It is the people that can make an organisation. For me, who you work with is important to whether you are just going through the motions or you are able to really get involved and enjoy what you do. Over the 15 years that I have been at my current workplace I have lost count of how many people have been part of the same team. They have joined, gained valuable experience, contributed a lot and then moved on.
I have been lucky to have worked with some amazing and creative people. Individuals who will work round-the-clock to deliver results and are totally focused on making a difference to communities. They have a huge sense of pride in being able to support frontline police officers find criminals, help victims or encourage witnesses to come forward. I have often referred to the team as a dysfunctional family. We support each other, mainly get along, have some fall-outs but always make up and work together.
This may be something wider than police communication and I am sure many others may talk about teams in the same way. But I do think that because of the nature of the work police communicators do, how important it is in dealing with emergencies and because it is high stakes, that it brings people closer together. Over the years I have worked many late nights, early mornings, bank holidays and weekends as have my colleagues. When we have been in the middle of an emergency or a crisis we pull together and work as needed to reach the right conclusion. It is hard work, commitment and a large amount of cake and chocolate that sees us through, as well as a sense of humour.
In 15 years I have also had more bosses than I care to count. On a rough estimate it is reaching double figures. They have all been very different but when I look back there are always things I have learnt from spending time working with them. Some have been very interested in communication and others have been hands-off preferring to only get involved when it was absolutely necessary. As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am not the easiest person to manage. It goes right back to my school days when I felt able to challenge the teachers about what I was being taught. I am sure to them it was a pain but for me it definitely helped my learning. That said, I think there are three key things that set apart those bosses that have been the best.
Firstly, they have been interested in communication, willing to get involved when necessary and have wanted to understand more. Secondly, they have allowed me the freedom to use my skills, knowledge and experience without micro-managing. Finally, they have been really clear about what was expected both from me and the team, without moving the goalposts. I am lucky that when it has worked well I have remained in touch with the boss and with a few can call them friends.
In 15 years one thing has been clear – it is the people that have made the work as enjoyable as it has been. On most days I don’t dread going to work, I relish it and I don’t worry about who I may be working with, I look forward to it. I have enjoyed being part of the dysfunctional family.