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What do you feel is the most significant roadblock to building a team, any team. From an engine company, station crew or battalion to a special operations team such as hazardous materials or technical rescue

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Hey Scott,

I posted again to try and explain it better but will return your reply. My company found there was a need based on prior events to put together a specialized group of firefighters to be able to perform the required tasks when called upon due to the makeup of our community. We have had drownings, citizens fall down 70ft ravines at 60* grades and other insidents that would require specialized training. With all the other potentials stated in my post, waiting until the incident happens is not exceptable. Top leadership and some members of the department Spend more time trying to tear it apart instead of supporting our efforts or better, comming on board and being a part of a worthy solution to a potentially bad end. Our Desire runs deep and will continue to chip away at the roadblock and one day will enjoy the success of our hard labor and when called upon, will complete our task with PRIDE !!!

Thanks again for the reply. STAY SAFE !!

A Manager climbs the ladder of success then turns to look down upon the people he has left behind, then smiles at how well he/she has done.

A Leader climbs the ladder of success then turns to look down upon the people he has left behind, then smiles, calls to them to follow him/her up the ladder. He tells all what it has taken to get there and promises to help them along the way.

Just my 2 cents

Hey Dennis,

It is unfortunate that top individuals and members of your organization are creating roadblocks for you. It sounds like you have some strong team members in your corner though! Keep doing what you are doing for the right reasons and you will sleep good at night. Try not to sweat the small stuff or those insignificant to accomplishing the mission!

You are right, you will enjoy it more having to fight for it!

How far are you from Vincentown (South Hampton TWP) or RT 206 and the Red Lion Circle?

Hey John,

How are you? I like the ladder analogy very much. The analogy reinforces that often times managers that are poor leaders are "I" people. Strong leaders can manage and are "WE" people.

Hey Scott,

We are about 1 hr from the RT 206 area, Lawrenceville , RIDER Collage. We are the northern most town in Monmout County Bordering Old Bridge Middlesex County.

After much discussion there is no revelation here; the most prevalent answers seem to be leadership, communication, trust, buy-in and the unknown. All great points!
Strong leaders in emergency services must have thick skin. that is, these leaders must be able to separate business from personal. for example, a good leader knows the strengths and weaknesses of their team. This includes the demeanor/attitude/morale of their members. If moral is low this must be dealt with immediately. find out why morale is low. This is where communication comes in.

In order to find out what is wrong we must be ready to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly. Communication should be transparent, that is, if you make a mistake..Everyone makes mistakes; the measure of a good leader is their ability to evaluate their mistakes and learn from them. Frequent communication is also very important. team members need to know where leadership is coming from if they are expected to be proficient. This is part of providing team members with the tools they need to be successful.

Team members will trust a leaders who isn't afraid to admit they don't have all the answers. There is certainly more to it that that but, this is a good place to start. If you encounter resistance from the team members find out why. This is the time to take a step back, reevaluate and make adjustments to your game plan. That is, i you are fighting a residential structure fire for 20 minutes and have not made any headway yet,you would reevaluate your strategy and tactics right? This is no different.

Creating an environment of 360 degree communication helps ensure members have buy in. Involve members, especially the vocal naysayers in the process of development. If these members are involved in the process they are much less likely to complain about the results.

Finally, involving the naysayers as well as the department members that don't buy into a particular team, in the training and evaluation process will help educate these people in what you are trying to accomplish and how you are trying to get there.

We all know people that will detract from what we are trying to accomplish, no matter what. If you are reading and communicating on this site you will have the fortitude to persevere and overcome these obstacles!

Thank you for your contributions to this site and this discussion.
BE SAFE...Scooter
Hey Scott,

You have summed things up very well, and I agree whole heartedly. I would like to add a couple of thoughts if you don't mind. Everyone that is in a leadership role should remember to Praise in Public and Discipline in Private. No one wants to be made center stage in front of their peers but everyone likes an at a boy...right. Obviously life threatening situations require on the spot correction so pick your battles wisely. However, and this is where I made a mistake years ago, make sure that everyone knows that a situation has been taken care of. That way they are aware that you are following through on your end. Never A** U ME that your crew is aware that things have been addressed. As many people as well as you Scott have said clear communications!

This has been a great post Scott, thanks for starting it.

Take Care

I feel that the most significant roadblock to building an effective team would be ego. Whether you have someone who just got back from the latest training and looks down at everyone who doesn't know what he just learned. Or if you have a member who has only the basic training, and has absolutely no drive to learn any more. These are both ego problems that will kill a team.
What do you do if your stuck in a station where 2 members of the company dont want to be a member of the company? They wil not participate in station events, will not put in on the grocer fund, will not eat with the rest of the company, and disappear as soon as they can? It really brings down the moral of the whole company. Where is the family? Any suggestions?

Well the first step is to talk to them. Maybe you have already tried that but it must be said. And you may need to do it more than once!

See if you can find out what's wrong...are they unhappy with the career they have chosen? If so then there is nothing that you can must move up the chain of command.

If they have issues then see if you can help either as an individual or as a "family". Sometimes, even if you don't deserve it, you must PROVE that you truly want to help and just not blow smoke. When you take this step then you better be prepared to help or you will re-enforce the problem. Think Intervention for Firefighters.

Have these guys always been this way or did something happen and they Became as they are? Is there a large age difference between your ages?

After you have exhausted all means and nothing has helped then again you unfortunately will have to move up the command ladder. Don't accept "just ignore them" for an answer if this is truly affecting everyone else.

Sorry for all the questions but unless they just don't like their job there is an answer in the right question. You just have to find the right one to ask.

Good Luck and Be Safe,

Hey John,

Thank you for your reply; you hit a major point. As leadership goes, the military was poor at this concept when I was in. It only takes one negative berating or @$$ chewing in public to tear up what may have taken years to build. I struggle with clarity and brevity with communications at times...It gives me something to work on!

Take care...BE SAFE!!!
Great point Jeff! Most of us think of the first example as the ego problem. The second example can be every bit as damaging (or more so) as the first example. Like good attitudes, bad attitudes are contagious! Firefighters are notorious for the rumor mill. If that rumor mill is flooded with negativism it can destroy an organization!

Take care...BE SAFE!!! Scott

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