Sixteen leaders in the St. Charles County Department of Corrections recently completed a new program that addresses key issues facing corrections departments in today’s environment. Leadership Academy is the first of its kind for the County department and provided its leaders with critically important training necessary in today’s world.
Department Director Dan Keen says there are very few opportunities available for leadership training in the corrections field, so the County’s Leadership Academy was developed. Topics included the importance of values, ethics, and honor in leadership; the principles of motivation; improving how leaders communicate and inspire; building alignment around a given strategy; servant leadership; and understanding what it takes to become a leader within the facility and within the community. To graduate from Leadership Academy, each participant must have successfully completed the four intensive four-hour curriculum blocks.
Keen completed the program with his staff. While he says the St. Charles County Justice Center (Jail) has not had the issues many others have experienced, he knows there are areas under his direction that can be improved. He sets high standards for the facility and its employees.
“It is impossible to run a world-class facility without exemplary leadership. In my experience, success always began with strong leadership,” he says. “This is an investment into our leadership cadre that will enhance the safety and efficiency of our operations. We will be a better and higher functioning team because of this investment.”
Classes were led by Keen and members of his staff, all experts in leadership development within highly hazardous, high-risk organizations. The program was held at the St. Charles County Justice Center and completion of assignments was mandatory.
“It was a fantastic program and immensely beneficial for our team,” says Keen. “We have made the commitment to put the tools learned into action, to hold each other accountable, and to keep the energy and momentum of the academy going.”
Keen adds that plans include developing a second Leadership Academy to further expand and build upon the first.