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How do you handle a leader that ruins morale, department budget, training, and refuses to listen to constructive criticism?

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mutiny! make em walk the plank..........ARGGGGGGGGGGGG.
Sorry couldn't resist. are you paid or volunteer? Is he appointed or elected? That info will help with the response.
Hi Ben!

One thing that I have found with morale is that how much effort you put into it is how much you get out of it. You set your own morale for you the guys and the firehouse. Turn what some think are negatives into positives! Find that positive spin some how some way. You never know, it could always be worse! If guys are sitting around the table complaining about how things are step in and with a positive out look. BE the one that turns the talk into positives!!!!!!! Remember it is YOUR firehouse for the day you are on duty! KEEP THE HEAD UP take steps forward! It is easy to complain but hard to make it right! I hope this helps ,please let me know if you need anything!

Your friend, Todd McKee
We are a combination department. There is the Chief with two Asst. Chiefs and 25 volunteers. The three chiefs are full time each working a 24/48, and the volunteers are called in when the run comes in. The chief positions are filled upon the results of a promotional exam and given to the high score. I'm not trying to put down leaders of my department just trying to find some words of wisdom out there to help these leaders become even better in their position.

Shawn Tibbitts said:
mutiny! make em walk the plank..........ARGGGGGGGGGGGG.
Sorry couldn't resist. are you paid or volunteer? Is he appointed or elected? That info will help with the response.
You have to stay positive and encourage everyone to stay positive. It wont last forever and change will come if cool heads stay cool. Do constructive things like training, building familiarization and crew/shift details to keep your "good" guys together and with a common goal which should be to do the best you can and to get better each day. To do that, doesn't matter what happens at the top. Create your own morale, get creative with training and drills, and have fun with the people you work with. It will show in the end and that change will happen.

Best of luck.
The one thing I can tell you about leadership is it has absolutely nothing to do with rank. If you are suggesting you have an officer who is a poor leader, than it is your responsibility to teach them how to lead. Morale is not something that is ruined. Morale is something that is neglected and everyone's responsibility. One of my mentors always said "I am your Captain because the Chief made me, I am your leader because you let me." An officer can not be a leader without a following.
Get politically active and get people in place that will get you a new Chief. I am from Topeka, Kansas Fire Department. See www.cjonline.com. We were unfortunate to get a Chief (Howard Giles) from outside the Department that was horrible. Our union had a no confidence vote on the Fire Chief. And it took 2 long and hard years to get him out. We were called winers and all sort of things trying to point out the problems of our so called leader. We replaced some old council members and two weeks ago he resigned. Good luck and stay safe.

Remember Fire Chiefs come and go but firemen are forever!
Promote him to Chief
Kevin Nowicki said:
The one thing I can tell you about leadership is it has absolutely nothing to do with rank. If you are suggesting you have an officer who is a poor leader, than it is your responsibility to teach them how to lead. Morale is not something that is ruined. Morale is something that is neglected and everyone's responsibility. One of my mentors always said "I am your Captain because the Chief made me, I am your leader because you let me." An officer can not be a leader without a following.

well put. This just became one of my favorite quotes
Unfortunately there are times when there are no other options other except to put up with it or leave. Trying to change some people, and/or organizations is like running head on into a wall over and over.....eventually you realize that the wall will not go away and your head starts to hurt. I belonged to a volunteer company where morale was low....rules were either not enforced or enforced unfairly depending on "who" you are. Basically, leadership was there in title only and even though a lot of people wanted to wear the white hat, they either didn't want the responsibility, or would not accept the responsibility that goes with the position. After a year of frustration, I realized that I could not change the organization, so I resigned and my headache went away.
You have to believe that no one person is responsible for the success or failure of an organization, particularly in the fire service. If one person can make or break an organization, you have a very weak organization to begin with. Unfortunately, like many others, I have experienced periods of time within my career where my department has suffered through poor to no leadership from the top. It is at those times when the others in leadership positions; deputy chiefs, company officers and/or senior people, have to step up and move the department forward. It is too easy to fall in with the group of people who do nothing more than bemoan the lack of leadership at the top, yet do little to nothing to help move the organization forward. Remember, you can become part of the solution or become part of the problem. Look around you, the ones that are complaining the most are accomplishing the least. Watch the quiet ones, the ones who are coming to work everyday and doing their jobs, there you will find your leaders. It isn't easy to keep your head up and remain positive during these times but it is far from impossible. Certainly, it is during these times when new true leaders are born and discovered.
I am new to joining in on these type of discussions but want to say that I have enjoyed the responses by everyone so far. It seems that it is all about your own attitude that you bring to the table. Sometimes it can get frustrating and it seems that your actions go unappreciated and the morale keeps declining. However, you can only control your own little world, be positive and hope that it carries over to others. I have always subscribed to the phrase " you can not demand respect, it has to be earned" The good leaders I have worked for and strive to be, are the ones that you respect because of their actions, not their position. Great topic, that is without a doubt affecting departments all over the country.
Hey Ben, like the brothers have said you've got to keep your head up. That being said I know exactly what you are going through. We are a combo dept with 1 chief, 1 D/C, 12 fulltime FFs, and around 35-40 pocs. We have had some very rough years here recently. These guys are right it won't last forever but it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel right now. I don't know your exact situation but I will tell you what we have done around here lately. After years of being beaten down, treated like kids and personal vendetta style management we have finally come together as one united group and put our big boy pants on to let the district and the chief know we are tired of the way things have been run. (This just recently happened so we dont know what the total fallout will be). This was met, as everything has been, with anger from the uppers. But I think we have shown by uniting the union and the poc association together, that we are serious in turning this dept around. This has been a real boost to morale in the firehouses. Only time will tell if this is going to work or if they are going to go back to their same old ways and at the end of the day in all reality it is their dept to run. I agree with Blake from Topeka sometimes you may have to get political but hopefully that is your last reort. Good luck and Stay safe.

Erbe

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