The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

TCD Podcast: Sam Thiara, Ep 64, Simon Fraser University

March 21, 2022 Sam Thiara Season 3 Episode 64
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Podcast: Sam Thiara, Ep 64, Simon Fraser University
Show Notes Transcript

Sam Thiara is a leadership lecturer and leader coach affiliated with Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

Sam is a writer and blogger, with a passion to inspire and motivate others in their personal and professional development through his many adventures and reflections on life’s journey.

Since 2004, Sam began as a lecturer at the Beedie School of Business and Fraser International College at Simon Fraser University. Sam created a conversation skills workshop series to help students on their soft skills as this is vitally important to help international students transition.

In 2011, Sam delivered a TEDx talk about ‘Discovering the Extraordinary in the Ordinary.’ This led to a published book on personal storytelling and helping the reader build their story-voice.

Sam completed his master’s degree in Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter in England, a double major in Business Administration and Political Science from SFU, completed a certificate in Life Coaching from Cambridge University, a community leadership program through Leadership Vancouver, a Human Resources certificate from BCIT, and adult education certification with Vancouver Community College.

Sam consistently strives to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary and his journey is documented at His favorite saying and what he lives by: “Everyone’s life is an autobiography…make yours worth reading!” “Leave a lasting impression, not just a footprint.”

We talk about the leadership journey in policing. 


Contact us:


If you'd like to arrange for facilitated training, or consulting, or talk about steps you might take to improve your leadership and help in your quest for promotion, contact Steve at

[00:00:02.690] - Intro 

Welcome to The CopDoc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas. The CopDoc shares thoughts and ideas as he talks with leaders in policing communities, academia, and other government agencies. And now please join Dr. Steve Morreale and industry thought leaders as they share their insights and experience on The CopDoc Podcast.


[00:00:32.950] - Steve Morreale

Well, hello, everybody from Boston. This is Steve Morreale, and you're listening again to The CopDoc Podcast. Welcome to all. And we have Sam Fiera, a professor at Simon Fraser University. He's talking to us from the other coast, from the West Coast. Good morning, Sam.


[00:00:47.390] - Sam Thiara

Good morning to you. And it's a beautiful day and I look forward to being able to share with your audience today.


[00:00:52.590] - Steve Morreale

Thanks very much, ladies and gentlemen. This is a little bit different. This is not a practitioner, certainly a faculty member, but Sam is an educator, a coach, a writer, and his focus is on leadership. And he reached out to me and we talked for a while and I thought, this is perfect because what you may not know is that the title of the podcast, the subtitle, if you will, is the Cop Talk podcast, Aiming for excellence in leadership. And to me, leadership is about people. Policing is a people-oriented business. We're only as good as our own people. Whether we motivate them, whether we mentor them, whether we coach them, we communicate well with them. So let's get going. Sam, talk about your trajectory before you start. How did you get involved in this? What drew you to leadership?


[00:01:33.640] - Sam Thiara

Well, what drew me is the fact that I always say that there are five things that guide and direct me in life servant, leadership, story sharing, activator, igniter, champion, enabler, and community do gooder. Those five things are actually significant as they provide me the tools and the resources and the foundation to move forward to support and help people in their journey. And part of the reason being is when I graduated from University years ago, there really was no support and I was totally lost. And as I went through life, I shifted my perspectives. And it was an important shift because we always focus on what, in other words, what we are going to do, what we do. But when I shifted the focus to who and I started thinking about who I am, all of a sudden it became relevant to me. And I started focusing on the aspects of supporting people being there as their champion. But it incorporated this aspect of looking at things through a lens of leadership, but not from a self-guided leadership to say I'm here, but to help others in their journey to attain this concept. And I'm sure we'll talk a lot about this, about the concept of leadership.


[00:02:36.500] - Steve Morreale

What drew you to Simon Fraser and talk about that? Where is it? How big is it? What are you teaching?


[00:02:40.900] - Sam Thiara

So Simon Fraser University is located in well, we have multiple campuses, but the home campuses in Burnaby, British Columbia, which is just in the suburbs of Vancouver, that's where I went. And I did my undergrad degree and I did it in political science. Well, business and political science. I found business was practical political science. I was really interested in this subject as I went through, got my degree, went out into industry, had bumps and walked around in the darkness, couldn't find the light switch, and then had a corporate job. But I didn't feel that that corporate job fit me. And I wound up taking a career lead probably when I was around 35 years old and fortunately had a parachute packed already for this career jump. And one thing I said to myself is a lot of people struggle with this identity piece who they are, not what they're going to do. So I said, I need to go back to the University and support people in their journey and help them also realize that while grades are important equally, what you do outside of the classroom is equally important. And then I've mentored and coached three to eight people a week.


[00:03:42.600] - Sam Thiara

It's been about 5000 conversations. And eventually from student engagement, it's shifted to teaching and as an instructor or lecturer, part of what I teach, I teach organizational behavior. So there is a component of leadership. And how do people engage and interact with each other in the organization and help them to be the optimal person? But the way I describe my teaching is I'm not a researcher, I'm more of a practitioner. So the idea is I put up a concept right in week one. Myth theory, practice. Myth is what we believe the world to be from our perspectives and stories and our understandings. Social media theory is a logical explanation. And I think theory is valid and important because it says logically, this is how things should work. But I live in a world of practicality and I take that theory and I say, but how does it fit in society? Does it fit? Doesn't it fit? Many of the theories that we may talk about aren't posted on a wall in the office. So how do we expand, explore and share? And I always tell my students I want them to really focus and understand who they are because that's going to guide them to what they want to do.


[00:04:47.610] - Steve Morreale

So   as we begin to potentially apply this to policing, I spend an awful lot of time with people who would I made this statement a little while ago, and that is that so many police officers raise their right hand no matter where they are, whether it's England, Canada, Ireland, the United States, they raise their right hand to become police officers, they get sworn in and they will retire at that same level. So unto itself, police could be leaders of the community. But it is the rare person who raises their hand and say, I'm willing to step up to take on more people. So we're talking about Sergeant. If you're a Sergeant, as you will know, the next step may be a Lieutenant where you are now responsible for several sergeants, for several supervisors, and on and up. And so what can you say? What can you share with people who are either looking to move up not for personal benefit, but for organizational benefit and for the benefit of others and guiding others? What are the things they should be thinking about that have that leadership component to it?


[00:05:45.630] - Sam Thiara

I struggled with this concept of leadership quite extensively. And part of it is my Masters was in leadership. And what does all of this mean? My realization and applied to what you just indicated or just suggested is it made me realize that leadership is not a position or a place to be. Leadership is a lifestyle. And you don't determine if you're a leader. The people around you determine if you're worthy of the title. So oftentimes I think people get mixed up that if I get to this position, I'm getting more leadership or I've now attained this position or this rank, and as a result, people will follow, well, you may get compliance, but you may not get the commitment. And I think those are two distinguishing terms we need to focus on. Commitment means, I told you to do this and you will because of what we call this aspect of legitimate power, I have the rank or I have the position. And just by me saying it, you have to do it. Compliance just isn't as strong as this commitment where once you demonstrate this concept of embracing who you are as an individual and that you share this with people and they get to know who you are and that they align with you, you don't get compliance.


[00:06:51.200] - Sam Thiara

You now build this commitment that people are there to say, yes, we are on this journey, yes, we will do this. And this is one thing that I oftentimes will be mentoring and coaching people on, because they come to me saying, I want to be a leader. And I'm like, okay, so why did you come to me? And they said, well, you're a leader. And I said, great, tell me what makes me a leader? And they use these beautiful words and I said, those are very nice words, but none of them make me a leader. There's only one thing and only one thing, and that's followers. And so we need to really establish and understand that the real important part are even followers in all of this. And I think to your point as well, the concept of leadership, for anybody who gets into policing and wants to be a leader, there's a type of leadership that I think is solidly focused on policing and that's servant leadership. Servant leadership is where you roll up your sleeves. You don't care about title. You don't care about who gets credit for it. But you do it because it matters.


[00:07:46.340] - Sam Thiara

You believe in the community. You believe in the work you do. You rely and believe in your colleagues. And that's servant leadership and servant leadership, when activated in a very authentic way, lets the people around you know how much you care. And the fact that while this person really demonstrates and is worthy of this piece called Followership.


[00:08:06.930] - Steve Morreale

That's interesting because when you say followership, I think that turns people off. It doesn't turn me off. I've talked to a number of people who feel that way, but they have to be willing followers, which means you have to be able to convince them you are worthy to follow, but more importantly, that you are taking them on a journey that's of mutual benefit. When I talk to faculty members, I'll say, well, why is it you want to do this? And why are we here in the first place? We're here for students. And so if you're talking to police, why are you a police officer for the badge, for the gun, for the handcuffs, or because you care about the community? Because you want to work with the community, you want to help them, help make it safer, help make it a little bit different. And actually, if a good community policing officer, it works the neighborhood, he or she is creating followers, believers. So you have some ideas about how someone can improve their abilities and their interactions with others. Talk about that, Sam.


[00:08:58.640] - Sam Thiara

I think one of the key perspectives is actually this whole concept of perceptions. We go through life with perceptions, and our perceptions have become our truths. And think about where do these perceptions emerge from? Family, friends, your cultural identity, religion, social media, news, anything and everything is brought and fed to us and we absorb it all. And then eventually they become our perspectives. Now, here's the challenge. With perspectives, with perspectives, we see them as our truths now, and we impose our perspectives on other people if they don't align up with our perspectives and our truths as we still think of them as truths. And I think what we need to do is demonstrate and show that you are more open to other perspectives, to learn to appreciate. I do this exercise with either my class or businesses teams. And I put up a picture of the ocean and I say, okay, one word and only one word. What would you describe this picture as? And I get words like calm, deep blue, dangerous, Mermaid, sushi, Pirates, sand. And the list goes on and on. And at the end I say, okay, but which one is the correct word?


[00:10:08.490] - Sam Thiara

And they say, actually, they're all correct. Technically, they're all correct. I said, but why is it that when I come forward, either in a rank in the police or in a management role in a business, I have a perspective that I'm going to bowl and push through as the truth. And as a result, if you don't align with it, I don't think we're going to have a good journey. You have to align up with what I am going to impose here. And I say to my students or even to the businesses, but why is it that if I see the word calming, serene, and you see Pirates, mermaids, sushi, why do I need this person or do I need them? And they're like, well, yeah, because they can see things from a different perspective you may be missing. I said, exactly. So I think by being open to these perspectives and these DEA, it allows us to embrace and to learn from each other. And I think one of the most important lessons, whether you are in policing, community policing, in the office, it doesn't matter where you are, is not to just hear people. It's about listening.


[00:11:08.990] - Steve Morreale

I wrote something down because immediately and I think this is so relevant today. We've got so many people who are clawing at the police for their behavior, and then some people seem to paint police with a toxic general brush. And I'm not sure that that is realistic. It's a perspective, and it's based on prior perceptions. I understand. But Covey says seek first to understand, then be understood, which means that you have to sit down and listen. But I also think a little spin to that is if we can set our mindset to be continual learners, and that means not just learning about leadership, but learning about different people that are moving into our communities and understanding their culture and understanding what their perspective is of policing. They come from a different country. Look at you on the West Coast, and Vancouver is one city that is as diverse as I know. And yet a police officer who is Canadian and has never dealt with the Muslim religion or you name it, I think it's a great benefit to sit, break bread, understand that perspective. And to me, that's part of what you're saying. Being a better listener is, I think, a significant element of leaving in the future.


[00:12:12.600] - Sam Thiara

Oh, totally. And it also brings to the fact that years ago I was asked by the University to travel to the Middle East for work. And I just remember that my first stop was going to be Kuwait. And Kuwait is sitting right next to Iraq, which at that point in time was going through major turmoil and upheaval. And the number of people who said, you are crazy. You are going to the most dangerous place or one of the most dangerous places in the world. Are you not afraid? And I said, no, I'm going to go there. And the University wouldn't be sending me unless they didn't like me. But I said they wouldn't be sending me otherwise. And when I came back and I went to so many different places in the Middle East, in the Gulf region. And when I came back, everybody said, okay, you survived. Like, oh, my gosh, how was it? Was it dangerous? And I said, oh, my gosh, you're not going to believe how dangerous this was. And they're like, wait, what did you see? What was it like? And I said, yeah, I mean, I tried to cross the road and it was so dangerous.


[00:13:04.060] - Sam Thiara

I mean, there's no road safety. And they're like, yeah, but what about terrorism and all of that stuff? I said, oh, no, I could walk around midnight and not even worry about walking around there. It was that safe. And they're like, you mean it was just the road safety bit? I said, yeah, my friend nearly got run over. And it was also really interesting because I will tell you, Steve, there is something very dangerous about the Middle East. And the most dangerous thing is when I experienced in Bahrain after the conference, somebody I had built a friendship and a relationship with, she became a good friend of mine, said, I'm going to pick you up on Friday and take you around Bahrain to show you around. But she came and picked me up Friday. And all of a sudden on Friday morning, she said, Sam, plans have changed. And I said, no worries. I mean, if we can't do this, don't worry about it. And she goes, no, my mom says you have to come home for lunch. If you ever sit across from a Bahraini mother who's cooked a meal for you, she is going to feed you till it's no end.


[00:13:55.950] - Sam Thiara

And that's the dangerous bit. Eat slowly and appreciate the hospitality. See, Steve, that's the dangerous part.


[00:14:03.110] - Steve Morreale

That's interesting, actually. It brings me back to we have this fear and in some cases this disdain for the Middle East because we don't understand it and they have different perspectives. I was so lucky to work with a group of people who were graduate students that were in a system Middle East partnership. It was. And they came over to the United States in their job. And it was so fascinating to me, Sam. And by the way, ladies and gentlemen, we're speaking to Sam Fiera from Simon Fraser University. He is talking to us from Vancouver, from the Vancouver, British Columbia area. What I found fascinating, there were about 20 people, medical students, engineering students, male and female, Palestinians and Israelis sitting next to each other, getting along, talking with each other without the caustic relationship that we come to hear. And to me, it's historic. It's built into the elders, not necessarily in the young people. And it was so moving and motivating to actually teach leadership strands to these people. And I still keep in touch with them. And so there was no fear. It's the fear itself. What are they used to say? And I think that's the experience you have.


[00:15:07.140] - Steve Morreale

And imagine coming back and saying again, I think you were talking about perspective and perceptions. People around you on the campus were saying, oh, my God, Samuel, it's very dangerous, really. And it wasn't clearly, let's go back to leadership. Okay, so you're talking to let's say that I'm a new Sergeant, I'm a new Lieutenant. And I heard that you are a leadership coach and a mentor. What kinds of things do you talk to me about? How do you draw me into the conversation? Are you, in fact, listening before you utter your own points of view on what leadership is?


[00:15:37.290] - Sam Thiara

I think a very important part is get to know the people around you beyond just the obvious of the rank that they hold or what school they went to, how many years of service get to know them from a much more personal level of what makes them tick. Why did they become a police officer? How do they approach policing? Listen to what they have to say. I always say that there's this theory called Johari window. And I think it's a good theory because what happens is, let's say, for example, Steve, if you were my Sergeant and I've just joined the force, I come into the office. You may have some preconceived ideas, what we call self fulfilling prophecy. Somebody may have said, oh, yeah, Sam is either a really good officer or he's not a good officer. You're going to build that whole perspective based on what someone has just told you. But the Johari window basically says that when I meet you for the first time, the window is quite small. And what I know about you or you know about me and vice versa is very limited. But through feedback or disclosure, that window becomes much wider.


[00:16:38.180] - Sam Thiara

Maybe you find out that I enjoy doing woodworking and you're like, oh, no kidding. Actually, I actually have dealt with that as well. And all of a sudden there's a connection. So the idea is to open the window through disclosure and feedback, conversation. It helps to move and better appreciate and understand what people are able to contribute. I remember years ago, for example, I was in the corporate job and I wanted to get into road safety. I had no idea about road safety at that point with regards to what it entails working in the community. But a person took me under his wing. But he didn't just tell me here's what road safety is. He wanted to know why I wanted to get involved in road safety. What did it mean to me? How is this important to you? And through that, I got into road safety eventually, not right away, but eventually. But I appreciated the fact that the person actually took the time to better understand and appreciate the person. And every single person doesn't matter if they're a civilian, if they hold a rank. Everybody has a story, everybody has an autobiography.


[00:17:38.980] - Sam Thiara

And it's worth listening to so that you can understand who they are and how they fit into the bigger picture.


[00:17:44.670] - Steve Morreale

It's interesting because you talk about storytelling and that your life. I read some things about you that your life is an autobiography. And again, if you don't tell a story, if you don't feel comfortable telling a story, then somebody else won't know it. Here's an interesting thing. I say. I have the luxury and the honor of talking and facilitating with sergeants and lieutenants and captains and Chiefs to be and in talking to the sergeants the other day, they were 25 from New England. And I said to them, how do you get to know your people? And there was a little bit of hesitancy. And I said, how many of you actually get in a car and ride with them? And there was out of the 25, I think one person said that. And so I used that person as an illustration. I said, well, tell me about what happened when you first did that. Well, they thought that we had something on them that you were trying to drum out, trying to figure I had done something wrong. And I dissuaded them that that's not the reason. I just wanted to get to know what's going on, explain my expectations and understand your expectations of me.


[00:18:37.900] - Steve Morreale

And by the end of the training, so many of them said, I said, this is going to be once a week, but you have to change the culture. You have to say once in a while I'm going to get in and ride with you. Got a million excuses. What happens if I get a call on the other side of town? You'll have somebody pick you up and you'll get to the other side of town or you'll have somebody switch. Whatever, Sergeant, it's your shift. You can do that. What's your reaction to that, Sam? Because you understand what I'm suggesting is exactly what you're saying. Tell me you're out of biography without necessarily saying it in those words.


[00:19:05.880] - Sam Thiara

It's true to that point, because by getting into that car and I've done that with people as well and learning about people and then suddenly knowing more about the person and being able to then appreciate who that person is. Like I said earlier that everybody has this story to share and by listening to what they say, what's interesting is the first reaction may be either disciplinary action, and that's why they want to go for a ride and all that. Now if you create a strong communication channel, that person will okay, I know it's not disciplinary. I think it's more of just this casual conversation. And by going for a ride, it's almost like you suddenly leave everything behind you and you can just have this discussion and dialogue. It's interesting because whenever I've done that, either a coffee chat or in the car or anywhere, like just the guards come down and it's amazing what people will share with you, their fears, their hopes and dreams, the challenges that they face with family situations. But really, it's just a matter of being able to show this whole idea of empathy and compassion. Now, those are words that in some policing terms, maybe, well, that just may show weakness.


[00:20:17.070] - Sam Thiara

And I'm like, no, that actually shows tremendous strength when you can show empathy, care. And it's amazing how it breaks down barriers, but equally, it may break down, but it really builds what I call a very strong foundation.


[00:20:30.350] - Steve Morreale

Well, I think there's some generational differences out there. I'm sure that you've experienced it on campus where you have somebody who is older and has a different point of view. I'm getting up there, but I try to keep a young perspective. But again, perspective and perceptions, and my experiences are different than a 20 something. And yet I always will say in a classroom that, hey, I don't know everything. I may be Dr. Moreale, but I don't know everything. I'm still learning, and I guarantee you I'll learn from you. I said that to the Sergeant the other day, and I do. But it's when you drop that barrier down and that you're not trying to be condescending and you're trying to learn, you're facilitating conversations. I like, and there's a book that I use an awful lot of, and I'm sure you've heard of it. It's leading with questions. It's to ask people questions. So what do you think about that? And what could you have done, and how would you rate your own experience on that particular call? What could you have done differently? I think reflection is so important in leading to stand back and say, how did I do today as a leader, as a boss?


[00:21:25.370] - Steve Morreale

What did I do that I could have improved on it? I'm seeing your head shake, and the audience can't see that. But sometimes I make the point that one and done never works. Setting expectations is a big DEA, and you can't just do it once and say, I told you, I told Sam what to do, and he doesn't listen. It's an evolutionary process. But when you sit and you will talk with people and say, hey, Sam, I noticed something. I don't know what's going on, but I'm here for you. But let's talk about it tomorrow. I've got some time tomorrow. It gives you time to think rather than me coming right at you. But in terms of interpersonal skills and interpersonal communication, what do you think? What does that conjure in your mind?


[00:22:04.230] - Sam Thiara

There's a concept and an idea. It's interesting because I use it in my class, and I always tell my students, but you will never find this on a wall. And yet we as individuals do this attribution theory. So something happens and all of a sudden we look at it as an internal attribute. In other words, Sam's not motivated, and this is just his typical nature. Or it's an external attribute, meaning he's late today, but he's never been late before and this is not like him. And then we attribute it to the situation around us. And it's interesting because we do this day in and day out this attribution theory, but we never really take the time to think about am I really making this assessment and judgment in the right way, using all the factors? And we really have to think about how we take this because if, let's say I'm late for my shift three days in a row, Steve is going to come down hard on me, going like Sam. So you know what? Everyone here is on time yet. You know what? You've been late three days in a week. Instead, the conversation would be, Sam, I realized that you haven't been on time three days this last week.


[00:23:05.140] - Sam Thiara

Is there something going on that you really need to share, get off your chest? Because you know what? I understand that if something is there, maybe we need to have a conversation to help you and to help us. Let's have this conversation. Isn't that better than just saying you were late three days last week? What's going on and not having to try to fix it?


[00:23:24.090] - Steve Morreale

Well, that happens a lot in policing. You jump to conclusion, you point to the book. The guy book says you can't do it. You did do it. So I'm writing you up. It's that kind of stuff. Rather than trying to understand what the cause is, which I think is important, you've done some TEDx talks. We talked about that before you came on as you're standing in front of a group and you understand Ted talks are very short. They cut right to the chase. So with only a few minutes left, what's the message you would give to people who are looking for self-improvement, to understand the world better, to interact with others, better to help the organization grow and themselves grow and contribute? What are the things that come to mind for you?


[00:24:00.290] - Sam Thiara

Yeah, I did one TEDx speech, and it was about activating and discovering the voice within to be louder than the noise around. In other words, if you don't take the time to understand and appreciate who you are as an individual, people around you will start dictating what that's going to be. So it's more like there's this horizon that you're going to and it doesn't matter how old you are, but there's a horizon, except it's not yours. Until you find the horizon within, you can't really go to this horizon beyond. So take the time to start learning who you are as an individual. That comes out of this exercise I do is called the Five Core Elements. In other words, what are the five things that you are not willing to compromise in life and career? Not just career, but life and career. So I gave you mine at the beginning. Servant, leadership, story, sharing, activator, igniter, champion, enabler and community. Do gooder well, people are fearful because I'm making them choose five things. I said, you can change this at any time in your life. As you grow into roles and responsibilities, opportunities be willing to change it.


[00:25:01.500] - Sam Thiara

But by getting these five things now, you have a foundation. So if you want to build a house, you need a solid foundation. To build a life, you need a solid foundation. And as a result of this, you start looking at and it goes back to what you just talked about with reflection is to say, what courses did I do? What did I like and didn't like, but asking why? What about jobs that you've had or positions or ranks that you've had? What did you like about it? What did you not like about it? And what do you do in your spare time, social time? What do you like about it? Don't like about it, but always asking this question of why. The other part I want to share is this aspect of storytelling. The fact is that we are all living stories. We all have stories to share, and it's about emerging. And my first TEDx speech was about discovering that extraordinary in the ordinary. In other words, embedded in the ordinary, which is our routine, our everyday are these tremendously extraordinary experiences. I mean, it may be whereas a police officer, you've got your standard routine routes and everything, but maybe you go down another area and you come across a nice, beautiful community.


[00:26:06.210] - Sam Thiara

You never realize, well, that's extraordinary. And maybe there's somebody that you start talking to that's extraordinary. So discover the extraordinary in the ordinary. The way I do this is I use the term carpet, as in Carpe diem. But that's how I build my extraordinary out of ordinary. Carpe stands for curiosity, appreciation, reflection, perspectives, and experiences. All of those come together to help you build stories that you can then share with the people that you meet on your beat. Or it helps you to capture so that when someone is going through a difficult time, you can say, well here and then pull the story because you've remembered what it is.


[00:26:41.730] - Steve Morreale

So what's on your to do list, your personal To Do list, and then your professional to do list?


[00:26:46.520] - Sam Thiara

Actually, there's such an alignment in my life with regards to those five things I shared with you earlier. I'm working on about twelve different projects, but all twelve aligned with five out of five. And it's not a matter of they're all totally separate and different. So the speaking bit aligns with my teaching, which aligns with my book and other options and opportunities. The one that's a bit of a side piece, and I highly recommend this to your listeners as well, especially for those who are in policing. I do woodworking, and it's on the side that's my outlet. This is the part in my life that I could be sanding for two to 3 hours and don't even know where the time goes. But I'm thinking while I'm sanding and for your listeners, whether it's yoga, whether it's cooking, whether it's running in the gym, but you need to have an outlet that allows you this decompression time. And as a result of this, you'll find that you become a better person. And it's totally unrelated to anything that you do.


[00:27:42.380] - Steve Morreale

Very interesting because it talks about balance. So many people will put themselves into the one thing and not have an outlet. For me, it's travel. For me, it's playing the guitar and just kind of strumming and making noise. And you're right. When I'm there, I'm just out of that. But I'll also say I don't know if you're the same way. I always have a pad of paper near me because at me, I want to document it, put it down. I don't want to struggle you when you're showing me yours. I know I have one, too. But then it's off my mind and I can move on because I can go back to that note. And I think that's a piece of advice that we together can give to people. Always have a pad, get it off your mind and move on. Let it go. So you also indicated that you are friendly with it appears that a Vancouver police Detective or so that's working. Talk a little bit about that and how that plays into your curiosity and your understanding of what police are going through.


[00:28:29.680] - Sam Thiara

Yes, actually, I've had a lot of exposure with policing when I was in road safety.


[00:28:34.170] - Steve Morreale

I was going to say that the times you were arrested and all. I'm sorry, I'm teasing.


[00:28:38.590] - Sam Thiara

Actually, Steve, there's only one time in my life and I shouldn't say it because I know tomorrow or later on today, I've never been pulled over by a police officer except once. And when he pulled me over, he says, you were at the speed limit. You stopped at the stop sign. You did nothing wrong. But I just wanted to know, do you want to go grab a coffee? But he had to pull me over and then it was a friend of mine. Okay.


[00:29:01.750] - Steve Morreale

Yes. But I'm sure when that happened, you were very concerned.


[00:29:04.950] - Sam Thiara

Yes. Until I looked in the rear-view mirror and I saw his face and his smile, and I was like, okay, I'm very dear friends with the person up in the Vancouver Police Department. And he has impressed me to no end this person. I mean, in Vancouver, especially in the community of Surrey and Delta, we have been struggling with gang and drug violence happening. And he looked at this and he said, it's not just the enforcement piece, it's about community education and collaboration. And he created a nonprofit called Kids Play where they incorporate sport as an outlet so that kids may not get into gang or drug violence. And I have been nothing but most impressed by Cal because he's dedicated so much of his time, effort in life. A lot of his time was spent in the downtown Eastside in Vancouver, which is a very troubled neighborhood where again, you've got people with drug addictions, theft, and just the people that are it's a very difficult community, beautiful in certain parts of it. But anybody who's a beat cop there, again, they deal with a lot of these issues. But he's got that part. But he just sort of uses what he can to create the sense of community.


[00:30:11.460] - Sam Thiara

And it's been amazing to see what he's been able to do on this front because it is such a terrible tragedy in the community when you see young people, their lives being taken away, families who may or may not know that the children are involved in illicit drug activity, gang violence. So he's dedicated his life and we have many conversations. But again, I'm very impressed with this person and what he's dedicated his life towards.


[00:30:34.680] - Steve Morreale

Well, I'm grateful that you reached out that you were willing to talk about the threads that lead to leading concept of servant leadership, adaptive leadership. Think about what we all went through with COVID. We in education, certainly police and policing and what we had to do. And I'm hoping that it's getting a little bit better up there. It's certainly a little bit better down here. But look how bad it is in India. This thing called COVID has not necessarily gone away. But any parting thoughts before I sign off?


[00:31:00.360] - Sam Thiara

I think what I would like to do is just tap into what you just spoke about with regards to COVID. One thing that I've spoken at conferences about and it was a realization for me. And again, while you're woodworking and that quiet space of sanding, it came to me that there is such a need for us to care right now. And as you can tell, I'm all about acronyms, but Care stands for collaboration, adaptability, resilience, and empathy. Whether it's pre COVID, post COVID, I think care is really important. We need to collaborate. We're not in this together. We always should never be afraid to support each other. Look for support. Adaptability is the second word. And that's about this whole idea and concept that let's break the mold. Let's see what happens if we did try this or did this. We need to be adaptable and be able to pivot. Resilience is this whole idea and I appreciate this from the policing side, is the amount of resilience people show restraint? I guess you could say as well. But resilience is realizing we're not in this in 100 meters. Dash, this is not over next week.




[00:32:03.170] - Sam Thiara

It's not over next month. This is a marathon. So let's build in this resilience to know that this is a long haul and empathy. Let's show care and compassion to each other. Let's try to work together and care for each other in that regard. But I think care is a really great concept for us to apply collaboration, adaptability, resilience, and empathy.


[00:32:23.480] - Steve Morreale

Great way to end. Sam, I have to thank you for being here and for sharing your time and your energy and your thoughts and perspective. And I appreciate you being able to bring it into the policing mindset. But again, as I started by saying that leasing is about people right and leading and following and serving is all about people collaboration, all about people empathy. All of the things that you have talked about are all elements that are really very important. So from my heart to yours, from the United States up to Canada, I really appreciate the can am opportunity that we had. Thank you so much today for being here.


[00:32:58.900] - Sam Thiara

Thank you so much, Steve. I greatly enjoyed our conversation and I hope that there are Nuggets that people can take away and hopefully start saying, okay, this might be something that's worth considering.


[00:33:08.070] - Steve Morreale

Great. So again, ladies and gentlemen, talking to Sam Sierra up in Canada, Vancouver. He's a professor, he's a writer. He is a speaker. He is a mentor and is one of the gurus on leadership, which I think is important. So it's been a great addition to our podcast. Thanks for listening. This is Steve Morreale from Boston. The CopDoc Podcast. Keep listening.


[00:33:29.650] - Outro

Thanks for listening to The CopDoc Podcast with Dr. Steve Morreale. Steve is a retired law enforcement practitioner and manager turned academic and scholar from Worcester State University. Please tune into The CopDoc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.


[00:33:49.570] - Steve Morreale

Hey everybody, a few things before you leave. First, thanks for listening. I'm so gratified to see the downloads rising in the last few months. Not only from the US, but from across the globe. It's surprising and humbling to find students, colleagues, and practitioners listening. We have a growing number of listeners in Canada, Ireland, England, Northern Ireland, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, and Colombia. We appreciate your time and energy and welcome feedback. Please feel free to reach out to me by email at check out our website at Please take the time to share a podcast with your friend if you find value in the discussions. We've had so many amazing guests and more to come who have shared their wisdom, their thoughts, their viewpoints, and their innovative ideas. Most importantly, a huge thank you to those of you who show up for work in policing every day, not knowing the kinds of calls that you'll be sent on or the kinds of situations you'll find yourself in, you risk your lives for people, many of whom you don't know. And for that, we owe you a debt of gratitude, a big thanks. Hope you'll stay safe, healthy, and look forward to hearing from you.


[00:34:49.560] - Steve Morreale

I hope you'll continue to listen to upcoming episodes of The CopDoc Podcast. Thanks very much.