants and desires in the service of others.  When you become a leader it suddenly is not about you anymore, but the service to others and the organization. 

This can cause a good deal of stress and consternation.  The Chinese parable of a death by a thousand tiny cuts, applies very aptly to anyone in leadership.  In this story the person found guilty was punished and tortured by a thousand tiny cuts which would slowly lead to them bleeding out a long and torturous death.  Although not in the literal since of actually being cut, leadership can sometimes have similar results.  The torture of daily problems, both internally and externally, along with the sacrifice that comes along with leading creates this constant bleeding from the cuts.  As a leader I can relate to this parable. 

Now certainly, not every day was torture as a leader, but I certainly had many tough days. Whether it was dealing with difficult employees, or other political issues within and outside of the department, the saying that leadership is lonely at the top is certainly one I related to many times.  You often don’t or simply can’t discuss the biggest issues you have as a leader with anyone in your department – it’s on you and only you.

This is why I developed the fourth pillar of self-healing to show other leaders how to do just this.  Self-healing is the ability to actually heal yourself as a leader and prevent all of those cuts from doing harm to you.

So, how do we begin the self-healing process? I will give you five tips that have helped me:

  1. The first step actually begins by adjusting our Mindset and stop expecting that everything is going to be great or easy as a leader. This doesn’t mean you have to walk around paranoid that everything is going to bad. But it does mean, that you recognize that Leaders deal with problems daily and, as such, the problems they bring. This may sound a bit strange, but if you are leading people you know exactly what I am saying.
  2. See the Bigger Picture. The more you focus on the bigger picture the more the cuts are put into perspective.
  3. Accept that failure and problems are natural part of leadership and have a way of learning from those failures.
  4. Limit your negative thoughts and your self-talk. We listen to ourselves more than any other person. If those thoughts are primarily negative about you, your ability, your skills, etc., chances are they will become actions. What we say to ourselves matters.
  5. Focus on the future and don’t get caught up in the past. If you spend too much time thinking about the past, you’ll never have time to plan for the future or live in the moment.

These tips have really helped me self-heal many times. They have helped me  limit the damage that dealing with constant problems as a leader can bring such as cynicism, negative attitude toward yourself and others, and so much more. Remember, the rent you pay as a leader are the future leaders you leave behind. Will your leaders by positive or negative? Will they have growth or fixed mindsets? Do they know how to apply the four pillars of leadership I’ve discussed over the last few weeks?

In closing, the four pillars can help anyone who is a leader. Whether you are a parent, a coach, a supervisor, or a chief, you are already a leader. Using these pillars consistently and effectively will bring you amazing results.

Please let me know what you have thought about this series. Write to me, share your comments in the forum. Also, let me know what topics you would like to hear about in the future. We are currently building our 2020 blog schedule and invite guest blog posts as well as topic suggestions.


Thank you,












Tips on Effective


  • Do it daily 
  • Be honest with yourself
  • Journal what went right and what went wrong
  • Decide and act on how to improve 




“We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience”



Dean Crisp is the author of Leadership Lessons from the Thin Blue Line. He is the president of the Crisp Consulting Group and founder of Leaders Helping Leaders Network, a network of professionals dedicated to growing future leaders. He’s served as the National Training Director for FBI-LEEDA and continues as an instructor for them when he is not teaching his signature course, Intentional Leadership: Leading with a Purpose. You may reach Dean by emailing him at 


Four Pillars of Leadership

Pillar 3: Self-Reflection

By Dean Crisp

Thank you for joining my blog and taking the time out of your busy schedule to read it. It would mean so much to hear your thoughts on the blog posts and suggested topics or your own posts. Please sign up for free, log in and comment on these posts.  And now, let’s continue our discussion of the four pillars of leadership.

Over the last few weeks, I have been writing about what I believe to be the four pillars of leadership. As a recap, Pillar 1 is Mindset and is truly at the foundation of quality leadership. Pillar 2 is Emotional Intelligence and each of its components begin to separate effective leaders from ineffective ones.

This week, I want to address my third pillar is Self Reflection. This pillar, like the others, is vital to every leader, but it is the one pillar that is the most difficult to execute. Self reflection simply means taking a self reflective look at your self as a leader and asking your self one simple question: How am I doing as a leader?

Now as simple as this may seem it is difficult. Their are many reasons it is difficult that include:

  • time
  • work distractions
  • a false sense that everything is ok
  • apathy, or simply not caring
  • work overload (too much to do)
  • and other factors unique to your situation.

Now, while I know personally that this can be the most difficult pillar to execute on a regular basis, I also know from my own experience that it creates the greatest transformation in your leadership when implemented regularly.

Why is it so difficult? Well, one major reason is that Self-reflection asks you to honestly keep score of your leadership. Now most of us as leaders find that keeping score on a daily basis would not benefit us nor those we lead. But think about it, If you really took a self reflective look everyday and asked yourself:

  • How can I improve?
  • How did the meetings today that I conducted really go?
  • Who did I have a problem with today
  • or who did I miss today as a leader that needed my attention?

These are just some of the questions a self reflective leader ask themselves.

I can remember as a Police Chief asking myself those questions on my drive home after work. It helped me tremendously to right several wrongs I had made during the day and to make better decisions the next day.

We can’t wait until the end of the week to be self-reflective. IF we do, we as leaders will be too far behind. As we enter the holiday season and come to the end of another calendar year, it’s a great time to ask yourself as a leader some of these questions.

Are YOU a self reflective leader? If not start today by asking yourself: How am I doing? Give your self honest feedback and make the necessary changes to be a self reflective leader.

Trust me, the results will be amazing.





Pillar 2:

Emotional Intelligence

  • Self-awareness
  • Self-management
  • Organizational Awareness
  • Relationship Management


Relationship Management

the importance of empathy

By Dean Crisp

Greetings to all,

In finishing up Pillar 2: Emotional Intelligence as one of the four pillars of leadership, this week we will discuss the fourth component of Emotional Intelligence, Empathy or Relationship Management. To recap, emotional intelligence is the 2nd main pillar of my four pillars of leadership. Originally created by the work of Daniel Goleman in the 1990s, Goleman found that the leaders who effectively possessed and used the four components of emotional intelligence actually succeed far beyond those with higher intellectual intelligence or IQ. So as a reminder, the four components of EQ, emotional intelligence, include self-awareness, self-regulation, social awareness, and this week’s component, empathy or relationship management.

So what is relationship management or empathy? In short, it is the ability to successfully manage social interactions with others. In reality, it is the ability to behave in ways that foster good relationships and outcomes with others. This is a tough one and often the most difficult for leaders to master. Just as self-awareness is easier to accomplish than self-management, one can be socially aware, but not possess the self-control to management their interpersonal relationships effectively. This was one of the most difficult for me as a leader. Becoming a leader at a young age meant that I viewed my relationship with others I led as that of a linear operation. I spoke, they did. It wasn’t until I realized that truly effective leadership meant developing a relationship with those I led created a partnership with them that led to greater synergy – I speak out this more in my LRPS model in my book, Leadership Lessons from the Thin Blue Line. By truly working on developing empathy for others (and many of us struggle with this), I found that I began to develop more meaningful relationships both at work and in my personal life. To empathize is to take the time to listen to another and to put yourself in their shoes and try to see things from their point of view. While this is not an easy feat, it is vital to developing and growing your EQ as a leader.  Working on this will truly grow you as a leader. It’s taking into account that you are not the center of all activity and feelings and that you as a leader have an obligation to see things from another’s perspective. In doing so, you will truly mature as a person and a leader.

In summation of this Pillar 2, Emotional Intelligence is comprised of four components – two focused on self; two focused on others. First, there is awareness, self- awareness and social awareness and then there is management of one’s self and one’s relationships with others. I firmly believe this Pillar is what separates the truly mature, effective, intentional leader, from the rest. Knowing and understanding where you are in each of these components and taking measures to effectively advance your EQ in each area, will grow you as a leader, but more importantly as a person.



Leading Generations in the 21st Century Workplace

By Kelle Corvin, guest blogger

Managing the generational shifts in the workplace is a perennial issue that ebbs and flows as each new generation enters the workforce. Since the early-mid 2000s, Boomers and Xers have lamented about the Millennials. How to recruit them, how to motivate them, how to keep them.

Since 2016, a new generation called GenZ or iGen has begun entering the workforce and, while we do not know a great deal about how their generational characteristics will impact the workplace, we can look at the defining moments of their formative years and likely predict what values, motivators and reactions they will likely have within the workplace.

Generational theory was kicked off back in the 1990s when Strauss and Howe released their landmark book on Generations suggesting that there have been and will continue to be a rotation in the archetypes of four generations that has been evident in American history as well as other western nations. Throughout their book, they identify the four generations and how they were affected by as well as how they impacted the events of their lifetime.

Throughout the 20th Century, sociologists and psychologists have looked at what creates a generational personality if you will. Most researchers find recurring patterns or significant emotional events that impact that generation usually in the decade in which the generation turns 10. The societal, familial, cultural, and geographical experiences all serve to create a “values” imprint for that generation.

 In the modern world, we have had as many as five generations in the workplace at one time. Using the names from Strauss and Howe, in the early 2000s, we had some G.I. or Greatest Generation, The Silent generation, The Boomers, The Xers, and the Millennials all working together. Since 2016, you can add the sixth generation, the Gen Z or iGens.

 What makes generational theory truly fascinating is that when you drill down into the general characteristics of each, you start to see similarities among adjacent generations that will impact the future of work and the environment of the workplace. For example, many who study generations for a living actually started compressing the Silent and G.I. generations into “Traditionalists” defining the similarities these two generations shared and that most were born before 1945 and the end of World War II. The values and personal motivators they shared in common created a harmonious work environment that tended toward a hierarchical, traditional and some would say, male-dominated workplace.

During my lifetime as an Xer, the generation that has dominated the workforce throughout most of the 20th century and into the early 21st is, and remains, the Baby Boomers who were born between 1946 and (depending on whom you talk to) 1963. When looking at events that made a significant imprint on these 20th century generations, 1963 stands out as whether you remember the Kennedy assassination or not.

An example of this is my own, Generation X, or Xers. Born from about 1960 to 1976, most of this generation was impacted by several significant events during their formative years.  On the positive was the Space Race;  the Bicentennial; the Reagan Revolution; and, due to the high divorce rate of their parents, significant early autonomy and independent decision-making. The negatives were the withdrawal from Vietnam; Watergate and lack of faith in government leaders; and the high divorce rates resulting in significantly higher teen pregnancy rates and drug use due to less adult supervision. All of these events, combined with the fact that the Xer generation was much smaller than the Boomer generation, led it to be labeled “slackers.” The events they experienced as young people shaped their values about family, work, and life. Just as those events shape each generation.

When you look at the current composition of the workforce, Boomers have stayed in the workforce far longer than their parents did. Many Boomers are still the leaders of their organizations and impact the overall culture of the organization. Although described as a rebellious generation, many who entered and climbed the corporate ladder actually followed more of their parent’s tendency toward linear thinking and hierarchical structures.

Their younger managers and second-in-commands are usually Xers who were viewed by Boomers as not as ambitious because of the importance Xers placed on work-life balance. Xers currently are in leadership roles and many are in key command positions within their respective organizations possessing a great deal of organizational and tactical knowledge.

The two newest generations in the workforce that view the world and work from very different perspectives are the Millennials (born 1977 to 1994) and the iGens (born 1995 to 2010). Each of these two generations bring similar skills to the workplace through their comfort and love of technology, social media use and engagement, and ability to multi-task on a grand scale. They also both bring a very holistic approach to thinking about and resolving interpersonal and workplace problems. The similarities these two generations have are the harbingers of what work will look like going forward.

Despite their similarities, however, these two rising generations are at odds in terms of what they want out of work. Millennials came of age during the booming 1990s where optimism reigned supreme. The high-tech boom created an atmosphere that there were no limits to what we could achieve as humans and Americans.

While older Millennials can remember the traditional landline phone, most iGens have never known a world without a cell phone. Think about that for a second. That’s like being born in 1906 when the first Model T came out and not remembering a world without automobiles. Both iGens and Millennials embrace technology and view cellular phones as more important that running water!

Millennials possess great optimism, but their Boomer and Xer superiors often view them as “entitled” to success and that they are prone to “job hopping” to find purpose in their life.

iGens are separated from Millennials as the generation in that their formative turning-10-years-old decade of the 00s was defined by the introduction of the first iPhone in 2008; with America electing the first African-American president; and when the U.S. Economy suffered one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. In fact, it’s been called the Great Recession. This Great Recession made a dramatic impact on iGens view of work and many come to the workforce wanting job security. Researchers are even referring to iGen as a “throwback” generation with similarities to the Silent Generation of their grandparents. They are hardworkers; want autonomy in the workplace; and responsibility equal to their skills. The one drawback they have is they were so “helicoptered” by their parents that many come to the workplace without a lot of independent decision-making capabilities.

The employer that effectively mentors iGens through this developmental milestone will likely find they have loyal employees who are quick studies and possess the same technological skills as the Millennials. In fact, many researchers are predicting that iGens may actually eclipse Millennials in management positions over the next 20 years.

The biggest key in managing the existing generations (and really any group of generations in the workplace) is to understand what each brings to the workforce and find the way to leverage their skill sets to the advantage of the organization.

 Above all, current leaders must be clearly thinking about how they manage the knowledge transfer from Boomers and Xers to Millennials and iGens so as to maintain the effectiveness of their organizations going forward. Those leaders who provide the infrastructure to grow these future leaders and to effectively transfer the organizational knowledge to these new leaders, will leave strong organizations capable of managing the future with skill and aptitude.

Let us know your thoughts on how generational differences are impacting your workplace. In coming posts, we will explore some of the specific ways in which you can engage Millennials and iGens to make them engaged and inspired leaders. In future posts, I will discuss each generation in detail as well as the concept of micro-generations.


Kelle Corvin






“Current leaders must be clearly thinking about how they manage the knowledge transfer from Boomers and Xers to Millennials and iGens so as to maintain the effectiveness of their organizations going forward.”







“There is no doubt that the workforce is changing and will continue to do so dramatically. In 1995, Boomers accounted for 50% of the workforce, by 2025 they will be less than 10%. Is your organization prepared for this knowledge drain?”

Kelle Corvin is the Operations Manager for Crisp Consulting Group. She is certified in DISC and PIAV employee assessments and has researched the issue of generations in the workplace for Crisp Consulting Group. You may reach Kelle at  or by callling 864-275-4800 if you have questions about the classes offered by Crisp Consulting Group, the Leaders Helping Leaders Network, or having Dean Crisp speak for your organization. She welcomes your feedback on this blog post.


Four Pillars of Leadership,

Pillar 2: Emotional Intelligence,

Organizational Awareness

In this week’s blog post, I continue the series on Pillar 2 of the 4 critical components of a leader, Emotional Intelligence, by looking at the 3rd component of Emotional Intelligence, Organizational Awareness.

Emotional Intelligence remains a key ingredient in the development of corporate leaders. More and more it’s becoming THE key component of what organizations demand in quality leadership. This week, we will look at the 3rd component of Emotional Intelligence as defined by Daniel Goleman, Organizational Awareness.

Organizational Awareness is defined by the author of the original book on emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman, as having the ability to read a group’s emotional currents and power relationships, as well as the ability to identify influences, networks, and overall dynamics within an organization.

While I will always argue that all aspects of emotional intelligence are critical to leadership success, I will state that, especially in law enforcement leadership, a leader’s ability to practice organizational awareness is perhaps THE one aspect that will determine long-term success as a law enforcement leader.

An emotionally intelligent leader who practices organizational awareness can do the following:

  • Make more informed decisions based on the tangible and intangible data. They know what the appetite for a decision is, who needs to be influenced, and why and how to influence them.
  • Develop a clear strategy to getting things done because they know the internal (and external) landscapes.  The emotionally intelligent leader can identify the right person or team for the right job at the right time.
  • Communicate in a way that resonates (and in a way that supercedes the “negative” influencers within the organization) by understanding the unwritten language and tone of their organization.
  • Build a coalition that gets things done. They have the ability to motivate others to work towards a shared goal.

Perhaps the best example of Organizational Awareness is the character “Radar” in the Emmy-Award-Winning-TV Series, M*A*S*H.  For those Millennials and iGens not familiar with the show, it is about a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital during the Korean War.  While much of the show centers on the real work and off-duty antics of the surgical staff, it is Radar that time and again proves to be the true “hub” of the wheel.

Radar was the company clerk and, by many standards, quite naive in the ways of the world, but he was the one character in the show that could make things happen. No matter what the need was (blood, medical supplies, jeeps, tents, etc.) it was Radar that possessed the organizational awareness and knowledge of how the Army supply chain worked to get what his unit needed.

We’ve all known a “Radar” who just gets things done.  While all components of Emotional Intelligence are critical to the long-term success of a leader, many who rise to the top possess Organizational Awareness. They see the players (positive and negative) and understand how to work them and the system more maximum impact. This doesn’t make them manipulative, but rather aware of the specific needs and wants of each group operating within the system.

Leaders who understand and master Organizational Awareness will find it most useful in navigating change within the organization, improving communication within and among their peers, superiors and colleagues and in making the right decisions regarding personnell placement. Using your understanding of how each piece works with the other in support of the organizational mission is key to making informed decisions.

When one considers Organizational Awareness as a law enforcement leader or the leader of any other organization, you must look outside the organization as well. What are the external as well as the internal pressures that impact your organization. As a Chief of Police for more than 17 years in two distinctly different organizations, I learned very quickly that it wasn’t just me that impacted my organization, but the local political climate, the media, and my superiors who were civilian appointed and elected officials. Understanding their impact and influence on me and my organization AND how best to navigate those was a key to my success and is the key to your success as a leader.

Next week we will finish up Pillar 2: Emotional Intelligence by discussing how Organizational Awareness becomes truly  effective by understanding how to Manage Relationships in the Organization.

Until then, keep the growth going by sharing this and our other posts on social media.  I’d also love to hear your thoughts on this post by seeing your comments on it. Please login to comment and, if you haven’t done so already, please sign up for free to comment on the blogs and podcasts. 




Social Media and Law Enforcement – Why it’s a must in your toolbox

Guest Post by Judy Pal

November 5, 2019

Social media is called ‘social’ for a reason.  The biggest mistake law enforcement makes when using this tool is employing it as a one-way bullhorn to disseminate information, rather than for what it is really intended – community-building.  While some law enforcement leaders still are not fully supportive of digital mediums, social media is legitimate and, aside from direct contact, the best way to engage with your community.

However, it’s a tool that has a number of caveats.  The first is the lack of control – something every cop loves … and thus hates about social media.  What platforms should we use? How do we monitor it and how often do we have to post?  Let’s face it, social media is labor and time intensive.  Many agencies are using “PIT Crews” – or Public Information Teams to both monitor and post to social media. The team needs to have goals and objectives that match the CEO’s overarching goals for the agency.  Don’t participate in every silly trend just ‘because’.  It has to be part of an overall strategy.

My favorite quote regarding social media comes from a former PIO in Toronto, Tim Burrows, who said, “Don’t worry about going viral, worry about being awesome.”  What goes viral is not often what your agency posts officially, but good deeds your officers take that are ‘caught’ by the public.

Social media allows us to build community awareness, engage with our communities the way they want to engage, promote the good work our employees do on a daily basis and hold traditional media accountable for what they report, in addition to being THE platform to communicate during crisis.  With all that in one tool, why wouldn’t you be participating fully in a social media program for your department?

Judy Pal

10-8 Communications



Four Pillars of Leadership 

  • Mindset
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Self-reflection
  • Self-healing

Dean Crisp is author of Leadership Lessons from the Thin Blue Line. He is the former national training coordinator for FBI-LEEDA and still teaches the trilogy classes for them. After writing his book, he decided to create his signature course, Intentional Leadership: Leading with a Purpose, that he teaches across the nation. This class covers in detail, many of the topics covered in this blog. Dean is also a national speaker and hosts the Straight Talk on Leadership Podcast weekly available on iTunes and other media players.

Please sign up for his mentoring and information-sharing network, Leaders Helping Leaders Network below. You will be able to comment on this blog post and learn how to grow yourself and others.


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Pillar 2: Emotional Intelligence


Continuing the Series on the Four Pillars of Leadership

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is component number two. 

In last week’s blog (EI) was defines as, the ability to manage one’s self and its relationship with others. 

EI has five major parts: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Organizational/Social Awareness, Relationship Management and Empathy.  In last week’s post, I wrote about Self Awareness.  In this week’s blog, I will be discussing the second part which is Self-Management. 

According to Daniel Goleman who authored the seminal book Emotional Intelligence he sites six key components of Self-Management:

  1. Emotional Self Control. This is where you as the leader must keep your emotions under control and be aware that your mood and actions have a major affect on your followers. If your angry, sad or upset they will know it and it will impact their work.  By the same token if you are happy or enthusiastic they know it.
  2. Transparency. Being honest and forthright and trustworthy is key to getting folks to follow you.
  3. Adaptability. Being able to adapt to a ever changing environment and situations.  Being able to change when needed.
  4. Achievement. The commitment to excellence and to a higher standard
  5. Readiness to act and to seize opportunities
  6. Optimism. Having positive attitude and seeing the brighter side of things

Self-Management is an area that I, personally, needed much work.   Early in my leadership journey,  I had a difficult time controlling my emotions. I did not realize the impact that even the smallest of outbursts or outward expression of emotions or behaviors had on my employees.  I can remember a staff meeting early in my career as a Chief where I was trying to solicit what I thought was honest feedback and input from the Command Staff. I wasn’t getting much of either.  I didn’t understand why no one was talking and the group seemed unusually quiet.  After several minutes of forced conversation, it was obvious something was bothering almost everyone.  So, I just stopped in mid-sentence and said, “Ok folks something is bothering you today and I need to find out what it is?”  “Will someone tell me what is going on?” 

Thank goodness one of the group spoke up and said, “Chief, prior to the meeting this morning we heard you were pretty upset last night at the budget hearing because we didn’t get approval on many of the items submitted and when you came in it appeared that you still weren’t too happy and you appeared to be in a bad mood.”    

This honest feedback really impacted me.  I was shocked that my perceived mood and state of mind had such a huge impact on them.  I learned a great lesson that day about Self-Management.  I am not saying that I ever really figured out how to manage myself, but I did understand how much of an impact it can have on your team. 

Next week we will discuss EI component number three, Organizational Awareness. 

Please give us your comments and suggestions on how we can call do a better job with Self Management. 

“Keep sharing the Growth.”

Dean Crisp