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Engagement: Your New Year’s Resolution!

By John Bernhards, Executive Director

Welcome to the year 2020! As we embark on a new decade, it is important to reflect on what is required of each of us to build upon our personal, professional, and leadership skills as public safety professionals, and as members, volunteers, and leaders within IACLEA. 

The author of the widely acclaimed book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey, identified the key traits of persons who make a difference not only in their own lives, but in the lives of others.  If you are familiar with Covey’s work, then you, too, may find that his observations on leadership offer excellent guidance on the benchmarks for which we all strive.

In his book, Covey reveals the need for everyone to develop habits that support “interdependence.”  Covey defines interdependence as our ability to work well with and in collaboration with others.  He offers three key interdependence habits found in highly effective people and leaders.

The Need to Think “Win-Win”

To be effective and successful in our personal and professional lives, we need to seek mutually beneficial agreements in all of our relationships.  This is accomplished by valuing and respecting people and by understanding that a “win” for all, rather than just one person, is ultimately a better long-term resolution.  It’s important to recognize that Win-Win isn’t simply about being pleasant or nice. Rather, “Win-Win” is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration with others.  It is a critical trait that encourages listening and understanding among persons with diverse needs and perspectives, and where consensus can produce far greater and meaningful rewards.

Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

Covey also tells us that in our professional and personal transactions we should engage in true, empathetic listening, seeking to genuinely understand the perspective of others and who they are.  In doing so, we compel others to reciprocate, listen, and be open to our own ideas, allowing each of us to positively influence outcomes.  Through understanding, we create an atmosphere of respect, caring, and positive problem-solving that, in turn, produces superior teams of people who make amazing things happen. And when we understand, and are understood, it opens the path to the third key interdependence habit, which is synergy.

Creating Synergy

Covey expresses that synergy is the highest activity in all of life.  It is the ability to accomplish objectives that no one person could meet on his or her own, and to do so through positive teamwork that combines the strengths and experiences of many.  By valuing and respecting our differences, we work as one to build our strengths and to compensate for weaknesses.  In effect, we become stronger together.

The beginning of every new year is a time for resolutions.  I invite you to make the resolution to engage in opportunities available through IACLEA to serve your profession, to share your leadership skills, and bring support to and care for others in our campus public safety community.

Take time to share your expertise and knowledge with others through IACLEA CONNECTIONS, the Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and as a participant or a presenter in IACLEA educational programs.

I also encourage you to consider opportunities to serve on IACLEA committees or to consider service on the IACLEA Board of Directors.  Our call for board nominations is now underway in January.  For full details on the board elections and eligibility requirements, click here.

There is room for every member of IACLEA to engage, elevate our profession, and lead.  Make your resolution to engage this year.  Happy New Year!



#IACLEA2020

IACLEA's Annual Conference & Exposition 2020 takes place in The Big Easy--New Orleans--June 22-25. Imagine IACLEA's outstanding educational programming presented in a city with world-class entertainment and food! Registration is OPEN!