The system of corrections plays an important role in society because it maintains public security. Correctional leaders understand the complexity of their responsibility in regard to the legal, political, and social climate of correctional institutions. The increased numbers of offenders in the diverse environment encourage them to develop effective approaches to their leadership based on the idea of management by walking around . However, many other responsibilities should be considered by the correctional managers who intend developing appropriate leadership styles. This paper aims to observe correctional manager leadership and its effects on staff and prisoners as well as the development of teams in corrections and the leadership style that suits best in developing a team.

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The Core Competencies of Correctional Manager Leadership

In prisons, the core competencies of manager leadership include the constant security and isolation of convicts, supervision, the execution of their duties, the personal safety of prisoners and staff, and so on. Therefore, a correctional manager must develop a personal plan that should consider all these points. According to the Core Competencies Project, the core competencies have been developed in relation to four typical levels of correctional leaders such as supervisors, managers, senior-level leaders, and executives. Each level has core responsibilities that embrace seven key areas such as (1) goals and objectives, (2) vision, (3) public policy, (4) the external environment, (5) financial resources, (6) human resources, and (7) public policy. However, these responsibilities may vary in accordance with a specific situation. For instance, despite the fact that executives are responsible for correctional vision, senior-level managers are usually responsible for its development.

The Best Ways to Develop a Team in Corrections

A correctional system is based on the international norms and standards, and it is grounded on the respect for human rights. Therefore, prison leaders have a practical chance to develop a team in corrections that can improve their performance. The leaders, who are able to provide change in the organization, can accomplish this task. The most respected leaders develop a team in corrections in accordance with the ethical norms that allow them to adopt prisoners behavior to these norms. The understanding of these norms allows the individuals to focus their behavior on the right actions. Moreover, the ability to act with ethical standards is extremely important in corrections because it regulates the performance of correctional officers duties, which possess special powers over prisoners. The literature reveals that in corrections, ethical norms are of the core importance because they help managers and supervisors to develop behavioral rules, and breaking these rules may create a serious danger.

The best leaders are guided by commitment, respect for others, and a strong sense of fairness. In contrast, the leaders, who manage staff and inmates by fear, will not receive their respect and trust. Leaders should possess such personal qualities as prudence, courage, and fidelity that are believed to develop psychological and moral basis to sustain judgement and adhere ones actions in accordance with these values. Obviously, holding a position of a correctional leader, managers have certain obligations and dependencies. Thus, offenders, peers, and other stakeholders rely on them for the competent and consistent actions. If they act unethically, offenders and frontline staff can experience negative consequences that may undermine the legitimacy of the correctional facility. Due to democratic rights, people in custody should be respected under any circumstances, and correctional managers should maintain this respect, protecting them from violence and multiple dangers.

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The Role of Interpersonal Relationships in Creating a Team

Interpersonal relationships mean a meaningful exchange between people who can develop a successful interaction. An effective team requires stable interpersonal relationships that encourage individuals to feel at ease with their counterparts in different situations. The establishment of an effective relationship helps the leaders manage the staff and prisoners in an efficient manner that may bring serious dividends in the future. A team is able to motivate prisoners in reaching their objections. Consequently, correctional managers should consider the core aspects of establishing interpersonal relationships such as empathy, relationship network, and social responsibility.

Many findings reveal that in order to develop a team in corrections, managers should care about prisoners and their emotional state. Developing empathy, managers and supervisors do not have to change policies rather concentrate their attention on their impact on the empathetic behavior. Empathetic managers tend to see the situation from the perspective, taking into consideration their feelings and emotions. Moreover, such a kind of managers is able to develop healthy interpersonal relations by neutralizing and holding back their own emotions.

Next, a relationship network in correctional management leadership contributes in the development of a team. Thus, the managers with strong relationship networks establish support networks that support them in different situations. As a rule, they experience fewer conflicts and feel comfortable among all types of prisoners and staff. This type of leadership presents the ability of the corresponding correctional managers to use an interpersonal network in resolving challenging issues.

The Role of Communication in the Development of a Team

Communication plays a vital role in the correctional managers leadership. Developing a team, correctional managers should rely on others, providing their major activities. Therefore, communication helps them to achieve their daily tasks. Being a two-way process, communication requires the team members to understand and respond to the message. Numerous studies indicate that correctional managers are mainly involved in the oral communication since it is more common in corrections. Communication means exchanging feelings and thoughts through listening, speaking, and writing. Authority plays a core role in communication, and the majority of inmates admit this. However, effective leaders in correctional institutions understand that communication based on respect is more efficient than the one based on resistance, assault, or defiance. Therefore, the leaders, who are prone to command with little effort, are more successful in maintaining their duties than those who adhere to the authoritative style of leadership.

What Leadership Styles may be More Effective in Correction?

Typically, a leadership styles used in corrections is based on the idea of management by walking around. However, the leadership styles depends the situation and the people involved. Many scholars assert that the traditional authoritative leadership style may be effective only in crisis situations; otherwise, it serves only to demotivate prisoners. As a rule, the majority of correctional leaders choose a commanding (or authoritative) style but it is good only in a crisis. Moreover, many critics believe it is the least effective due to its offensive character. This style is based on the leaders formal authority that denies any objections. The subordinates have no right to express their opinion, as they only must obey the orders. The authoritarian style can be used in corrections because inmates usually express low discipline and create extreme situations. However, this style often leads to the numerous types of abuse of power.

In the facilities that search for the ways of developing a team, the best choice can be the affiliative leadership style that underlines the importance of the team structure. It helps connect people in a group, creating harmony. Gladwin and McConnell believe that this approach is particularly acceptable in developing team harmony, improving communication, developing ethical norms and values. Being an effective leader in corrections is a rather difficult task because such leaders often operate in extreme situations that require strict measures that cannot be considered as affiliative. Nevertheless, only those leaders who can adopt this style in their work can create an effective team.


Correctional manager leadership is based on their responsibility to manage a specific audience and the legal, political, and social climate of correctional institutions. The modern diverse environment in correctional facilities encourages them to find more effective ways of leadership, consisting of the core competencies, ethical values, interpersonal relationships, and communication. Although the idea of management by walking around is a common thing in prisons, many other responsibilities should be considered by correctional managers, so they require developing appropriate leadership styles.

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