The Worst Leaders All Have This One Trait In Common

Street Cop


I have worked in a supervisory capacity as a cop for the better part of 17 years. I have supervised uniform cops, detectives, and even a few civilians.

For the most part, cops are type A personalities who are go getters that require little external motivation.

Oh, how the times have changed.

The new breed and the old breed are in a constant state of flux with each side having little or no empathy for the other.

The side with the most power however are the old breed salts who have little patience for the “new” generation.

They collectively label them as lazy, paranoid, un-motivated and un-inspired.

And it’s not altogether their fault.

When us “old salts” were coming up, we had very little worries about being video taped. Same went for the bad guys.

All new cops, especially those labeled with the dreaded moniker of “millennial cop”, know they are always being watched.

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Either from their body worn camera or from a citizens cell phone.

And by their supervision.


Note: Within 5-7 years, 90% of all police and sheriff’s agencies will be comprised entirely of millennials.

The one thing universally that both young and older cops can agree on is this.

They both hate being micro-managed.

Supervisors, bosses and managers

I have a millennial son in his 20’s. He is not a cop.

Thank god.

We are very close but sometimes our views may as well be from different parts of the galaxy. Actually, it was my son and his roommate who talked me into starting this blog (and yes, that’s them in the photo below).

At the time I thought they were stupid.

Just dumb.

I mean, an old (but ruggedly handsome) police sergeant starting a blog?

2 millennials

Blogs were for stay at home moms and losers.

After about ten minutes of discussing the idea I was confronted with something I didn’t want to admit.

It was me that was the idiot.

My small thinking, which included shutting down any new idea that didn’t conform with my “old school” ideology, had me locked in a cage of my own making.

What I have learned about leading millennial’s and having one as a son are this.

They are outside the box thinkers who abhor being told their ideas are stupid.

Also, many have endured “helicopter” parents who chart their every move. Every decision, down to the smallest detail, is made for them.

This does not bode well for those millennial’s who become cops.

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Being a police officer requires a person to make very quick, accurate and effective decisions. Some of these decisions are a matter of life and death.

Not only is being a “micro-manager” a terrible leadership practice, it is exponentially worse when applied to millennial’s.

The rant

Some of you may think you are experiencing a glitch in the matrix. Like you have been here before.

No glitch here. This article is based, in part, on a rant I recently posted on social media. That rant seemed to resonate with a lot of my followers.

You see, even cops in positions of leadership like me can be grossly micro-managed. It’s not a pretty sight when you see it.

The equivalent would be catching your best friend tongue kissing your mom at a Dave Matthews Band concert.

Just yesterday I once again observed micro-managing on an epic scale.

I was embarrassed.

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It didn’t and shouldn’t have gone down the way it did.

It was probably uglier than the example I just provided if you can fathom anything worse.

***Begin rant (salty language ahead)***

If you are in a position of leadership and you desire the absolute best product from those under your charge, here are a few hints on how to NOT sabotage your end game.

Number one,

Do not micromanage. Just stop!

Meaning, have some faith in your people. If you think that riding their backside like some talon, digging your claws into their back will have better results, YOU are a FOOL.

And for the love of god, do not disguise your micromanaging leadership style as “supervising”.

When you micromanage your subordinates, you are only reinforcing what I have preached ad nauseam in past articles.

You are a control freak who thinks that your way is the only way when in reality it makes you look like a condescending prick (female bosses too) who leads from a place of fear instead of confidence.

Just stop.

***End rant***


Not long ago I supervised a homicide investigation in the city where I work.

The two detectives assigned the investigation did an excellent job. Like most cases, the information initially received was rife with bullshit and complete lies about what went down.

With a little bit of luck and great interviewing skills, the two detectives were able to filter through the lies and identify the bad guy which led to an arrest.

The following day, both of these detectives thanked me for remaining calm during the initial stages of the case.

Most importantly, according to them, they thanked me for letting them do their job and not micro-managing them during the investigation.

They said it was something they were not accustomed to.

I didn’t let it show but it was one of the best compliments I have received in my 24 years on the job.

You can find other ORIGINAL articles like this one and more at The Salty Sarge Facebook Page.


  1. As a patrol sergeant I always gave the detectives a lot of leeway. The only times I involved myself in what they did is when I thought they were taking the easy way out. That happened a lot during my last few

  2. As a Detective, I always hate when my case is being micromanaged by a supervisor who was never a Detective. they have lots of great ideas about how to proceed, with most being totally wrong. As they have never put a case together, let alone been on the stand testifying they just have no clue. Some of their ideas are just cray cray as they would not only blow a case but get the guy that listened indicted. But then my department had “merit” promotions, where only the best and brightest get promoted. (sarcasm off)

  3. I like to pose the question ‘what is the difference between leadership and management’ to those who should know… and then listen to the answers, provided of course that those who should know do actually understand the question.

  4. I have been in law-enforcement for 18 years of which the last eight I have spent in supervision. Prior to that I was an NCO in the Marine Corps so I have a little bit of experience in leadership. I despise micro managers and I detest doing it myself because it takes away from me doing my duties. However, the new generation of cops lack drive, passion, and the ability to follow through with an investigation and put people in jail which frequently requires my boot in there rear end. They don’t want to come in early. They don’t want to stay late. They don’t want to go to court on their day off. They don’t want to be proactive. They want to take the report and submit and let someone else figure out who did it. They lack passion and drive to solve crimes and chase bad guys. Which to me equals laziness and requires a certain amount of staying on top of them and making sure they do their job. I frequently tell my people about writing tickets, I don’t know what the number is, but it’s not zero. Do your job!

  5. I worked next to a Sgt. in patrol who was that way, we basically had a running odds board on when his shift would Frag him. They never did ,but have you ever heard of an entire shift asking for transfers at the same time ? The higher ups thought he was wonderful and so, they promoted him. He’s still there still being a pain but he is loved by the administration. Me, I let my guys do there job and they liked it. Drove the bosses nuts and I liked that…….

  6. I was on the job for 30 years, last 20 as a supervisor and commander. The trick is to know when to get involved in a case, and how much. The most difficult scenes were officer-involved shootings, but having been there a few times myself, I was able to provide support for the cop while allowing detectives to gather the facts and ID witnesses.

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