I was home on leave for 2 weeks and then traveled to Riviera Maya near Cancun, Mexico last week to film some more Police Dynamics training videos. So now you know why I haven’t posted any new police or leadership training videos for the last few weeks. Here is the first one from Cancun on Discernment.

The character quality of discernment is defined by the Character Training Institute as:

DISCERNMENT
Understanding the deeper reasons why things happen

It’s like wearing a SCUBA diving mask so you can see below the surface more clearly. This is an essential quality for a leader, a supervisor, an investigator, a patrol officer, or even a parent to possess.

So much of what we do in the leadership and law enforcement arenas deals with behavior. But the principles of Police Dynamics go below the surface and look at the character that motivates the behavior. By exercising discernment, you can begin to deal with the real problems as opposed to only treating the symptoms.

It’s actually the fundamental difference between character and ethics. We often use those terms interchangeably, but ethics deals primarily with behavior. We have ethical rules of conduct: do this but don’t do that. It’s all behavior based. While the principles of character look into the heart of the individual because it’s their character that most often motivates their behavior, particularly when they are under stress.

That’s why an effective leader or law enforcement officer must put on his or her “Discernment Mask” so they can see below the surface. For an investigator, this is how they catch criminals. For a patrol officer, discernment can be more valuable than a ballistic vest in ensuring their safety on the streets.

This ties right in to our teaching about Super Vision in the Dynamic of SuperVision. An effective supervisor has to put on their “SuperVision Goggles” which is really all about discernment.

In future episodes of Police Dynamics training, I will take you deeper into an understanding of these principles of leadership and effective policing. Next week we will start a series on the Dynamic of Discretion, one of the advanced principles from Series 2 of the Police Dynamics program. So stay tuned and bring your SCUBA gear because we’re going deep…!

Sheriff Ray


About the Author


15 Responses to Discernment in Cancun

  1. David Ivey says:

    Leadership is so essential in life for all of us. You have shown that it can be taught even though we are not natural leaders. It takes desire and commitment and some GUTS.
    Thanks for all that you do.
    David

    • Sheriff Ray says:

      Dave:

      I was once asked by a reporter what it was that attracted me to other people. I instantly said “Passion!” Passion and enthusiasm are key leadership qualities because they inspire others to follow. Passion coupled with moral courage (the GUTS you mentioned) is a powerful leadership combination. Thanks for posting…

      Sheriff Ray

  2. I viewed your video, Discernment in Cancun, and found it an absolute gem of a subject matter for law enforcement types. I believe this is the first time that I have seen this particular subject presented not only as an essential tool, but one that could save your life. I applaud your message and video.

    Joel G. Henderson

    • Sheriff Ray says:

      Thanks, Joel. Discernment is just another way of saying “street savvy” – something that has saved more officers’ lives than a ballistic vest…

      Sheriff Ray

  3. Alex Cruz says:

    That was an outstanding message. I felt like I was at my Baptist Christian Church for service. It was clear, concise and pointed. You’re a motivational speaker and speaking from experience. Great job. look forward to your next message.

    Alex Cruz

    • Sheriff Ray says:

      Thanks, Alex. I really appreciate the positive feedback. This was not one of my best works due to the camera I was working with and the shooting environment. Would you mind if I posted your comments on the website? I would like to share them with other viewers if that’s OK…

      Sheriff Ray

      • Alex Cruz says:

        Absolutely. And don’t underestimate yourself. I wasn’t looking at the surroundings or the camera angles, I was paying attention to the message which you most excellently put forth. You are motivational and use props with a purpose. I look forward to your next course.

        I have Leukemia and am surviving because I stay positive and surround myself with positive people. You know from experience that this is very difficult in law enforcement. So your message was quite refreshing.

        I was a Field Training Officer for about 8 years. I would get a lot of the trainees that weren’t making it. I found that they weren’t learning because of the instructor not being flexible in their teaching styles. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.

        Keep up the fantastic work and please let me know if there is anything I can ever do to help out.

        Respectfully,
        Alex Cruz

  4. Nate Derby says:

    Ray- Another great video from your website. Keep it up.
    Nate Derby

  5. Tony Normore says:

    Hello Ray

    I’m impressed by the very important work that you do. I’ll take some time and peruse the link you provided below. I’ll add a comment or two too if you wish. I like how you end your message with “Keep up the good character”. It’s a much needed slogan we want to see put directly into practice. Many thanks.

    Best
    Tony

    • Sheriff Ray says:

      Tony:

      I am SO glad that you found the information to be helpful and encouraging.

      In regards to the “keep up the good character” response, we started using that at the Sheriff’s Office because we found ourselves saying “good job” and “keep up the good work” all the time. If you think about it, those are ways to praise achievement instead of the character that produced it. I have posted some training videos that speak to this issue. When we praise achievement over character (which is what we are programmed to do), we can actually encourage bad character. Instead, I encourage folks to always tie at least one character quality into the recognition, something I call making the Character Connection. That way we encourage and promote good character, which in the long run will always result in higher achievement…

      Check out these videos for more on this topic:
      The Character Maxim
      Making the Character Connection
      Pitching Character
      The Rookie’s Pursuit

      Thanks for expressing your gratefulness for the videos and keep up the good character!

      Sheriff Ray Nash

      • Tony Normore says:

        Ray

        I read the submissions about “The Benefits of Good Character”, “49 Character Qualities”, “10 Virtues of a Law Officer”, and watched the “Police Dynamics Intro Video”. My immediate reaction is one of complete support. I’m thoroughly drawn to the pyramid type conceptual framework of “competence and Character” where these two virtues serve as the pillar of the other virtues (i.e., integrity, trust, etc).

        I hope it’s ok for me to use this approach/model for my graduate level course on “Ethics and Educational Leadership”. I’m impressed and most grateful that we have this source (yours) to help in our own leadership development, preparation and training.

        THANK YOU!….and keeping in line with the fantastic adage – “Keep up the good character”.

        Best
        Tony

        Anthony H. Normore, Ph. D
        Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Leadership,
        Graduate School of Education, California Lutheran University #4100
        60 W. Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

        • Sheriff Ray says:

          Tony:

          As my chaplain used to say, “If it fits your barrel, fire it…!” Feel free to use anything on the site. Attribution is always appreciated…

          Sheriff Ray Nash

  6. Dave Hodges says:

    Thanks for posting this, I sometimes have to present to groups of Leaders on How to build in, or maintain, Morale or motivation. Especially in times of austerity and cuts in public sector spending, this has given me some ‘Get up.. and go’.

    Dave Hodges

  7. Sheriff Ray says:

    Glad everyone liked the video so much. Dr. Kimberly Alyn is an awesome motivational speaker. I’m getting more comments on this post than anything else on the site…!

    There are lots more training videos in the works, plus over 100 leadership, law enforcement, and character-based videos already live on this site…

    Sheriff Ray Nash
    http://www.PoliceDynamics.com

  8. […] the Five Types of Offenders to make a determination as to their level of character. Having the discernment to see below the surface of behavior into the heart of their character is essential to applying the […]

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Sheriff Ray Nash

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Highlands County, FL

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Chaplain Carl Nelson
Colorado Springs Police Department

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Burleson, TX

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Chief Lynn Williams
Chickasha, OK

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"This shows us a new approach to recognize those employees’ character traits and to recognize and acknowledge them for those good traits versus, “You did an excellent job…” It’s some fresh ideas in an area that we probably all need to change."
Major P.D. Taylor
Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office

"In the three years prior to our character initiative, we had 42 labor and employee grievances, and seven different lawsuits. In the three years since we put the character initiative in place, we have had two grievances and no lawsuits from employees. I think that, in and of itself, is significant."
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