Burden of Command Course Synopsis


This course is designed to provide supervisors and managers with the necessary tools for

enhancing the performance of the work unit. The course examines five critical areas

that relate to one’s skills and ability to balance the responsibilities of being a leader and a manager. These five areas are described as “Burdens” due to the ongoing labor required to

constantly manage the commander’s own behaviors.

The course is three days (24hrs.). Abridged presentations are at the request of the client. The course is delivered by lecture, PowerPoint, video clips and case studies using the latest empirical research, practical experience and anecdotal illustrations by the veteran instructor 



  1. Be sensitive to context and situationally aware of the complexity, ambiguity, and turbulence in the contemporary environment of leadership.
  2. Understand implicit social cognition and dual process theory and the role they play in interpersonal relationships, information processing and decision making.
  3. Understand and demonstrate the importance of emotional intelligence and social intelligence and its nexus to professional relationships in the workplace.
  4. Know and understand the importance and continuing utility regarding the ability and skill sets required to critically think and promote good interpersonal relationships.
  5. Develop and sustain a state of “meta-cognition” to make objective analysis, sound evaluations promoting and sustain important feedback, capturing the best ideas and develop sound collective evaluations for good decision making.
  6. Describe the components of process and organizational fairness and their nexus to leader/member exchange theory, performance, and organizational loyalty.
  7. Understand the theories of transactional, transformational, and situational leadership.
  8. Be cognizant of the importance of proactive management, policy, procedure, practice and continuing oversight in a leader’s responsibility.


1.) Introduction to the course: (day one morning)

The instructor will prepare the class for the five “burdens” or domains by demonstrating their importance in a contemporary leadership environment.

Topics include:

  • Organizational culture and leadership responsibility
  • The volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous factors in public safety leadership
  • The leaders current and future specific issues basket
  • The broken relationship with reality, perspectives and judgements in a post-factual world
  • The importance of leading up and loyalty to the organization and management
  • Generational differences or life experiences, the new challenges and new opportunities in leadership responsibility


2.) The Burden of Self-Awareness: (day one afternoon)

The leader must realize that if there is a problem in their work unit, the first place they

better look is at themselves. They look in the mirror before looking out the window.

The leader must first recognize their own behavior, conduct, problems, demeanor, or

dispositions, then work to manage those behaviors and conduct them in such fashion that it does not adversely affect those under his or her charge.

The leader must:

  • Strive for objectivity, resist bias or faulty assumptions and regulate their cognitions.
  • Watch listen and be aware of others probing and inquiring when a sense of change and/or dissonance is perceived.
  • Possess the people skills to develop relationships that lead to candid and

forthright dialogue and discussions.

  • Maintain an empathetic perspective toward their people
  • Identify ways to proactivity develop emotional currency for deposit in their subordinate’s accounts to be withdrawn upon later when navigating difficult issues
  • Understanding other perspectives


3.) The Burden of Competence: (day two morning)

A leader must be competent and confident, a mentor and teacher. The professional

growth and development of subordinates is tremendously important, it is a huge stressor for employees when their supervisor lacks competence in their job.


  • Insecurity leads to poor decision making, micromanagement and dysfunctional delegation
  • Leaders will lose “credibility” from all they supervise and be “inconsistent” if they are not competent
  • Competent leaders can navigate complex and volatile environments
  • Competent leaders can see and understand context within the domains of competence in which they work and be able to critically think and use meta-cognition
  • They project objectivity through careful analysis
  • A competent leader transforms into a confident leader that is comfortable in their own shoes
  • Competent leaders thirst and strive to grow and develop their knowledge and skills every day, through awareness, research, reading, training and education
  • Competent leaders have a passion for their work and craft


4.) The Burden of Servanthood: (day two afternoon)

The servant leader puts themselves upon the altar of difficulty and labor to invest in their people

cultivating and developing their professional growth.

A servant leader:

  • Puts the organization and employees ahead of themselves
  • Takes responsibility for subordinate’s behavior
  • Creates an environment of organizational commitment and loyalty
  • Is sensitive to the context of fairness
  • Enhances organizational performance
  • Are self-confident without being self-absorbed.
  • Know how to build a subordinate’s capacity, delegate both task and authority and grow their subordinate’s confidence.
  • When subordinates see that a leader sacrifices on their behalf, such evolves into trust and motivation
  • Ensures their interactions with all employees prevent “in groups and out groups” from forming.
  • Research demonstrates the tremendous importance of process and organizational fairness and the leader’s critical role in advancing the employees performance, developing organization loyalty and inoculating the subordinate from contemporary turbulences.


5.) The Burden of Communication: (day three morning)

One’s ability to lead effectively is determined by their skill as a communicator. Communication is the motivate and glue that hold organizations and people together.

Communication tenants:

  • The value of communications among managers, supervisors, peers, and subordinates is tremendously important in all organizations.
  • Understanding roles and responsibilities and chain of command
  • Listening and soliciting feedback is most important to demonstrate value and reflect trust in subordinates
  • Must be deliberate and ongoing, working around and through barriers and different


  • Developing a communication script by specific and essential elements of information to support the theme
  • Managing difficult conversations with employees
  • Internal and external stakeholder management
  • Exemplary communications enhance leadership and promotes exemplary management.


6.)  The Burden of Management: (day three afternoon)

Leaders can never walk past poor performance, correct in private, and praise in public.  Leaders must grow and develop their people and prepare them to stand in as leaders. Leadership is influence and management is process:

  • People make processes work through the structured methods directed by management.
  • People must be rewarded when appropriate
  • Held accountable toward their responsibilities when appropriate

The important feature is how a leader ensures the job is done. The method and manner the leader motivates, casts vision, and provides purpose is very important for the effectiveness and

efficiency and credibility of the organization.

Today’s commander must understand:

  • The dynamics involved in both transformational and transactional leadership
  • How those features are implemented in today’s workplace
  • Ensure the appropriate balance between the care and concern for their people and loyalty and performance to the organizations mission
  • Sustain a professional, ethical and value-based workplace culture
  • Have a zero-tolerance for inappropriate conduct

The leader must be a manager that can objectively:

  • Evaluate specific conduct and behavior against an organizational standard
  • Accurately document performance
  • Develop performance plans and conduct objective and fair appraisals
  • Grow and develop employees through praise and correction

The leader must manage a G rated work unit in a R rated world:

  • Develop and sustain a professional culture
  • Ensure a respectful, safe, secure and functional work place


The leader’s responsibility for managerial oversight:

  • Evidence
  • Hours
  • Money
  • Property
  • Inventory
  • Process and procedural responsibility
  • Inspect to expect
  • The nexus between organizational integrity, prophylactic skepticism and subordinates trust


Conclude with the identification of case studies, reference publications, reading list, and interactive website applications for additional independent training.