Casting a Line of Leadership

He’s alone on the river, his phone and his cares a shoreline away. The mechanical dings and alerts of emails and texts have been replaced with water rippling across rocks and the gentle breezes sweeping through the valley. Raymond Bailey, Chief Operating Officer of Share911, finds solace in the wilderness, casting his fishing line and hoping for a bite. “Being in nature and being around water is calming,” he says. “I have to disconnect for several hours and be mindful of what’s in front of me.”

Bailey has served in a law enforcement capacity since he was seventeen years old, totaling thirty-three years in service to the community before his retirement. When asked if he could do anything for rest of his life, fly fishing was his quick reply. A friend introduced him to the sport over two decades ago to help get him out of “cop mode” and disengage and relax.

It is easy to see Bailey doesn’t do anything halfway—from his love for fishing to the time he dedicates to educating others through Share911. His passion for meaningful leadership is evident in his voice when he reminisces on his experience. His approach has been influenced and shaped by those who mentored him along the way during his years in the Air Force and his career as a police officer.

He highlights the importance of trusting employees to do the job and do it well. According to Bailey, it is essential to bring projects forward and let the team run with it using the wealth of knowledge and experience they bring to the table. It is even more impactful when employees present their own concerns and provide actionable solutions.

In addition to trusting others, Bailey says it is critical for leaders to tap into the diversity within their team to transfer their passions into action. Understanding each person as an individual is the place to start. Determining what employees need to grow and providing them the right resources can maximize success. “The secret is to be a good coach, ask the employee open-ended questions, have them put together a plan, and provide necessary feedback. Leaders would be surprised if they’d let their people develop.”

After retiring from law enforcement, Bailey found a revived purpose through the development of the Share911 app, which allows workplaces to collaborate with the information and resources they need to stay safe. The benefit for Bailey is threefold. He serves as a liaison for other law enforcement agencies, which provides an opportunity for him to stay engaged with the culture. The tool has been implemented in large exercises where he has witnessed its effectiveness in practice. Finally, he has traveled the country teaching others, inspiring groups to take the lead in promoting safety and sharing his stories.

As he does out on the river, Bailey channels his breadth of expertise into a singular focus as a mentor. “Everyone shows up to work wanting to do a good job. Leaders have to give them the environment to succeed.”

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