After the Webinar: Like Being the Boss? Q&A with Michael Goold

Webinar presenter Michel Goold answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Like Being the Boss? You’ll Need Your Team to Stay That Way. Here are just a few of his responses.


Audience Question: Talk a little bit more about ego and why it doesn’t work on our teams? How can we overcome this? 

Michael Goold: I know we have so many different varied aspects of criminal justice. But, so, this is from like a policing perspective is one, and this is my humble opinion, is we’re really good at individuals. You know, we push, depending on where you work, you work by yourself unless you go to a call that requires two officers. So, we’re very independent people, and then we rise through the ranks, and we carry that independence with us, an act and that’s clear up to the chief or commissioner or sheriff. And so, we reward individualism. And, we don’t reward teams, I’m like, I just made that part up, right? I think 80% of our rewards and there’s not I have some ribbons lifesaving all that stuff on my when I was still working on my class A uniform. But we don’t have like a ribbon for teams and great teamwork. Ego gets it. Yeah, so at least I then second is, is that dysfunction, number one is, lack of trust, it’s team leaders, I think, are afraid to be vulnerable. That we talk a good turnabout leadership, but we don’t talk about being vulnerable, and I see it more often than not, they’re just like, you know, I don’t know, man. What do you think? And we’re so afraid to say, I don’t know, because there’s this facade that the leader has to know everything, and they don’t. It’s an unrealistic expectation.

Host: Ain’t that the truth? That it’s so hard. Our world is so complex. These days, the problems that we as a society are facing are so complex, there are so many layers to them, all that is so true. We can’t possibly know everything in it. And a good leader does know how to say that. How to elicit that, that information back from his team. I like what you talked about earlier, and I actually haven’t I liked it well enough what I even wrote it down. That notion of when leaders isolate themselves, they start making decisions that aren’t necessarily beneficial to themselves or their agency. That’s what a great point. Thank you.



Audience Question: What happens when you have leaders that aren’t receptive to suggestions? What can you do? 

Michael Goold: Wow, So I’ll answer that in two parts and quickly. There’s another part of the training to do is called psychological safety and that’s some work from doctor Amy Edmonton from Harvard, which is basically it’s okay to make mistakes, and again she’s in the health field. We work for people who think it’s so it’s you can’t make a mistake and that’s the farthest thing from a true. If a leader won’t be vulnerable, we can try to coach, you can try to have a crucial conversation with them. But I hate to sound fatalistic, but more often than not, and I experienced it personally, myself, is people leave, they’re just going to leave that organization. If someone’s just unwilling to listen and to be vulnerable, there’s a good chance they’re not going to change. And so, then the person has a choice, do you stay in that atmosphere and work for that person but more and more often than not, they’re out of there. And especially, the new generation and the Gallup Survey shows it. Employees are going to bounce, or they are just not going to put up with that behavior.



Audience Question: How do you build a successful team when an agency is constantly dealing with turnover? And even the external turmoil that we’re all now facing? How do you build a great team when there’s nothing but constant change? And you’ve got new people floating in and out? You’ve got people leaving? How do you do it? 

Michael Goold: I think you address why people are changing, and I’m sorry, why people are leaving and coming and going, right? If you look at the studies, people don’t. People leave because the organization is not fulfilling their needs. It’s huge, it’s very rarely money is like down at the fifth of a reason people leave the organization. For the most part is, honestly, it’s that compelling purpose. It’s been my thing that it’s not clear, it’s not challenging, and it’s not consequential, like I’m not making a difference. And I think, sadly, you’re going to see a lot of people. And I’ve been speaking with a lot of co-workers and supervisors or managers lately, within like the last two weeks is a lot of the younger employees are feeling that the work is not consequential. Like we’ve done all these things, and society hates us. Hopefully answering the question is, that’s the role of the team, and the team leader is, too. And it sounds corny like, well, I got to tell people why we’re in this profession. Yeah, sometimes we got to and show the good things of what we do, because especially right now, we’re just getting beat up so bad as a profession. Right, that you got to remind people of our compelling purpose. And they’ll go, “It’s a hill I’ll die on.”



Audience Question: When I was, when I was doing my own graduate work, they always used to talk about how people don’t leave because of money, as you just implied, they leave because of managers. That very often, it’s that lack of management, are you saying that’s evolving a little bit in terms of the reason why people are leaving that. It’s not just because of a manager, it’s because they don’t have that compelling purpose. Is it a little bit of both? Is  compelling mission more important now?

Michael Goold: It’s all three of those things. Right? I’m 53 and I’ve been on the other end. It’s not disparaging at all, and it’s what we all kind of felt, that we’re just lucky to have a job. People want to come to work and work for a good boss. They want to know that they’re making a difference, and they want to know that the company cares about them. So, all those things are manifesting in the current studies that, if there’s a boss that’s a jerk, that jerk is costing the agency or the organization a lot of money. Because if you think how much it cost to replace like a sworn officer in California, you’re like, “Oh, we can’t afford to do this training.” You’re like, “You just lost three people that were on paper, their full FTE, either full-time equivalent was 150 on the low end. So, you just lost $300,000, but you won’t do the team assessment, or you won’t do the five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

Host: If people, if managers would actually do run the numbers, just like you just said about what the true cost of turnover is. Oh, my gosh, they with their heads would explode. It’s just incredible and very often we just see it as a turnover. Turnover is just a cost of doing business, but we don’t, when you really stop at the numbers, I put pen to paper. Oh, my gosh. It is astonishing. And then on top of that, all that intelligence capital that just walked out the door. We had a speaker a couple of months ago talk about how turnover is deadly for case investigations, for casework because you, you lose that person. They walk out the door and all their history is in their head, and just the momentum that they’ve been making on casework. It’s just, it’s incredible.

Michael Goold: There’s a fourth element with this one is with social media and so forth. And again, this isn’t a disparaging remark. This generation coming in now and that is in there. They’re going to tell all their friends and they have a social network. Well, they’ll share that say, hey, don’t go work for such and such PD or such and such probation there, the bosses are picking your vulgarity. Don’t go work for them. And so, it’ll be a negative recruiting.



Audience Question: How do you deal with leaders who have a big ego? 

Michael Goold: That’s hard and I hate to get back to it. So, there are two answers. One, is, it gets back to that first dysfunction, is the ego of the leader. And I’ll admit, it might, as leaders, quote-unquote, Chiefs of Police, sheriffs, we have egos. It just is what it is. But when it comes to the detriment of the team. We all have egos, right? Because there’s a flip side is pride, and pride is a great thing. You take pride in what you do, pride in how you work with your employees, how you treat the community. Pride is a good thing, but I think pride, coupled with not listening, which I think is probably the definition of ego, or lack of humility, that’s when it becomes a detriment. So, if you think back to that third or fourth slide with the sheriff, I think in the beginning was a great Sheriff when we started doing a lot of great stuff. But his ego got in the way of listening and literally cost him his freedom because he did some criminal stuff.



Audience Question: Do you have any advice for first-time supervisors? What a fantastic, what a fantastic insight, I mean, certainly, you know, there’s, there’s plenty of managers on this webinar today but there are also people who are either new managers or people who want to be managers. So, what advice do you have for those folks? 

Michael Goold: You bet, you know, a quick answer, the simplest answer is usually the best. And it’s a weird place going from, if you’re a new supervisor, there’s probably a good chance that you are working with the people that you’re now supervising, which is a weird relationship. But I would suggest two things, it’s character and competence. So, continue to work on your competence. You know, go to supervisor school read books. And then your character, do the right thing. One of my biggest and maybe another webinar is, you know, with implicit bias. And all these other ones is all that stuff starts within the agency. And public safety folks are good at CMBS. So, if the leader and the organization espouse one thing, but they’re not doing it internally, all of that stuff goes out the window. And it just won’t happen. So new supervisor, just continue to work on your craft and work on yourself. And maybe a third caveat to that is, is know yourself, take assessments, read books. I believe that’s true. Steve Young had a quarterback coach and then throw back up my apology for a sports analogy. Tiger Woods, a professional golfer, has a swing coach. Professional players still have coaches. And so, part of that is getting to know yourself, the better you know yourself, the better you’re able to lead and to manage the folks that you have the pleasure to do so. So, take the MBTI. Do an emotional intelligence assessment each, Clifton Shrinks is a great one. And there are other ones. So, the better you know yourself, and it’s not to put you in a box, I look at it as lenses. It’s like, go into an optometrist, right? The better you have a prescription for your specific eye situation, the better you’re going to be able to see. But if you say, no, that’s the ego blind thing, you’re going to cause problems. So, do some checkups on yourself and invest in yourself. I think that’s huge.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Like Being the Boss? You’ll Need Your Team to Stay That Way.


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