Leadership and Stress: Correctional Officers Training [2023]

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Course Author(s)

Wayne South - Corrections/Police Officer

Course Summary

Module 1: Leadership
Most people do not realize, nor do they want to know, what an average day for a correctional officer looks like.  Many of the future employees are young, are used to an electronic world, and will often quit within a few weeks of being exposed to inmates.  Good leadership can help get  new employees to buy into the agency, see the value of their work, and turn them into long-term employees.

Leadership is about two main things – influencing and motivating.  But the way in which one leads makes all the difference. 

This course is intended as a very brief introduction to leadership and is designed to get you thinking about your leadership style.  Leadership will be defined and different styles of leadership and where they get their basis of power will be discussed.  Then, the difference between good and bad leadership will be shown.  

The topics of followers and their critical role in your leadership and what motivates people and how we, as leaders, can identify those motivators in our officers are addressed.

Finally, the discussion moves to self-reflection and self-improvement. True leaders can “look in the mirror” and say, maybe the challenge I am having is internal …… and only then can you change the way you lead. 

This course provides basic leadership “tools” to put in your leadership toolbox.

Leadership is always important, but it is critical to recruitment and retention of young men and women as corrections officers.     Leadership is one of the most critical and rewarding positions at any agency as you can influence behavior in a positive manner and groom future leaders.

Module 2: Stress and Resiliency

The constant threat of violence, staffing issues, and the need to always be in a state of high awareness for long periods of time can be exhausting both mentally and physically.  As a correctional officer, whenever you are on duty, you will be required to remain in a state of hypervigilance and with that comes stress.   
Over time, unmanaged stress will have a significant impact on your body.  Unmanaged stress could lead to increased health risks, memory issues, anxiety, depression just to mention a few.  

We have all experienced stress.  Most of us were able to counter the effects and return to normal quickly.  This is short term stress.  That stress that causes your muscles to tense up and then release when the stressor is gone.  
Long term stress is when you are always tense, and/or develop frequent headaches. Long term stress that is not dealt with can lead to other more serious health issues.

In this course we will get familiar with stress, short term and long term, good stress and bad, and we will discuss the many ways to manage the stresses you will encounter in you personal and work life.

This course will also touch on Resiliency.

Resilience is our ability to recover quickly, or bounce back, from a negative experience or challenge.  Resilience can be built through an increase in your confidence level that you will get through or work around your problems, and by learning effective ways to cope.  Basically, it is our ability to withstand adversity and recover from difficult life events. Resilience is important because it gives us the emotional strength to cope with trauma, hardship, and life events.  
Individuals who are resilient have the resources, strengths, and skills to overcome these challenges and work through setbacks.  


Course Syllabus

  • Module 1 - Leadership For The Corrections Professional

    • Introduction By Wayne South
    • Course Introduction
    • Defining Leadership
    • Types of Leaders
    • Good and Bad Leaders
    • Followers
    • Motivation
    • Self-Reflection and Self-Improvement
    • Assessment
  • Module 2 - Stress and Resiliency for Corrections Officers

    • Introduction by Wayne South
    • Eustress, Emotional Stress
    • Coping, Breathing
    • Long-term Effects, Workplace Stress
    • Organizations and Administration
    • Long-term vs Short-term Stress Response
    • Understanding the Stress Response
    • Anxiety
    • How to Effectively Manage Stress
    • Setting Goals and Living Well
    • How to Meditate, Resilience
    • Conclusion
    • Assessment