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A Failure of Leadership: Lessons from the Metro Gang Strike Force

By Azra Thakur

Mary Ellison, a 2010-2011 CIL Executive Leadership Fellow, will present preliminary findings from her case study on the leadership failures of the Metro Gang Strike Force on Friday, February 18, 2011 at the Freeman Commons in the Humphrey School.

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Mary examined newspaper articles, reports from the Office of the Legislative Auditor and Metro Gang Strike Force review panel, and conducted interviews with people who worked closely with the Strike Force for her case study.

I helped Mary look at some of the local news articles that covered the Metro Gang Strike Force from its inception to its eventual disbanding. It was interesting to see the evolution in the headlines over time:

Metro Gang Unit Swears in Officers; the Governor and Other Leaders Hope the Effort Brings Down Crime--Minneapolis Star Tribune, November 11, 1997

To an editorial headline:

Serving themselves at public expense--Minneapolis Star Tribune, September 12, 2010

In the conclusion section of her case study, Mary discusses the importance of the ethical implications that leadership entails:

It is an honor and a privilege to be chosen to lead. With that honor comes a responsibility to articulate a vision, inspire, model hard work and integrity and motivate others to do their absolute best. It is incumbent upon the leaders of organizations to set a tone of openness and transparency and to be willing to exhibit the courage to address unethical behavior. It is simply insufficient to sit back and hope that others will address the difficult issues. Nothing is more important than strong, ethical leadership in ensuring the success of any effort.

I profiled Mary, along with the other Executive Leadership Fellows, for the CIL's website earlier this year. You can read about my conversation with Mary here.

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