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The Front-Line Leader: Building a High-Performance Organization from the Ground Up by Chris Van Gorder

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Chapter TwoGet Outside Yourself

On October 17, 1978, when I was working as a street cop in Monterey Park, California, I responded to a domestic dispute, which can be one of the most dangerous calls an officer receives. A distraught woman had seized her infant child from her estranged husband, barricaded herself in her car, and refused to give the child back. The woman warned her husband not to call the police, claiming she would “ram” any police car that showed up.

Spotting the woman and her husband, I stepped out of my patrol car and approached. The woman, seeing a second police car pull up, fled the scene, her crying baby strapped in a car seat. I ran back to my vehicle and ordered the other officer to pursue the woman. Jamming my car into ...

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