Are You Experiencing Leadership Drift?

Billy J. Grogan

by Billy J. Grogan, Top Cop Leadership

As a leader, it is important to stay focused on the vision, mission and values of the organization. Leaders must focus on serving their customers and/or the people served by their organizations.

Leadership drift happens when you lose sight of what is important. It happens when you take your eye off of your goal. At one time or another, leadership drift happens to all of us.

When a basketball player lines up for that 3-point jump shot, a small mistake at the release point can result in a missed shot or even a missed goal.

A small amount of drift can make a big difference in the outcome. It is important to recognize drift and to correct it as soon as you can.

Here are three signs you are experiencing leadership drift:

Lack of Enthusiasm

How do you feel when everything is going your way? If you are like me, you are full of energy and enthusiasm. You can’t wait to get out of bed and get to work.

If you are experiencing leadership drift, you lack that enthusiasm. It might be difficult to get out of bed. You might even dread going to work.

Not Interested in Receiving Feedback

Frequent feedback helps leaders stay on track as individuals and keeps the organization heading in the right direction.

When leadership drift happens, leaders become less interested in receiving feedback from others. Instead, they become set in their ways and beliefs.

Forgetting the Mission and Goals of the Organization

Leaders experience leadership drift when they begin chasing rabbits that take them further and further away from the core mission of the organization.

It is easy to get distracted by a shiny new program or initiative. Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with new programs and initiatives as long as they are in line with the mission, goals and values of the organization.


By staying laser-focused on what’s important, keeping connected to others and maintaining your enthusiasm, you can avoid the risk of leadership drift or at least mitigate its effects on you as a leader, and more importantly, on your organization.

Billy J. Grogan is the Chief of Police of the Dunwoody Police Department and a 36-year law enforcement leader, who currently writes articles for, a go-to resource for aspiring police chiefs and current police chiefs alike. He also currently serves on the Human and Civil Rights Committee of the IACP and is the Immediate Past President of the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.