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Three Teams, Three Leaders, and Three Ways They Killed Morale

Who buys into a hypocrite?

They were all picking up the pieces after the last chief left. While working with a police department one day and two fire departments later in the week, I kept having the same conversations about similar issues. The new chiefs were trying to rebuild morale the old chiefs had killed.

Three different departments in two different large metropolitan areas all had similar stories. In each case, the department had a new chief. The feedback from leaders across each of these departments were similar. “This new chief has a hard road in front of him after the last chief.”

Those teams were dealing with scar tissue from the past. The actions of the previous leader had nothing to do with the new leader - except now the new leader had to deal with the morale issues and figure out a way to move forward, despite the scar tissue.

Three Ways The Old Leaders Killed Morale

As I listened to the stories from these police and fire service leaders, I started to see some trends that had damaged morale. These are not just lessons in public service organizations. They are lessons all leaders should learn.