Where’s the Cavalry?

Cavalry (“an army component mounted on horseback”) comes from the Italian word cavalleria, which may mean either “cavalry” or “chivalry.” (Merriam-webster, 2020) Just so we are clear, chivalry is the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak. (, 2020)

The police, fire, emergency responders have all been referred to as the cavalry in modern day times.  When we are anxiously awaiting help, we are praying for the cavalry to arrive.  We want help.  And let’s be honest, we are not just hoping for another person to show up.  We are hoping for a proverbial knight in shining armor who will right the wrong, level the playing field, defend honor and possibly even save our lives.

Let’s take this even further.  For those who elect to enter the role of Police Officer a/k/a public servant, they take an oath:

On my honor, I will never betray my badge, my integrity, my character or the public trust.  I will always have the courage to hold myself and others accountable for our actions.  I will always uphold the constitution, my community, and the agency I serve. (IACP, 2020)

In the workplace, the cavalry is supervision; a more experienced member of the staff that can handle an unexpected (to you) emergency because they have seen it before.  With adequate supervision, the workplace runs like a finely tuned machine.  The lack of it, and you develop cogs in the wheel.

The recent events that have unfolded in the media are, in this writer’s opinion, bringing a recurring problem into glaring view for all to see – lack of accountability.  For whatever reason, be it fear of lawsuits, lack of backbone and character, or just plain laziness, workplaces across our country are experiencing a lack of accountability.  Companies have taken the position that it is far easier (and results in far less liability) to sever ties with employees in bulk calling it a reorganization than it is to go to the trouble to hold people accountable for failure to do their jobs. 

I am unsure which phrase I like better for this: 

If you can’t take the heat – get out of the kitchen


The Peter Principal is alive and well

For those of you unfamiliar, “the Peter Principle is an observation that the tendency in most organizational hierarchies, such as that of a corporation, is for every employee to rise in the hierarchy through promotion until they reach a level of respective incompetence. (Investopedia, June 25, 2019)

Supervisors are there to oversee the work of subordinates.  That includes coaching the subordinates themselves.  Companies want to streamline everything to maximize their profit margins and, in the process, they have circumvented the efforts of knowledge sharing and mentoring.  People must jump through hoops to land an interview and subsequently a job.  But once they are in, they are turned lose and expected to manage themselves. 

On another level, people do not always find themselves in their optimum role. I personally know someone who set out and went to school to become a teacher.  After a noticeably short time of being a classroom, they ran to the private sector stating, “I always thought I would like it – but it was not for me.”  There is no shame in realizing that you have tried something that you simply were not suited for, or just didn’t enjoy. So you make a change.  But many land a job and hang on because their dislike of the job does not exceed their dislike of looking for a job and that is all the reason they need.  That may be their reason, but it is not a “good” reason. 

I hold the supervisors of Officer Chauvin accountable for this most unfortunate incident.  They failed, despite 18 warning signs, to act and place Officer Chauvin in an alternate role removing him from public interaction.  They allowed him to manage himself.  This is the result!

Supervisors, much like Police Officers, should have an oath when they accept their position to coach and mentor those who report to them (and any others they are able to assist).  They are the role models of the organization and should act the part.  A promotion is not as much a pat on the back as it is an assignment.  Ask yourself, “Do I want to be known as the cavalry, or just the back end of a horse?”


References:, retrieved from the world wide web on May 31, 2020 from

International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), 2020, retrieved from the world wide web on May 31, 2020 from, retrieved on the world wide web on May 31, 2020 from, retrieved from the world wide web on May 31, 2020 from

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