In these times of increased tensions between police officers and their communities, the need for effective police leadership is more important than ever. Past research suggests that a transformational style of leadership is preferred by most officers, with supervisors who are good communicators, trustworthy, effective at training officers for changing times, and able to create a shared cooperative vision. The present study developed a new Transformational Police Leadership Scale (TPLS) that police departments might eventually use to assess supervisor leadership characteristics. Participants included 152 US police officers who completed anonymous surveys to report demographics, to rate leadership behaviors of immediate supervisors, and to report their psychosocial well-being (self-esteem, perceived police social support, romantic partner conflict). Exploratory factor analysis produced a 20-item TPLS with three dimensions showing acceptable internal reliability and test-retest reliability: Clear Communication, Training and Cooperation, and Fairness and Honesty. The three TPLS dimensions were not associated with demographics (age, gender, marital status, college education, patrol officer rank, years of service), suggesting their relevance to a variety of officers. The TPLS dimensions significantly explained variance in psychosocial well-being of police officers including better self-esteem (R2 = .11), more perceived police social support (R2 = .30), and less romantic partner conflict (R2 = .12). Future research could expand evaluation of TPLS psychometric characteristics such as confirmatory factor analysis with larger and more diverse sample, inter-rater reliability, and convergent validity with other non-police measures of transformative leadership.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Applied Psychology