The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

The CopDoc Podcast Ep008 - Interview with Dr. Angela Workman-Stark Retired RCMP Chief Superintendent - Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada

February 15, 2021 Dr. Angela Workman-Stark Season 1 Episode 8
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast Ep008 - Interview with Dr. Angela Workman-Stark Retired RCMP Chief Superintendent - Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada
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The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
The CopDoc Podcast Ep008 - Interview with Dr. Angela Workman-Stark Retired RCMP Chief Superintendent - Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada
Feb 15, 2021 Season 1 Episode 8
Dr. Angela Workman-Stark

Steve Morreale from the CopDoc Podcast chats with Angela Workman-Stark, retired Chief Superintendent of the RCMP, and Associate Dean from Athabasca University.  We discuss inclusion both inside and outside of police agencies, women in police ing, treatment of staff, culture, and issues of procedural justice.  We chat about the elements of leadership, the importance of reflection and leaders listening to line workers.  

Show Notes Transcript

Steve Morreale from the CopDoc Podcast chats with Angela Workman-Stark, retired Chief Superintendent of the RCMP, and Associate Dean from Athabasca University.  We discuss inclusion both inside and outside of police agencies, women in police ing, treatment of staff, culture, and issues of procedural justice.  We chat about the elements of leadership, the importance of reflection and leaders listening to line workers.  


[00:00:00.055] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello, everybody, this is Steve Morreale and you're listening to The CopDoc Podcast, I'm coming to you from Boston. And today I'm talking to Dr. Angela Workman Stark, who is an associate dean at Athabasca University in Calgary, Canada. And we welcome her. And I would say thank you very much for being here, Angela. Please introduce yourself to the audience.

 


[00:00:18.835] - Angela Workman-Stark

Thanks very much for the invitation, Steve. I think I was like a little kid on Christmas morning this morning. Think about all the good topics that we can speak about this morning, because we've talked about a lot of them over the years, but just a little bit of background. So before I stepped into my second career as an academic, I spent a little more than twenty-four years in policing, specifically with the Mounties, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

 


[00:00:36.745] - Angela Workman-Stark

And like most officers, I started out in uniform patrol functions, did that for a few years and had a really great opportunity to move into one of our specialized functions at the time, which was called Proceeds of Crime Money Laundering Investigations. Really enjoyed that, did some great work with some great people, had an opportunity to do some undercover work as well around that time and different types of investigations, not just money laundering. And also what was I think was a key part of that point in my career as I started taking courses towards my master's of business administration degree, which really started to open my mind towards things beyond our sort of front line operations, but also around things about leadership and culture and change of strategy.

 


[00:01:13.225] - Angela Workman-Stark

So I guess you could think about in a sense of those sort of back-office type themes that was really directed at how the front office or the front-line policing services function. And then a funny story was thinking about this last night as I was doing some undercover work and I happened to be in this fortified building meeting with one of our targets and knowing that there's a very thick door between me, mean anybody getting in to something go wrong and having this conversation for a period of time.

 


[00:01:36.235] - Angela Workman-Stark

I was in there as an undercover management consultant and think of what a really neat business model this guy has in place for his operation. But that's really where my thinking started to turn to. And as I progressed through my career, that's where the focus was. Quite frankly, I thought the operational side was in great hands. We did it well. I can say that not about the Mounties, but a lot of other policing services. When things go wrong, we generally do a very good job with that.

 


[00:01:56.725] 

And where I thought my attention could be better directed was in some of these areas that I don't think we did so well. And so that was the career path I took. What brought me to academics when I started to realize that this is the focus that I wanted to be involved in. I wanted to be a part of really addressing these complex themes. I knew that I needed a bit more tools. And that's where you and I met, I think, probably about 16 years ago now when I found Walden University and started taking my PhD.

 


[00:02:20.935] - Angela Workman-Stark

But fast forward a few years and the roles I took on were really about sort of restructuring, restoring trust, leadership development type aspects, working to enhance the professional development of our officers, actually doing some instruction with our executive leadership. Kadry and Monori, final roles. And this is sort of what's the catalyst for me. Leaving policing and moving into an academic role is at one point in time. But it's almost a decade ago we had a number of women come forward quite publicly.

 


[00:02:46.735] - Angela Workman-Stark

Our police officers at the time that were sharing with media, they were sharing stories of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, even sexual assault. And I suspect that along with myself, thousands of our colleagues are really sort of captured by the narratives that were coming out a short time after that. There's a class-action lawsuit, about one hundred million dollars class-action lawsuit that was launched. And the commissioner approached me asking if I'd be willing to oversee the organization's response to those allegations.

 


[00:03:12.325] - Angela Workman-Stark

So really, look at how do we create a much more inclusive workplace, how do we address these issues? And so because I had obviously different types of experience, one thing I wanted to do was to spend time listening to these stories. So having conversations, my peers across the country to listen to the narratives that they shared about their work experiences. And I had a conversation with a young woman, and this is something that has stayed with me, will continue to stay with me.

 


[00:03:34.195] - Angela Workman-Stark

But her stories weres just so tragic that I couldn't sleep for three weeks, really. I thought about it and I would hear more stories. And it wasn't just from women of men, but also men that were suffering from post-traumatic stress, really worried about the ramifications for their career, for their relationships with their peers if they came forward. And so these are the stories that I internalized. And after a period of time, obviously, there was an impact on myself mentally for really listen, so many narratives.

 


[00:04:00.965] - Angela Workman-Stark

This is not to say that there weren't some great stories as well about the amazing men and women in the work that they did every day and continue to do that. But these are really serious and heart-wrenching stories that were shared. And at a point in time, I realized that our culture and our context at that point in time wasn't conducive to addressing these complex issues. And as you know, from your background in law enforcement, were very tactical.

 


[00:04:23.395] - Angela Workman-Stark

And we can do things tactically, and do them well. But when it comes to complex issues and you're asking questions about culture, what are those things occur? We weren't doing that. I wasn't satisfied that I could do the things that I needed to do to really help address these questions. I was a chief superintendent? I was a senior executive and I felt really frustrated with myself, the sense of guilt, a sense of duty to these people who had heard their story.

 


[00:04:47.305] - Angela Workman-Stark

So I made a decision. There was a great opportunity opening up and Athabasca University to join the faculty of business teaching in the Department of Organisational Analysis. So I made that leap to academics really like a. Focus on these questions and asking these tough questions to learn more about what are some of those internal dynamics that help create harmful experiences for men and women, which translate, quite frankly, into the relationships we have with our communities. So that's kind of a bit of a narrative.

 


[00:05:13.615] - Angela Workman-Stark

What brought me here and my focus on really good relationships with our community starts from the inside.

 


[00:05:19.405] - Steve Morreale

Very interesting. What you're saying, too, is sometimes it seems you became frustrated. So you went on a listening tour within the RCMP. But I presume that there was a little reluctance at first to talk to somebody who was in uniform and who was a chief superintendent. So that must have been a maybe not difficult, but you had to show and prove that you were willing to listen and you were not here to slap, but to listen and see if you could make some difference.

 


[00:05:44.695] - Angela Workman-Stark

Absolutely. 100 percent. And it was at a time and I mean, this is not unique to the RCMP. There certainly was a lot of there was a lack of trust between the frontline officers and leadership. So that was a factor. I was coming from Ottawa, which was national headquarters. That was another factor. So I had to find ways to connect with people either through relationship that I had previously, but had to work really hard so that they saw me as someone that they could entrust with their narrative and then I would do them no harm.

 


[00:06:09.355] - Angela Workman-Stark

And that's the approach that I took. And it really opened up. One conversation went to the next, and those conversations continued to expand over a period of several months.

 


[00:06:17.575] - Steve Morreale

So in essence, you were doing some, whether you realize it or not, some research and that, right, by asking and pulling and plugging and basically listening. My question would be, from the RCMP point of view, was that accepted? Were you able to sort of synthesizing that, those things you were finding to find common threads and common themes, to try create an opportunity for change of culture?

 


[00:06:43.345] - Angela Workman-Stark

I'd say yes and no certain of my senior leadership peers that absolutely this is something that they were they wanted to learn more about. But I think on the other side, and I think in fairness to the organization, there was so much pressure. It's the national police force. It's the Mounties right there right now, and they're known around the world. And there was so much pressure and it was like living in a bit of a fishbowl with various groups, various entities, whether they're sponsored from a parliamentary committee or what have you.

 


[00:07:08.155] - Angela Workman-Stark

We're looking at the organization. And I think, quite frankly, for the commissioner at the time, he really just wanted to move forward. And we have some action items to get them done and move forward so that we can prove that we're addressing this. We've got so many other fires to put out. And that really was right. It was much more of a tactical response, which I knew was really only going to be compliance that are sort of our approach where we would say we report back to government, say tick, we completed all these initiatives.

 


[00:07:33.205] - Angela Workman-Stark

Look, it's great. So I have to take into consideration the context. But it really was not right to dig into these really tough, challenging issues because it would mean exposing certain things about ourselves and me included, me included, from banning twenty-four plus years in the organization.

 


[00:07:48.965] - Steve Morreale

So as I'm hearing you, you wrote a book and so talk about that a little bit and what the genesis of that book was. And if it has impact or you hope it has impact in organizations nationwide, in Canada and perhaps beyond.

 


[00:08:02.695] - Steve Morreale

Yes.

 


[00:08:02.965] - Angela Workman-Stark

So it's interesting. I never even thought I'd write a book that obviously came out in the spring of twenty seventeen, and it's titled Inclusive Policing from the Inside Out. And I knew from experience to your point, when you're listening to people and you're conducting interviews, you're doing research. And I knew from those experiences and the stories that I heard, these really powerful, compelling stories that I had to share. And because when I was in my role, you know, we're struggling and you know this from your own experiences when you're reaching out, who's done that, right?

 


[00:08:28.675] - Angela Workman-Stark

Who's done this? And we all know that any type of change is really difficult, let alone cultural change. And so I would look around the different agencies, Australia, New Zealand, etc., the US, there was nothing. And so I felt compelled that at least I could put together a book that would give a bit of background to some of these things around organizational justice, which we really preach in terms of procedural justice with communities and those relationships then not so much on the inside.

 


[00:08:51.965] - Angela Workman-Stark

And so it was really putting together a bit of a background to understanding policing the culture issues around identity justice, why there's barriers to inclusion. And the second half the book was was really digging into what are some things that can be done to change that. So it was meant to be helpful to organizations? I think it has been helpful. I know I've spent quite a bit of time in Australia since I retired, working with some of the services.

 


[00:09:12.805] - Angela Workman-Stark

I know they've utilized the book. I know it's been utilized in Canada and there's certainly a lot more I would add to that now. There's a lot more I understand, since then. But that was really the genesis of that, to be honest. It was cathartic as well in terms of I'm open to my own narratives in there, how I looked at other officers probably a little bit differently because I didn't perceive them to be masculine enough. They were maybe a bit too feminine. So, I mean, I was really open and share that and issues around identity and the parts of yourself that you leave at the door when you come to work because of the pressures to be a certain way. So that's what it was about. I hope it's helped.

 


[00:09:46.105] - Steve Morreale

So you say procedural justice just to shift from the exclusivity to procedural justice in the way organizations, especially policing organizations, are hoped to interact with communities. But as much as you were talking about. Passivity inside and you say inside and out, it seems to me that there's that same issue that certainly what we're seeing in the United States with Black Lives Matter and with what just happened at our capital, that there are people who see the world through different colored glasses and the police are stuck in the middle.

 


[00:10:16.965] - Steve Morreale

And so from your point of view, let's go back to leadership. So you're sitting with a class, maybe with some executives. What are the questions that you pose to get them to think, to get them to think about how they can have an impact on their agency and the community?

 


[00:10:33.705] - Angela Workman-Stark

So some of those conversations and I have spent some time certainly with some executive teams in just having a conversation about trying to unpack some of these issues and generally start over the conversation, asking them what are they hoping to do? What are they hoping to do in terms of their organization and its mandate and its missions and how do they hope to do that? And then it's getting in the conversation. But then is what's getting in the way, what's getting in the way?

 


[00:10:54.765] 

And there's a lot of things that come up and it generally gets to we do come to this topic around. Procedural justice comes from the perspective that what I share from my experience and from the research is there's been some good research in the US and the UK that illustrates that some of those things that we're seeing happening on the outside, some of those really unfortunate events of excessive use of force, et cetera, we're seeing a correlation in many cases with how people are treated on the inside with what's happening on the outside.

 


[00:11:22.305] - Steve Morreale

So this is where some of that conversation comes about that I have with them. And it's asking these questions around what's getting in the way. And they'll talk about behaviors and disciplines and leadership challenges. At the end of the day, it really is at that sort of top executive cadre that really starts to set the direction and strategy for the organization and how they emulate leadership and the types of leadership behaviors that they value really sets the tone for the organization.

 


[00:11:46.275] - Angela Workman-Stark

So those are the really tough questions or conversations that we tend to have.

 


[00:11:50.055] - Steve Morreale

So think back to as you were climbing the ladder in the RCMP and you're a new leader. You're a woman. I would say that you'd have to explain to the audience and to me how many women make-up or are members of the RCMP. But as a woman climbing the ladder, what kinds of mistakes do you recall making as a new leader?

 


[00:12:09.555] - Angela Workman-Stark

One of you know, that's an easy one to answer, which probably shouldn't be a good response, but it is. So I just want to go back a bit. And these are things again, I didn't think about them at the time. They started to emerge later as I really I took a step back and looked at things again from the inside. I knew at an early point in my career that there weren't a lot of women around.

 


[00:12:28.035] - Angela Workman-Stark

If women made a mistake, it was really deemed to be. Well, there's an example. Women should not be allowed in policing. And so I joined in 1992 and there's a decision made in nineteen seventy-four to first let women permit women to join the RCMP and be police officers. So we're not talking at 20 years in between those two points in time. But I knew early on that if I really wanted to be successful and not be perceived as one of the others, I need to limit my interaction with women.

 


[00:12:50.085] - Angela Workman-Stark

And that's a mistake right from the get-go. I lost out on some of those really powerful friendships and connections with women. But when I stepped into later into a leadership role, I think I felt that again, I was always having to prove myself, really having to prove myself that I was competent enough. And the first mistake I made was and it was overseeing a recruitment function in central Canada, Ontario and Quebec. I was responsible for recruiting police officers.

 


[00:13:12.855] - Angela Workman-Stark

We were having a really tough time because we didn't have contracts. We don't have visibility. Ontario back in terms of being on uniforms. We're competing with all these other police services. And so I was really responsible for a restructuring. And I thought at that point time I got an MBA under my belt, I'm doing my DEA. I know what I'm talking about. And I had built some really great relationships with the people I was working with. But the mistake I made at that point, I was thinking that I had all the and so I determined what the new structure would look like.

 


[00:13:37.275] - Angela Workman-Stark

And I implemented this new structure and then I announced the structure to everybody. So they've been working for a period of time, a certain way well before I arrived on the scene. And that was really hard. And those first discussions I had with them to explain this is where I wanted to go, it was like I realized I had made a serious misstep. And so I had to spend a lot of time restoring that trust and then allowing them to be part of it.

 


[00:13:58.815] - Angela Workman-Stark

But it was perhaps the arrogance that's this pressure I had in myself to prove myself over and above anybody else, over and above my male colleague, that I could be successful, that I really I did. Probably the worst thing that I've always complained about is just not being able to influence change yourself. And I didn't bring the people along with me. So that was a tough lesson learned in terms of a new leader in an executive role.

 


[00:14:20.685] - Steve Morreale

So you're talking about missing the opportunity to engage and to get feedback from them that would have made perhaps a stronger decision that you would make. You did it unilaterally.

 


[00:14:30.435] - Angela Workman-Stark

Absolutely. Absolutely.

 


[00:14:31.935] - Steve Morreale

All right. And that's understandable. I think we all make those kinds of mistakes. So here's the other question. As you began to be somewhat more inclusive, sometimes when you walk into a police organization, the boss more autocratic, that's what we were used to and that we're just going to wait to be told what to do because they don't want our input so that when you walk into an organization where you're now asking for input, where no one had ever asked, how do you break those barriers down?

 


[00:14:56.505] - Steve Morreale

How do you say to people we really want? You to contribute, we really need your eyes on the ground, in other words, but you understand, so at what point in time did you have some trouble some time saying, listen, I don't want you to be this passive learning versus active learning when you're in the classroom? I want you to contribute when you're in the meeting. I want you to contribute. I just don't want you to be here to listen.

 


[00:15:17.475] - Angela Workman-Stark

When I left the RCMP, actually very quickly, I did some consulting work with some police services in central Canada. And so the benefit of sort of social media and having an online presence as people, they'll check you out. And so before I would meet with any officers, they already knew my background, my pedigree, what I did, what I thought, or I'd been a little bit vocal about sort of certain things I thought around leadership, et cetera.

 


[00:15:40.635] - Angela Workman-Stark

So that was always a good door opener. But what I found really challenging, Steve, was and it's not so much that people didn't want to talk, but their feedback was always around. Yeah, but no one will do any. We've done this before and no one will do the same old thing. You're going to listen to us. I'm going to spend an hour of my time talking to you, and that'll be great. We'll have a nice conversation, but nothing will change.

 


[00:15:59.655] - Angela Workman-Stark

And so that was the most difficult thing, because as you know, when you go into an organization, you can't control any of that. All you can do is have some great conversations, make some recommendations, and hopefully there's some action taken. That was the most difficult thing. It wasn't that people aren't willing to sit down with me. It was just the fear that nothing would change or no one would listen because of that's what they were used to in the past.

 


[00:16:18.135] - Angela Workman-Stark

That's interesting. Let's go back again about leadership because leadership is about people. Leadership, in my mind, is about relationships. Yes. And establishing relationships. And so as you're teaching, as you've learned, I'd like you to speak to what you think are some of the elements of leadership. What does it take to get involved in leading to encourage change, to engage others? What are the skills, what are the skills that come with being a good leader?

 


[00:16:43.935] - Angela Workman-Stark

I think I'll take it back to certainly my philosophy on this. And I'm not the only one is this leadership is not a position. It's a process, and it's a process of relational influence. So obviously, to be able to do that, leaders have to have the ability to create really strong collaborator's relationships with people and will be able to work laterally and not so much in a directive authority, authoritative type manner. And I think one of the most and most critical characteristics or trait of a leader is being able to listen, to understand.

 


[00:17:10.845] - Angela Workman-Stark

And from policing, as you indicated earlier, a lot of that is the expectation that leaders are the all-knowing, all-powerful type people. But that's changed and that's changed with policing and being able to listen to people, be able to provide some strategic direction based on what you've heard, to be able to set a vision and then give people the tools that they need and get out of the way that let them do their work. And that was always my philosophy.

 


[00:17:32.865] - Angela Workman-Stark

We have amazing men and women around that help set some direction, get them what they need, and for the love of God, get out of the way and not micromanage them and feel this need to be checking on them all the time. And that's a really important aspect of leadership. And I see some police leaders doing a great job and others that are there reverting back to what we've known for a long time and policing. And I don't know why I don't know why that is in terms of their expectations.

 


[00:17:56.715] - Angela Workman-Stark

But those are there some very, very basic considerations around a leadership.

 


[00:18:01.515] - Steve Morreale

What do you think are three issues policing should be focused on today?

 


[00:18:05.985] - Angela Workman-Stark

Yeah, so I think a big one and I've had some really interesting conversations around this theme lately. I think a big one is to really look deeply internally. I'm convinced of that. So the issues that I saw in the Mounties are not unique to the Mounties and they're not unique to Canada. They're not unique to Australia. These issues around in terms of how we interact with people, the behaviors that we seem to value and endorse or tolerate, we're going to find them in many place organizations.

 


[00:18:32.025] - Angela Workman-Stark

And I think that's a really key piece for police leaders to look inside and look inside at the type of leadership behaviors that you value, the type of people that you select. Do we go to the tactical group quite a bit in terms of value, that type of sort of operational experience? But I think that's critical. And I think we really have to look at in terms of how we lead, how we look at aspects of justice, that's critical.

 


[00:18:52.815] - Angela Workman-Stark

And I think we're going to continue to have these same challenges until we really start to understand that the men and women in policing deserve to have that same level of justice that they're expected to deliver with others on the outside. So it really starts, I think that's fundamental. Other issues that we're talking about in terms of aspects of use of force. And some of those are tactical. And I think those are those will become resolved. But it really starts at how do we want to interact with the men and women an organization?

 


[00:19:17.035] - Angela Workman-Stark

How do we expect them to interact with each other and what values we want them to embrace and that we promote and that we assess and that we provide feedback on a consistent basis? I think that's a key one. The other aspect of that, I think with policing. So this becomes sort of the outsider part of this is to really look at I think what I've seen from my research, the interviews that I'm doing lately, Steve, is I think the US and them has really expanded and it's really expanded.

 


[00:19:40.995] - Angela Workman-Stark

The more criticism there is against the police, the more that relationship seems to deteriorate. I think it's going to be a really key focus for policing is to really sit back and listen to some of those conversations, even if we don't like to hear what you said. But really listen to those conversations. And I also think this is not just on the police. So the third thing, it's not just on the. What I think we really have to set back as a society and say, what do we expect our police to do in 2021, I'm going for is it the same that we've done for all these years?

 


[00:20:07.965] - Angela Workman-Stark

So those kind of the big bucket of three things.

 


[00:20:10.625] - Steve Morreale

I mean, because what you're talking about is mission creep that we have taken on and is that too much? We get in trouble for walking into cases that should be moved along. The whole the funding discussion that's going on, more social work, the mental health aspect. But what you just said, and I think and this is a common theme among some of the interviews, is that we have to worry about how we treat each other and how we treat police officers in their workplace, or else they're going to mistreat people when they go outside.

 


[00:20:39.215] - Steve Morreale

And so and in so many situations, you'll find that police officers would much rather deal with people they don't know on the outside than the treachery that sometimes happens on the inside statement. 

 


[00:20:49.555] 

Yes, and so look at all the research that will say the stressors emerge from the work environment, not from the work itself. And I'm talking about the internal work environment. So there's all kinds of evidence to say that's the case. Right. And so the important focus.

 


[00:21:02.455] - Steve Morreale

Well, one of the things, too, that's coming up. And that has to do with mental health and wellness, what which we're hearing a lot of. But in terms of mental health, the mental health of our police officers and what they encounter, the stressors that the things that they see, we're called into some of the most difficult situations in life. And yet where how many times have you heard? Well, that's what you're paid to do.

 


[00:21:24.625] - Steve Morreale

So suck it up, buttercup, or whatever somebody would say. But are we at the point, how do we change the culture to say after an event happens, we really should debrief to make sure that the person who encountered that is OK to continue the work? The fear is of police. If I say I've got a problem, they're going to take my gun away. And that's a pretty difficult situation to overcome.

 


[00:21:46.795] - Angela Workman-Stark

Honestly, Steve, that's on the police leader. It really is. That is on the police leaders to make it be OK that people can come forward without repercussion. And so it's not just about taking a gun. And I remember some of the conversations that I had a number of years ago was from our tactical self, from emergency response, or you might call SWAT sort of in the US. Was that real fear?

 


[00:22:04.915] - Angela Workman-Stark

I can't tell anybody. I can't tell anybody because I'll lose this coveted job and I'll be one of those other. And so that's on leaders to really work through this this crap, if I might say that if you if you ask for help, that you're weak and you're not you're not a real man. You're not manly enough to do this type of work. That's the part I think that's really causing so much harm. And law enforcement today. I really do.

 


[00:22:26.575] - Angela Workman-Stark

But that is on the leaders to really start to change that culture, start to be the ones themselves to come forward. I struggled. I'm struggling. They need to set the examples and really make it OK that people can come forward without feeling that they're going to face repercussions career-wise or just in the relationships with the people that they work with.

 


[00:22:43.675] - Steve Morreale

One of the things that I heard you say, there were two words that you've used. And I think reflection and listening in my mind are two things that we don't get at the opportunity to do enough. But how important is it for the leaders to take the time to step back and reflect and to learn how to listen? What's your take?

 


[00:22:59.005] - Angela Workman-Stark

I can't emphasize that, I can't emphasize enough. There's one person I think you have an opportunity to speak to, Andrew Colvin as a former commissioner of Australian Federal Police. And when they went through similar challenge to the Mounties in 2016, it really came out the same type of story. One of the things I loved, what they did is they had people who had these really negative, horrific experiences in the organization, share their stories with the senior executives.

 


[00:23:21.175] - Angela Workman-Stark

So they made it a point.  And it was not to judge. It was not to this was not an investigation. We were not validating. We're just going to listen to your story to understand your experience is powerful, absolutely powerful thing that he did. And I know from talking to some of those deputy commissioners, et cetera, afterwards, they were very emotional about it. They didn't write for various reasons. They didn't understand it. So I think it's a really critical point to have those types of opportunities to listen, to hear that the narrative, some people in terms of how they experience the workplace and to reflect on that, what it means for individuals as leaders and their leadership roles and what they need to do differently to change those experiences.

 


[00:23:56.845] - Steve Morreale

So while you were at the RCMP, I remember towards the end of the career, you were doing some traveling and one place was to Australia. Where else did you go where you were collecting information and trying to understand what one unit was doing that you may be able to bring back to use with the RCMP?

 


[00:24:11.905] - Angela Workman-Stark

So, my work took me through to Israel. I spent time in Israel as well, which is interesting place there. Just some of the some of the relationships they had in place there, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, just looking at some things. Northern Ireland had a really good opportunity. Spend some time in Northern Ireland in terms of learning how they're going about different types of change. So it wasn't necessarily the same themes, but it was the leadership of models around that, the transformational models around that, and in some cases look to private sector as well and really understanding.

 


[00:24:42.055] - Angela Workman-Stark

So, their approaches and processes they had taken. And so I spent some time down the US, down in Florida, et cetera. But I mean, a lot of it was I mean and certainly in the UK talking to other police services, it was. But again, at the time, as I indicated, Steve, is reaching out. I couldn't find a playbook. I couldn't find a playbook to help us work. Through that, and that was the most frustrating thing, is not having the answers and your people, because the people are looking up to the senior people in the organization saying, but you need to solve this.

 


[00:25:07.965] - Angela Workman-Stark

And quite frankly, why would we have the why would we place our train to focus on some of these complex issues? Great tactician, great in setting in place some strategies. But I think that was a really frustrating point. I couldn't find I couldn't find the pieces that I that I really wanted to focus on and help us do what we needed to do.

 


[00:25:23.385] - Steve Morreale

So you just said that at times you would go outside into the private sector and try to gain some information and input on how they addressed some of the issues. That said, what are you reading?

 


[00:25:33.405] - Steve Morreale

Where do you find where do you find ideas? What do you do reading police, police, literature or business literature or a combination of both?

 


[00:25:41.115] - Angela Workman-Stark

I read everything a lot in policing, but again, sometimes we get stuck in our own environment too much and sit back and reflect enough to look at policing business philosophy. I listen to podcasts watch Ted talks. I just Iike to listen and learn about the different perspectives that people hold across very multidisciplinary type areas. I think it's really helpful. I listen to people I don't even agree with just to understand how they're thinking about. And I think that's a really critical really need to do that and not to have sort of these polar opposites, but just to listen so anything.

 


[00:26:14.445] - Angela Workman-Stark

And listening to some of your reading from your stuff, Steve, and watching what you do and reading what you do when you spend some time over in Ireland yourself. And I think you're still there. But it's just, you know, I just I'd like to learn from the experiences of people because I think that's really helpful just to sort of top off our toolbox, if you will, and the things that we can do to continue to assist this.

 


[00:26:32.545] - Steve Morreale

Well, you're a lifelong learner, and I think you have curiosity. And I think I think those who can be good leaders have to be in a constant state of learning and willingness to learn. And in my mind, what's on your to do list? What something you haven't been able to get do, but it's on your to do list. Are you looking at it?

 


[00:26:50.625] - Angela Workman-Stark

I have. You know, it's funny and I don't want to point it happened, but something happened. I think I was thrown into a time machine and thrown back. I would have baked or something. But I have this incredible curiosity to ask questions about different types of things. And so a lot of my to do list are about research projects. So it's not about any great trips or something. It is about research projects. And to really delve into for one of them, just very briefly, as I'm looking into the sort of the aspect of dirty work and stigmatized occupations and how policing falls into that realm, I'm looking at why people might resist diversity and organization.

 


[00:27:25.875] - Steve Morreale

What are some of those contextual factors that either amplify that or might moderate it? So it's really around different types of research project. I want to have some great collaborations in place with police organizations and similar constructed organizations with similar cultures, like it's a long list of things that are I think there's an infinite list of questions to be answered just to continue to think about how can policing be a contributor to sustainable societies over time. And I know I think those are some of my questions that I really want to explore and hopefully get to a good chunk of them before I'm done doing what I'm doing.

 


[00:27:56.685] - Steve Morreale

If you had a chance to talk to somebody either alive or dead, who would you want to pick their brain? Somebody with notoriety, somebody famous or somebody who has been influential?

 


[00:28:07.065] - Angela Workman-Stark

There's two people that come to mind and one is Colin Powell. I think I'm pronouncing correctly Colin Powell. And I remember only because I had an opportunity do some security work when he visited Canada with George Bush back in 2013, I think. And a lot of the material that was coming about around his thoughts around leadership. And I think it's somebody I would just that because of his experiences, his perspectives, I would like to sort of sit down with him and the other person who's obviously deceased.

 


[00:28:32.265] - Angela Workman-Stark

I would love to have had a conversation with Nelson Mandela just in terms of just from the perspective of resilience and purpose and mission and belief. I would be fascinated so certain that the second person in a perfect world, that's great.

 


[00:28:44.745] 

That's unusual, imagine being put in jail for as long as he was and to come out and to be such a leader and have faith and together in forgiveness is the big one.

 


[00:28:55.095] - Steve Morreale

What podcast do you listen to? You said you are listening to some what are the what are focused on what draws your attention.

 


[00:29:01.215] - Angela Workman-Stark

So interesting enough, I like to listen to controversial people and so some of them work, so say Jordan Peterson, for instance. And so here's someone. Right. That's quite vilified. And it's not that I agree with things that he says. If there's a certain and I discussed my stepson, he's 25. He's a paramedic down in Ottawa. He's kind of a little bit more conservative values. But he's I like to listen to things that he's talking about.

 


[00:29:23.955] - Angela Workman-Stark

So he'll listen to and I think what's his other thing? Rogan Camera's off top of my head, Joe Rogan, Rogan. And so some of those things, hardcase interests of people that might be again, might be a bit controversial. But I'm curious I'm curious to what people of my stepson's generation are thinking and thinking. And so I just want to listen to the other perspective, because it's interesting instead of I'm fearful, Steve, I'm probably not the only one that we've started to shut down voices that we don't agree with.

 


[00:29:50.415] - Angela Workman-Stark

And whether that's left or right, which I really hate that we're saying not now, but I think we're we're really shutting down voices and we just should be opening to listening because the more we. Into different types of voices with the intellect that we have, we can sort of filter through that through them and make some like some sort of some judgments about what we hear and what that means. So I'm leaning to a little bit more to that.

 


[00:30:11.095] - Steve Morreale

Is that helping in your teaching? Obviously, you've got some non-traditional students, meaning they're not they're not the 20 year olds of 18, 20 year olds that you're teaching. But are you seeing that in your classes?

 


[00:30:22.255] - Angela Workman-Stark

One of the courses that I have, actually, which is it comes from all my work and it's called Managing Diversity for Organizational Sustainability. And in that class, what I again, this is all virtual online. So people are distributed, but I really promote that. This is a space for respect, listening, understanding. We value all perspectives. And I'm really careful that even some of the some of some of the really, I think, negative commentary around if you're white privileged male, I don't let that become a part of the conversations.

 


[00:30:50.695] - Angela Workman-Stark

And so I look at that. Everybody should come from a place of curiosity. See, you're in this course because you want to learn something to better understand some of these complex, really sensitive issues. So I promote that this has to be a space where we're learning to different points of view. And I bring that in and we talk about some of these people that Jordan Peterson, for instance, in terms of his take on some of these issues around diversity and pronouns, et cetera, we talk about individuals like that.

 


[00:31:16.015] - Angela Workman-Stark

They have the space to say what they say. And so I really promote that. We have to be open and welcoming to other points of view, even if we just despise what the person says. Because if we shut that down, I don't think we grow to the extent that we need to do so. So that's why I do it right. If I'm going to tell people to be listening to things they don't agree, I make a point of listening to understand people on the other side of the table for me to say really just to consider where they're coming from, the idea of almost like interest-based negotiation around the issue, if you will.

 


[00:31:44.035] - Steve Morreale

Well, and that that's going to be important in policing because you have to know who you're policing and when you're walking into a different community that you don't know, sitting and listening could be first of all, it's not the first thing police do, but it is an element of what they should do.

 


[00:31:56.155] - Steve Morreale

Let's close by asking you this question. I like to work in groups of three's. You can do two, three, four. What are your personal values?

 


[00:32:02.815] - Steve Morreale

What do you hold true?

 


[00:32:04.015] - Angela Workman-Stark

So, one, it's people and think, how is that a value? But if the people I value people, people and their best interests and being a part of helping people grow, etc.. So that's a really important value to people. I really invest in people. It's why I love leadership roles, why I do what I do now. I think I value integrity. It's critical, right. And when we start to sort of move from that path, I think that's really detrimental.

 


[00:32:27.245] - Angela Workman-Stark

So those are those are people integrity and trust. I think those are the big one for me and front and center, because without those all the other values that that are important, I want to be really prevalent and prominent as they should be. So people front and center, people front and center and again around those core values of trust and integrity, I would say terrific.

 


[00:32:45.385] - Steve Morreale

Well, we have to shut down. Close down. I want to thank you. Thank you very much for joining me, Angela. I appreciate it. It's great to see how successful you've become and the voice that you have and keep plugging, that's for sure. I want to thank you very much.

 


[00:32:57.925] - Angela Workman-Stark

Thank you very much, Steve. And just before we sign off, you are a big part of that. If you recall, though, you are part of shaping my journey. And I thank you for that and thank you for the invitation this morning.

 


[00:33:06.205] - Steve Morreale

It's my pleasure. So this is Steve Morreale and you've been listening to The CopDoc Podcast. And I am happy to say farewell. And thank Dr. Angela Workman Stark from Athabasca University in Calgary. Thank you very much. Have a good night.