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Optimising Human Performance

Leadership and Wellbeing: Lessons and Insights from a Policing Career

EPISODE 3 Leadership and Wellbeing: Lessons and Insights from a Policing Career

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In this episode, Martin & Jonpaul are joined by Tim Jacques – former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the UK’s Counterterrorism Policing HQ. They discuss health and wellbeing in high-stress positions and the role of senior leaders in optimising wellbeing and performance.

Guest, Cast & Crew

Tim Jacques retired in February 2024 after 37 years in policing. He completed his service as a Deputy Assistant Commissioner in UK Counter Terrorism’s Policing Headquarters based in New Scotland Yard.  Counter Terrorism Policing is an 8,000 people strong collaboration of UK Police Forces who work with the United Kingdom’s Intelligence Agencies, His Majesty’s Government, the Ministry of Defence and other partners to counter the threat to UK interests from all forms of terrorism. Tim had strategic responsibility for all counterterrorism policing prevent and pursue activities.  

Hosted by Martin Jones & Jonpaul Nevin https://www.ophp.co.uk 

Edited by Bess Manley

Produced by Wavell Room https://wavellroom.com/

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Chapters

00:42 Introducing Tim Jacques: A Policing Career in Review

01:09 The Importance of Well-being in High-Stress Roles

05:09 Understanding Human Performance in Policing

08:02 The Evolution of the Oscar Kilo Program

18:35 Strategies for Personal Well-being and Performance

29:58 Advice for Leaders on Fostering Wellbeing

32:25 Final Thoughts and How to Connect with Tim

Up Next

Look out for our next episode with Dr Thomas Curran, a world-leading expert on perfectionism. We challenge some of the myths that link perfectionism with high performance and discuss how we can prevent perfectionism from hindering our health, wellbeing, productivity and performance. 

Transcript

[00:00:00] INTRO: Hello and welcome to the Optimizing Human Performance podcast. I’m Martin Jones, a Human Performance Specialist, Researcher and Educator. And I’m John Paul Nevin, a former Royal Armoury Physical Training Corps Instructor turned academic. Each week we talk to world leading experts about how to unlock the full potential of those who operate in high stress, high stakes environments.

We discuss the latest science, innovative strategies, practical wisdom and inspirational stories in the rapidly evolving world of human performance optimization. The Optimising Human Performance podcast is produced in partnership with the Wavell Room and the Tactical Athlete Performance Centre at Buckinghamshire New University.

In this episode, we’re joined by Tim Jacques. Tim retired in February 2024 after 37 years in policing. Throughout his career, Tim served as a patrol officer, a firearms officer and commander, and hostage negotiator. Though most of his career was spent in investigations and intelligence. He completed his service as a Deputy Assistant Commissioner in UK Counter Terrorism’s policing headquarters based in New Scotland Yard.

In our conversation with Tim, we discuss health and well being in high stress roles and uncover the role played by senior leaders in promoting self awareness, emotional intelligence, and support structures within organizations to sustain high performance.

[00:01:23] Martin: Hi, Tim. Welcome to the Optimizing Human Performance podcast. It’s great to have you with us today. How are you doing?

[00:01:29] Tim: Yeah. Really good. Thank you. Thanks for having me.

[00:01:31] Martin: great. Can you tell us about yourself? What did you do professionally? how did you start your career and just a whistle stop tour of where you’ve been and where you are now?

[00:01:42] Tim: Yeah. Okay. Thanks. So, well, I was a cop, up until a few weeks ago, I was a cop for, well, in total 37 years or over 37 years. as everybody did certainly back in that day, started off as a street cop, walking the streets of my home city back in Lancashire, rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming a senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing.

So that’s kind of overseeing everything day to day, all the sort of pursue, prevent investigations, taking command in the highest sort of threat situations. But yeah, I mean, it was a brilliant career. Fantastic. I was a firearms officer back in the day. We had revolvers then, that’s how long ago it was.

 I was a firearms commander. I was a hostage negotiator for seven or eight years. did some hostage jobs international as well as domestic and a lot of suicide intervention, negotiating literally on the tops of high buildings with people, at that point where they didn’t know what the next step was going to be, was it going to be forwards or backwards, basically.

And most of my career intelligence and investigations as I say, sort of ended up in counter terrorism, and finished just a few weeks ago. So I’ve had a few weeks rest and I’m now the CEO of a young people’s charity back in the Northwest.

[00:02:51] Martin: So throughout that journey, how did you come to be interested in health and well being and human performance? Where did that Diversion, appear in your career?

[00:03:02] Tim: Yeah, I think, what really hooked me into it was I got a visit one day by an officer, I didn’t know this officer, I kind of knew who they were, but I didn’t really know them. And he said, boss , I want to talk to you, there’s something I want to tell you. And he came in and had a cup of tea and he started to tell me this tale of the journey he’d been on, of the last couple of years, I think it was. And in short, he got to the position, with all sorts of things going on in his life, he’d started taking drugs, he’d become very depressed, suicidal to the point where he was actively considering taking his life. Thankfully, he didn’t, and he got some support. But that really kind of made an impact on me. And I thought, well, this guy’s been through all of that. He’s a member of a team, he’s got a supervisor, there should be a support structure around him. And nobody knew or nobody cared enough to intervene and support him.

And I just thought that can’t be good enough, as an organization and as individuals within that organization, we’ve let that guy down. How many more people are there in the police force that are kind of on that path, or been that way? Coincidentally, a guy who was one of our sergeants at the time came to me and said he wanted to go and do some study at Lancaster University around wellbeing and specifically wellbeing in the police and would I sign that off to support it? I did, then later on he went and did a Masters. And over a number of years, he and I, with the support of the guy that was our deputy chief and then became the chief constable, started doing a lot more around wellbeing within Lancashire at first. And the way I used to say it to him was that, uh, he’d give all the academic background and all the kind of research and then I’d turn it into cop speak.

And that actually became the foundations of what is now the National Police Wellbeing Service. That was the starting point of me really getting into what we call wellbeing human performance organizational support, the impact on individuals and how you can actually encourage individuals to be, better supportive productive and happy. So yeah, that was kind of the real start I think of this journey.

[00:05:08] JP: So Tim, sort of expanding upon that, within the police, how would you view human performance? What is human performance within the police service, obviously given their, respective roles, because it is so broad in nature?

[00:05:23] Tim: Yeah, guess, in general terms, I see it as, an individual being able to come to work, be themselves, as close to the sort of real them that they’re able to be in a workplace situation, feel supported, feel part of a team, feel motivated around the work that they’re being asked to do, which, in a profession like police should be easy because we’re there to protect people and give the best of themselves and then they walk home at the end of the day, look in the mirror and think I’ve done a pretty good job today.

And that kind of, circular effect of feeling good and doing good, really.

[00:05:55] JP: And, just expanding bit further, just going to drill into it. So given your role a firearms officer, for example, what was the sort of specific physiological, psychological, cognitive demands that were put upon you to perform that role? And how did that then differ to your role as you progressed, into more management roles at the operational strategic level?

[00:06:15] Tim: Yeah, good question and interesting dynamic I think, because in the firearms world, in the training, you were very much under pressure in the moment And the team would ramp that pressure up so you felt it there and then, giving you the kind of psychological ability to cope with that pressure and still make clear good decisions.

 I was a firearms commander for a long time. I became what we call a CT counter-Terrorism Commander, which is a small Carter of people nationally that run the highest threat CT jobs.

And then in to the senior national coordinator role, which is one of these sort of higher pressure jobs, I guess, in policing. I think the difference is it’s that sort of constant drip drip. The investigations never go away. They’re always kind of in your back of your mind and you’re always thinking that thing we talked about today could be the next big thing reported on the news.

[00:07:00] Martin: Tim, you’ve mentioned a couple of different terms, wellbeing, happiness. We talk about human performance. In your experience, do you feel like people can perform in these high stress, high stakes, high reliability roles, if they’re not happy if they’re not looking after themselves in terms of their mental well being, their health, their fitness? Have you seen evidence that would suggest that you can still perform without these things? Or is very much true you need well being first?

[00:07:29] Tim: I guess it comes down to what do you mean by performing? So can people who are not in the greatest of places, work hard and, bring about a good result or do something good for a short period of time? Yes, they probably can. Is that sustainable, over a lifetime of a career time? Well, it’s probably not. And that’s where we see, you know, people turn into drugs, alcohol, gambling, whatever it is. So they can, but I think it’s the sustainability and it’s that constant, turning up day in, day out, performing well, having that support structure around you.

[00:08:01] Martin: Absolutely. can you take us through the journey then. You mentioned that initial experience of working with your colleague who’d had a rough run of things all the way up to the establishment of the Oscar Kilo program. How did you take that experience from one person you support in that one person to creating a nationwide program? What was the story of that program?

[00:08:23] Tim: It wasn’t just me, was a number of us, but, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that clip on YouTube. The guy dancing on a hill at a festival back in the sixties or seventies, everybody looking at him, like you’re absolutely mad mate. He’s there for a long and fairly uncomfortable time. And then one more person steps in with him, and then like all of a sudden you’ve got a whole hillside of people dancing like crazy.

So it’s doing what you think is the right thing to do. A lot of people saying, Oh, you know, don’t think it’s what we should be doing in the cops, but then actually you start to create some momentum and that’s, I think, what it felt like.

It felt like we had a kind of, a nucleus of people that actually truly believed in it. And it did actually also relate to the service that we were delivering really, because we talked a lot about the people who’ve been through sort of adverse childhood experiences and who ended up, being our customers. and actually saying, prevention is better than cure. So what are the conditions that would stop, these young people ending up in terrible places, doing terrible things and ruining their lives and other people’s as well?

So there was a kind of synergy in the service, delivering the people that we were working with and arresting, putting in jail, and protecting as victims and dealing with as victims as well as actually, some of that same psychology, mentality, perspective, whatever it is actually being really good for the people that are delivering this.

And I think it started prior to all the austerity and the reduction in numbers, etc, etc. But as that started to kick in, you were looking into the eyes of the boys and girls that were going out on the streets thinking, you’re really under pressure here. There’s, there’s fewer of you than there ever was. It feels like there’s less support at times from out there. You’re more likely to be criticized.  As that develops mobile phones being stuffed in your face, et cetera. So actually you’re under an awful lot of pressure doing the job you’re doing.

How do we support you to do it and go home at the end of the day, safe, happy, able to have a productive family life, a home life, whatever that means for you.

[00:10:17] Martin: if people out there looking to start a well being program is get on a hill start dancing is that? Do that first? [Laughs]

[00:10:23] Tim: There are worse things you could do, I think. There are worse things you could do, but yeah, it’s believing what you’re doing, believing why you’re doing it, sticking with it, and find a few people that believe the same way. And then, you know, you can,start a movement, yeah.

[00:10:37] JP: Tim, what was the sort of uptake that you got from the guys and girls on the ground, when you started pushing Oscar Kilo out? Did you find that people were buying into it, seeing the benefits, or was there a bit of an inertia, sort of resistance to the idea?

[00:10:50] Tim: Yeah, I guess pretty mixed bag really. There were some that were, absolutely this is what we’ve been crying out for. There were others that are thinking it’s all a load of nonsense. Why are you wasting your time with that? It’s a charter for lazy people who don’t want to work hard and, they just want to be pampered all the time and not go out there and fight the good fight or whatever it was. So that whole mix of perspectives, beliefs, resistance. 

If, you’re really serious about improving and quality, you make it really easy for people to complain. We looked at, an online forum, kind of ‘ask the boss’ thing, if you will. And some of those can get terrible because they’re anonymous and then people just become their worst selves and just criticizing everybody. But we introduced a kind of variation of that where you could be protected, by not having to give your identity.

But you used a third party ambassador who could ask you a difficult question of the bosses for you. that was running for a good few years where people actually saw that the boss is responding and giving answers that actually think, Oh, okay, that’s fair enough. I might not like the decision or the outcome, but actually I can see the process that you’re working through.

So it’s that whole,perspective of, the bosses, the organization does care.  I can see why the organization’s worked it out that way. So yeah, mixed old bag. Some people loved it. Some people didn’t. 

[00:12:10] JP: Yeah I can certainly relate to that. So what sort of interventions were you trying out? What worked and what didn’t? And did you sort of end up when you rolled it out nationally?

[00:12:18] Tim: Yeah, I mean, all police forces pretty much had occupational health services, the way UK policing is every force is completely independent, whoever the chief constable is, it’s down to her or him, how much they invest in that, how much they believe in that. And there were one or two other forces. Hertfordshire was fairly progressive in that. And they brought over, some American kind of philosophy, which was based on and built on the amount of police officers that were committing suicide with their own service weapons. So we, connected into that.

But as I say, the starting point was trying to introduce a line management support structure that was more about, being supportive. We came up with a mantra it was ‘Know yourself, know your stuff and know your staff.’ So what pushes your buttons? What makes you react as an individual, as a leader? Be a credible leader, in all that means, but know your people as well.

So, you know if Tim’s coming into work and Tim’s a bouncy bubbly guy, but seems a bit quiet, hopefully a supervisor or hopefully a team are just saying, You alright mate, you’re a bit quiet?

And that could be the opening for, ‘well actually no, because.’ And then when you get to the because you can then start to look at well, okay, what have we got available for it? And we introduced a system of wellbeing ambassadors as well, so not professionals, we gave them some training they were enabled to be that sort of first filter, first line of support that could then refer them on. 

Subsequently, we built up, those sort of occupational health services, counseling services, and all that kind of traditional stuff at a greater scale. yeah, it was, it was pretty progressive at the time.

[00:13:53] Martin: When you talk about that self awareness and being aware of the people around you that you’re working with, do you feel that’s something that can be trained or is it something that people are selected to do? I find that self awareness comes quite hard to some people.

In your experience, is that trainable? Or do we need to find the right people who have that dispositional, emotional, interpersonal intelligence?

Tim:  Yeah. good question. It’s probably a bit of both. You can sit on the fence, it’s fine.

[00:14:25] I think the leadership training that the police was sort of, pushing going back before that was very much about emotional intelligence and developing emotional intelligence. and I think, that has an impact. I think if that is, constantly worked into your training courses, the conversations, et cetera, it’s like everything, the more you become aware of something, the more you can shape yourself to be that something, if that’s the something that you want to be.

So I think it can be developed, but some people, certainly by the time they joined an organization, have developed it further than others, I think.

[00:14:57] JP: Tim, do you think that those sort of ideas and that development of self-awareness can be brought over to the tactical, technical training side of things so that the development of those tactics, techniques and procedures, but then developing those cognitive capabilities, but then translating that into obviously the tasks which have to be done, outside the training environment. Do you see that sort of transference across?

[00:15:20] Tim: Yeah, I do see that transference because I think if you train in something, it becomes the reflex, it becomes natural. that’s what training is all about, isn’t it?

Making it feel normal. Putting you out of your comfort zone in the first place, but then actually making that your comfort zone after some time. So I think it can be transferable. going back to that early conversation about firearms and really being put under pressure in the moment.

That of course can be fleeting if it’s a one off or a once in a, year or a couple of years thing. But if, it’s all around you, you become more aware of it and hopefully then you become better, in the day to day, in the everyday, and you’re actually better able to deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life because nobody operates without anything going on in the life, do they? We’ve all got stuff going on all the time.

[00:16:04] JP: On the other side, so if an individual sort of in a command role, and let’s say they’re in command centre and an incident’s going down and there’s also numerous inputs coming in, do you find that these sort of skills develop their ability to take that condor moment to be able to step back and interpret that input and then make reasoned decision and not be sort of overwhelmed by all that input?

[00:16:25] Tim: Yeah, I think so. going back to my role as a CT commander that role came out of the back of the tragic shooting of John Charles Amenazes in London and the training was very much around that high end critical risk, competing factors, information under pressure and making a call.

I was the CT commander appointed the night of the Manchester arena attack. devastating attack. Lots and lots of injured people, as we now know, lots of people tragically murdered.

But, you know,who was this guy? This was a massively devastating bomb. Where was it built? Who built it with him? Is this the first of many? is this a wave of attacks? As you described in the question, you know, there’s an awful lot going on.

There’s a massive amount of risk. The country was at its highest state of alert. I’ve been on the phone to senior politicians, the military were there, the world was looking at you, and there were a couple of moments, one in particular where it was that Condor moment for me, there was a call from the room and it was like, boss over to you kind of thing.And of course, individually you deal with these things in a slightly different way. I think I’ve always had a reputation of being really sort of calm and laid back and of course I might sometimes present that, but then, you know, there’s loads of stuff going from my head.

And I know that in those kinds of moments, I go even quieter, and almost sink back into myself. and try and process all of that information but ultimately in those kinds of situations, I think you rely on your core values and what you’re there to do.

And that’s, gotta be drilled into you. That’s going to be trained into you, but it’s also going to be a part of you, I think. but it goes back to if the organization sets its people up to act that way, to be that way from the beginning, it’s repeated, it’s expected, it’s trained, it’s addressed when it doesn’t happen that way.

it’s more likely to go right in those moments of criticality 

[00:18:21] Martin: in those, high stress environments that you just described then, those situations where the pressure’s on and you’ve got that process, you’ve got your training. What about the other times, when you’re not in those high stress situations?

 What did you used to do to optimize your well being and performance to enable you to perform when it really mattered? Did you have any strategies or did you have any habits and lifestyle tips and tricks that used to keep you on top form?

[00:18:50] Tim:  I’ve played the drums from the age of 14. I call it noisy mindfulness. I can sit on the drum kit for, two, three hours sweating away. headphones on, bit of music and there’s nothing else going through the head other than that, really. You come out of there feeling a lot better.

You’ve just given yourself that headspace. And I think if you can completely engross yourself in something that is distracting, whether it’s reading, knitting, whatever it is. it might be physical, it might be going to the gym, it might be going for a run. If you can just take your brain out of the here and now, you’re back into the, the normal life situation, you’re better able to cope.

And you’re the academics, you know, you’ll know this stuff better than I, but that’s worked for me. And, and you know, you’ve just got to do those things that, that work for you.

[00:19:39] Martin: I’ve heard it being called the third space. I don’t know if you’ve come across this concept before, where you’ve got, your job, your family, your home life, and then it’s called the third space, where you’re doing stuff that’s for you, that’s just something different. Like you say, the drums, it’s walking your dog, it’s being in nature, it’s reading, whatever it is. I hear people tell me that they’re too busy. have a third space because they work in longer hours and, they just come home and they sleep. would you respond to that statement that people don’t have time to rest and relax and reset?

[00:20:12] Tim: Yeah. I mean, being frank and brutal, that’s just not true. no matter how busy you think you are, you feel you are, and you will be busy if you’re in one of those kinds of roles. It’s not true. And actually, again, going back to mindfulness and the more traditional mindfulness meditation or whatever it is, you can do that in a moment.

You can take 10 seconds if again, you’ve practiced, you’re accustomed to doing those things and, you know, if you slow your breathing down, if you just slow everything down in your body, you’re going to be better. You’re going to make better decisions.

And actually, if you get into that routine and you believe in that routine. You can calm yourself down in a moment. I’m too busy to do anything to look after me. Well, I don’t believe it. And actually that’s not going to work for you. That’s just going to drive you deeper and deeper into the ground quicker and quicker.

And you need somebody or yourself more likely to break 

[00:21:10] JP: Sort of brings back round around to the point you made at the beginning, about developing awareness of not only others but yourself, because we can be really busy and obviously engaged, and then we have family life and all the rest of it and very quickly, then the glass fills, fills, fills, eventually top over.

But then we all know that if we take time, we go for a walk, we go to the gym, you do something totally distracting. And feel better for it. we get it our students. They say, Oh, we’re too busy to do this, too busy to do that.

And then they try and cram everything in the last minute. And then you say, well, why you just Break it into chunks, spend some time for yourself. Go and do something totally different, away from your studies. just go and be. Just be, just do something, switches you off. Then come back and tell me how you feel, how you got on.

And lo and behold, oh yeah, that worked really well. Then you look at the evidence, a very substantial body of evidence, and it just supports that point. But it’s just one of these things that people almost seem to put their head in the sand about. They know it’ll be better for them, but no, can’t do that, can’t do that.

And it just seems nuts, absolutely nuts.

[00:22:07] Tim: Yeah. 

[00:22:08] Tim: If you analyze what you actually do with your time, even though you’re so, so busy and so stressed, you’ll probably work out there actually is a bit of space to do a bit more something that’s a bit more constructive for you. you know, how much time do you spend scrolling your phones and, on social media?, gaming on an Xbox or whatever it is, so yeah, it’s just, it’s a discipline, isn’t it? It’s belief in its value, and then a discipline like everything.

Going to the gym, the hardest part is getting out the front door, isn’t it? 

[00:22:31] JP: I wonder if it’s a discipline which we’re going to have to start developing or integrating within training programs or educational programs because obviously all of us are from a generation of before we had smartphones and even mobile so we can, relate whereas obviously this generation aren’t.

And if they don’t have that discipline, if it’s their norm, it’s well how do we, how can we instil how can we train them and develop their awareness more than anything else, I think.

[00:22:54] Tim: Yeah, definitely . And, as I said right at the beginning, I’ve, just taken on the role of a CEO of a young people’s charity. and we’re just about to start building, a massive, youth facility. I mean , multiple millions, you know, 34, 000 square feet full of incredible activities for young people, supported by youth workers and it is, you know, it’s, it’s my, my hope, the lessons I’ve learned over many years, you know, the good, the bad, and the ugly in policing that, you know, some of these, procedures, tactics, beliefs, practices, whatever you want to call them, just the ways you conduct yourself in life, we can help young people sort of understand, you know, the value of doing that. And, you know, some of the lives they’re living, they’ve got a lot to deal with and giving them some coping strategies and some understanding around the benefits of those coping strategies, actually kind of what’s motivating me now in, the afterlife, as I call it. 

[00:23:46] Martin: when you go back to some of the really high stress events in your policing career that you’ve dealt with, that you’ve navigated successfully, you know, you, you’ve come through some pretty extreme things in the recent, past. what can you teach people from that? Like going back to the job that you’re doing now, this helping young people, how do you take your experiences, those really high stress environments to help other people deal with similar high stress environments?

Do you have any lessons learned that you can share? 

[00:24:15] Tim: Well, yeah. I, you know, whether I’m bold enough to say that. These are lessons learned, but I guess this is, this is what helped me cause ultimately it’s a mindset. it’s your choice. and one of the many books I’ve read along the way, Viktor Franklman’s Search for Meaning. in the concentration camps and family being, murdered around him, all the hideous atrocities that went on there. ultimately, the conclusion was that, they can take away everything from you as a human being, your identity, you become a number, your clothing, your possessions, your family, everything about it. but what they can’t take away is your attitude towards it. for me, that’s probably the biggest lesson.

I think I’ve been on call for 25 years, probably. , basically 24 seven, 365, the only time I wasn’t on call when I was out of the country on holiday. So you kind of have that phone anxiety. Where is it?

Is it next to you all the time – 24 seven. But actually I think one of the reasons that I would say I’ve survived the journey and, and, prospered in many ways was even though that was happening, I was able to kind of switch off. I didn’t have to think about it all. I would always say to everybody that I work with, you can call me whenever you can call me in the middle of the night, you can call me in the middle of the day, you can call me at weekends, it doesn’t matter, I will answer.

But what I was fairly good at doing was not thinking that somebody might call me, somebody might call me, somebody might call me. So you give yourself that head space, even though ready, but it’s being ready in a state that’s actually conducive to you. live in a decent life outside of that and making you fit for purpose when you’re back into the real, cutting edge of it day to day.

So it’s an attitude. but you have got to train that you’ve got to believe it. You’ve got to train it. You’ve and you’ve got to implement it.

[00:25:58] Martin: Is that something you strategically developed in yourself? Or is that do you feel that approach to your performance is something that came naturally to you? 

[00:26:08] Tim: Again, it’s probably a bit of both. going back on the journey that I’ve sort of described, you know, I start reading, books, and kind of thinking, well, actually that makes a bit of sense that kind of resonates with me. Martin Seligman’s Flourish, one called Radical Contentment that I read, that was a kind of bit of a game changer for me.

Just all those kind of things when you kind of start hooking into this, understanding or belief or hope, I guess. And when you start off to say, well, actually, there’s things here, there’s very learned people and lots of studies that actually describe the evidence of why these things are the right things to do.

And you become more interested in it and then you read more about it and you try it. Some of them work, some of them are a bit weird and don’t work for you or whatever. It’s very cool. The more you kind of believe it, research it, and practice it, the better you’ll get at it, I think. So, you’ve got to want to do that, of course.

 that’s the starting point. You’ve got to want to do it, and you’ve got to believe it’s going to make a difference. But, it’s all out there. You know, it’s out there for you if you, if you want to, have a go.

[00:27:07] Martin: When you were in earlier in your career, before you had these former leadership roles, did your leaders, did they create a culture of, of, development of learning? Did that facilitate you’re your growth?

[00:27:19] Tim: Yeah, yeah, I think it, I think it did. I mean, there were good ones and there were less good ones. as, as there always is. 

it was 1986 when I joined policing, and so, um, let’s just say the world wasn’t quite as advanced in its perspective behaviour necessarily, was it?

But, I think, you know, I always would, be able to identify, the leaders, that thought, well, actually they, they do care, they are trying their best to kind of support me to go and do the right things.

They’ll, you know, they’ll say, are you all right? all that kind of stuff in, what was then very roughly, tufty, macho organization, predominantly male, very few women about, but you still thought, well, actually that’s a leader. That’s a boss that cares. and you naturally sort of gravitate towards them, I guess.

And then, The other ones that you’re trying to avoid at all costs really because you just think you’re just a nightmare mate

[00:28:10] JP: Oh yes. 

[00:28:10] Martin: Yeah, I’ve had leaders like that. I think we all have. Yeah. 

[00:28:14] Tim: There was some study that I think it was durham police force did the chief constable back in the day, a guy called Mike Barton who came from Lancashire I get the best performance out of, my people for the good of, the people of Durham, et cetera.

And they went away and basically the answer was, you’ve got to believe in what you’re doing, got to have that decent, caring, credible leadership wrapped around you. And then the you’ve kind of got to be engaged, and I thought engaged back in the day was, you know, you’d read the latest magazine to see who the chief constable was shaking hands with that week or whatever it was. But it was actually that you believe in the organization’s purpose. You believe in the values that are driving that purpose.

And actually the things that you’re doing or you’re being asked to do day to day align with that. So I think certainly in policing in my view, most people want to come and do good things. You know, they want to protect vulnerable people. They want to stop harm happening. And if you’re facilitated to do that on a day to day basis, you’ll think, well, actually the organization, it’s values are in line with my values and therefore.

I can give my best and we’re all good, you know, there’ll be good days and bad days, but if you’ve been asked to do loads of unnecessary bureaucracy, there was a time when, everyone was being thrashed for sort of performance, not human performance, but reds ambers and greens.

And you were being given all these tasks to go back and visit people and get this signed and that signed. And it wasn’t about delivering quality or service or protecting people. It was about making the numbers look good. Well, then your workforce is saying, well, actually that’s, that’s not what I come to work for.

You’re just asking me to do nonsense. And that’s when their motivation ebbs away and they become, demotivated. The job doesn’t get done as well. You’re not as productive. You know, it doesn’t work for anybody.

[00:29:58] Martin: If you’ve got leaders out there who are listening to this episode, who Maybe in a similar position to where you were years ago, when you first started working with that, that one individual who came to you and needed help, and they’re thinking of rolling out some kind of initiative at the organizational level or the team or the unit level, where do they start?

What advice can you give to people as a leader to help other leaders create an environment that facilitates well being and performance?

[00:30:29] Tim: well, the first thing I would say to them is, If you’re thinking that you’re on the right path, so good on you. and it’s a matter of human nature. I mean, forget that you’re in an organization and that you’re a leader. It’s a matter of human nature that you’re treating people the right way and that should make you feel good about yourself, but actually there are so many benefits of doing that. for them and for what it is you’re collectively trying to do. So I think if you’re thinking that way, you’re on the right path. get your first follower and your second follower, get a few people around you that kind of believe with you.

And then actually, address it head on, address it head on with those people, with the doubters, actually. Get the doubters in and have a proper sit down grown up authentic conversation around why you think it’s the right thing, why you think it works, what are their concerns, why they’re worried about it.

Because I think generally if you have those proper conversations, I’ve certainly found almost without exception that everybody kind of wants a bit of because as a human being that’s what makes you feel good and And as I say, go back to, you feel good, you work better, you work better, you feel better.

And it’s that sort of positive cycle. So, yeah, build a bit of a team and momentum around you. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. I need somebody that will put it into some kind of structure. Because I kind of sit there having these random ideas all over the place, all of which are well intentioned.

If someone says can you all that down on a piece of paper? I’m like, whoa, hang on a minute, I wasn’t in for that part of the deal, you know. But build a team of different strengths and different perspectives and just have those honest conversations and you’ll find people will come up with fantastic suggestions better than yours, you know, I fundamentally believe. in the positivity in human nature, we’ve just got to go and find it.

[00:32:19] Martin: Great. I think that’s a great point to end. I think that’s a positive note to end on. what we always like to do is to give you the opportunity to, present the final, final words of the episode. Something maybe that you haven’t covered yet that you feel is important, maybe something that you want to reinforce or reiterate.

So Tim, over to you. How would you like to wrap this one up? 

[00:32:42] Tim: I think, um, It’s a privilege to lead actually. It genuinely is a privilege to lead. I’ve always thought of myself as a people person. There are very few people in that whole career that I’ve ever fallen out with as a couple, but very, very few.

So ultimately, if you’re putting yourself up for a leadership position, it’s actually your duty to do this, but more importantly, it’s just the right thing as a human being. it is a privilege to lead. You can achieve amazing things and you can achieve amazing things by working with amazing people and allowing them to be the amazing human beings that they are.

So create that space for them. Create the understanding for you. Believe that it’s possible. And just go and do it. You won’t get it right all the time, but if you don’t try, you’re never going to get it right. So, yeah, just go for it. As somebody once said,

[00:33:37] JP: awesome.

[00:33:38] Tim: yeah, 

[00:33:39] Martin: That’s great.

If people want to follow your post policing career, if they want to reach out and connect, is there a way of seeing what you’re doing next? Is there a way of connecting with you that you’re happy to share.

[00:33:51] Tim: Yeah, I am on LinkedIn. if you want to find me via LinkedIn, Tim Jacques, the chief executive officer of Preston youth zone, which is not yet a thing, but it will be in my 18 months time when it’s finished, when the building is finished, but, Yeah, I mean, I say genuinely it’s, it’s something that interests me.

I’m always happy to help support I’ve done stuff and learned stuff that, uh, you know, I’m happy to share. I wouldn’t profess I know everything. I wouldn’t necessarily profess. I know a lot, but I’ve been through a lot cause I’m quite old now.

So, I’m happy to share that. And if that helps people, that works for me as well.

[00:34:22] Martin: Fantastic. Thank you very much for your time, Tim. That’s been a great conversation. I’ve really enjoyed it. 

[00:34:29] Tim: Thanks. guys. Yeah. Great speaking to you. Cheers.

Thank you for joining us on the Optimizing Human Performance podcast, a Wavel Room production. If you’re enjoying this content, don’t forget to like and subscribe so that we can keep improving. And remember to visit wavellroom.com to find their latest articles, podcasts and newsletters. If you know someone who could benefit from our discussions, please refer them to our show. Your recommendation is our highest compliment.

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