Thursday, July 05, 2007

"Other" Deputy job requirements

It is easier to measure performance, e.g. case paperwork done in X hours, but employees in my office (particularly my investigators) must demonstrate certain other characteristics that are “softer” to measure.

They must have integrity and an internalized “system” of ethics that sets boundaries on their behavior. This encompasses a sense of “right” from “wrong”, but also an ability to make even more nuanced choices as decisions are made in their work and in their relations with others. My investigators are often in situations that demand this and at times may even “test” them. For example (and there are too many to list), there may be a significant amount of money found in the decedent’s home. That money must be handled properly and passed on to the legal next of kin or the proper authorities. Another example is that we are often privy to certain information about folks that must be maintained confidentially and not judged. My investigators must come to their job with this ethical outlook and basis for their actions. I can’t teach that or remediate it. Lack of these traits puts the results of their investigations in doubt.

They must accept and display personal responsibility. If something doesn’t go quite “right” they must accept and admit that part that they contributed to, take “ownership” and responsibility. It is not always someone else’s fault, you, too, contributed to that action and/or outcome. If punishment is deserved it must be accepted as the “just” thing to occur. Again, this is a part of them. It is demonstrated in many ways and many interactions. I can encourage it, but it is a part of them when they come into our office. I can not give it to them.

Lastly, they must earn trust (prove to be trustworthy), primarily by demonstrating and living the above traits. Earn my trust, because they often serve as my “eyes and ears” in our investigations. Earn their fellow co-workers trust (in and out of the office), because they work closely with others and without that trust working relationships are jeopardized and handicapped. Lack of that can make for untenable working conditions for my office and our staff, as well as damaging relationships with other organizations and outcomes of investigations.

Just some passing thoughts.

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