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Leadership Lessons from the Singapore Police Force

For those who don’t know me, I am the Art Director for The Leadership Project, here making my debut, writing a newsletter.

Recently, I just got back after an enriching two weeks of Reservist in the Singapore Police Force, and I'm excited to share the incredible lessons I've learned about leadership during this transformative journey. Every qualified Singaporean male is required to serve 10 cycles of call duties and carry out various activities and training.

Leading with Purpose

One of the first things I discovered during the two weeks was the importance of leading with purpose. As a Police Officer, every action I took had a direct impact on the community I served. Whether it was maintaining order during an event or offering assistance to a citizen in need, especially when we were deployed during Singapore’s National Day where hundreds and thousands of people roamed around the streets to witness the fireworks held at Marina Bay. I realized that having a clear sense of purpose was crucial for effective leadership. People naturally looked to me for guidance and direction, and understanding the significance of my role helped me make decisions that aligned with our collective mission.

Empathy as a Bridge

Empathy emerged as a powerful tool in my leadership toolkit. Interacting with diverse individuals from all walks of life, I quickly recognized that understanding and acknowledging their perspectives was vital to building trust and rapport. Whether it was mediating a dispute or comforting someone in distress, showing empathy bridged the gap between law enforcement and the community. I and my team were tasked to attend to a case where this lady was being harassed while she was working as a store manager at a supermarket. Upon investigating, we found out that she felt she was racially harassed numerous times while working there as a Filipino. It was that day when it hit the boiling point for her to call the Police. We managed to calm her down and advised her accordingly. It reminded me that leadership is not just about authority, but about connecting on a human level.

Team Collaboration and Communication

Another significant aspect of leadership that was highlighted during my time as a Policeman was the value of teamwork and communication. Each shift of day patrol involved coordination with fellow officers and sometimes even members of the community. During one of the shifts, I was approached by a lady at one of the train stations, seeking assistance as her son was nowhere to be found. The lady looked so frantic and I know it is my responsibility to calm her down and gather as many facts as we can to solve the matter as soon as possible. With great teamwork between us and the train station staff, we were able to locate her son at another location. We successfully reunite the lady and her son after taking the necessary actions. Effective communication ensured that everyone was on the same page, contributing to a smoother workflow and achieving our objectives efficiently. I learned that a leader's ability to foster collaboration and maintain open lines of communication directly impacts the overall success of a team.

Final Thoughts

My two weeks journey as a Police Officer has been eye-opening, providing me with invaluable insights into leadership that I will carry forward in my professional and personal life. I want to express my gratitude to all of the new and old peers that I met throughout the two weeks for their support and encouragement.

As we continue to grow as leaders, I look forward to sharing more stories, reflections, and insights that can enrich our lives. Until next time, let's embrace the lessons learned and strive to be better leaders in our spheres of influence.

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