We are often asked about how emotional intelligence is used in the police force and what impact it can have. Common sense dictates that emotional intelligence should be a key success factor for the police force as a whole – to act calm, empathetic and thoughtful in provocative situations or too quickly make a decision on how to act in vulnerable and stressful situations can be a challenge.
A large study with 424 police offers by the FBI Training Academy in the USA provides us with some insight and knowledge: These officers came from many different countries and had been selected to participate in training. They were identified as people who have leadership potential and were recognized as skilled in their profession. Against these was a control group who did not participate in the training.
One might think that the toughest, strongest and bravest officers also are the best. But not so… What really distinguished the best amongst all the officers:
- Social responsibility: the police officers who had the ability to see what is best for others, their colleagues, their division, the entire police force, and even for their city and their country proved to be most important.
- Problem management: how to define a problem, how to get the solutions and how they then act to resolve it.
- Self-realization: A police officer that loves his/her job is usually also adept at mapping out what they want with their lives, they set goals and strive towards it, in both the professional and private level.
- Finally, and not surprisingly, these police officers were adept at relationships. By understanding how to build and connect with people to gain their confidence and trust lead to overall job satisfaction and thus appreciated and skilled police officers.