The Women in Leadership team originated in Sept 2009 in response to a white paper, Gender Differences in Leadership Styles; Changing the Face of Leadership from Within tabled for discussion at the Public Safety Leadership Development Consortium’s (PSLDC) annual general meeting. Members of the group were invited to join a team to look into causes and develop solutions to the perplexing and persistent, underrepresentation of females at the executive level of Public Safety Leadership positions.
A large international group of women and men, academics and practitioners, have been working very hard for five years on this very complex, multi-facilitated issue from an organizational, individual and leadership perspective.
The team originally set six objectives, then worked very hard-harder than anyone could have expected of volunteers who held important positions within policing organizations and universities. Leaders, within the team of leaders, emerged to spear head individual objectives.
The first objective, spear headed by Peggy Schaefer and Anthony Aycock, was the creation of an e-library for articles and research on the topic of Leadership. The frame work for the library was created in 2010 and the e-library was expanded to include articles of interest to all study teams of PSLDC.
The second objective was the development of a survey instrument to identify hidden barriers to promotion within organizations. The goal of the instrument was to provide organizations with a diagnostic analysis of the culture of promotion in individual organizations. The assumption was this would lead to recommendations for training and policy changes, which in turn would expand the pool of leadership potential, and diversity with organizations. A formal partnership was struck with Myers Briggs. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was used to provide a profile of all ranks of the organization rather than of individuals. It was a two part survey instrument used in combination with a survey questionnaire designed to focus on promotion motivators and barriers within organizations. The instrument was designed to collect data in a way that enabled agencies to isolate groups (i.e. gender, rank, generation, years of service, etc.) and to spot trends and common issues. The purpose of the instrument was to identify policy and training deficiencies based on defendable data. Four agencies, two American and two Canadian, two large and two mid-sized participated in the study. All the data had been collected as of January 2013. The analysis is ongoing. This is by far the most ambitious project for this group to date. The members of the research project are Stephen Hennessy, Julie Grimaldi, Ruth Roy, Mario Hesse and Jane Hall. An early summary of the research project is available on the front page of www.policefuturists.org
The third objective was to write a book on Women in Public Safety from an international perspective. The draft is now complete and the group is currently seeking a publisher.
The fourth objective, headed by Peg Gant, focused on developing a functioning mentoring model. Surprisingly, while almost all organizations recognize the importance of mentoring, our group was unable to find a truly functioning, transferable model. This objective remains a work in progress.
Peggy Schaefer and Anthony Aycock are the leads on the fifth objective which is developing a working model for 24/7 daycare for public safety and emergency workers. It also remains a work in progress.
A sixth objective, currently being developed is an exit Interview model.
Anyone interested in joining any of the study teams of PSLDC can apply at www.psldc.com