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Many great leaders in the fire service have had a particular tactic or skill that they used to generate the positive and effective results within their organization that made it such a great place to work. Think of a great boss that you have worked for, a lieutenant, captain, chief ,training officer or other fire service leader, and describe the tactic, skill, routine, drill, discussion or other activity that they conducted that you thought was effective and productive and made all those involved feel energized, invigorated and motivated.

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The leaders in my career that I most admire and have had the biggest “influence” on me are those that have treated me like I was a valued member of the organization. Not only did they respect what I had to offer the team, they promoted me with the other members of the organization. They let their peers know that I was a go to guy. A man once told me that no matter what your rank in the fire service may be, being known as a “good firefighter” is the highest compliment that you can receive. When a leader views you as a valued member you work hard to never disappoint, never let the team down. It forces you to be someone that delivers the goods. You start to believe that you are a part of something that is bigger than yourself; the team becomes the most important thing. So I feel the best leadership strategy is to give the guys that follow you the skills to be a valued member of the organization and build a great team around you.
I've had a great many Bosses since 1981 and I even was a Boss to a few folks in my career and in ways I still am although less so these days then in the past.

Some of these Bosses I've had were good and some were not some good. A few were downright horrible. All taught me something about Leadership in their own ways.

The man that comes to mind first when ever I talk about leadership was a guy that was a lifelong (40 years) Fire Chief in a small VFD fireground in South Jersey.

Bob had a few habits and traits that made him a good leader over all but the one that has stuck with me all these years (I met Bob in 1983) was one that I at first thought was a silly one. Bob would thank everyone for just about everything that you did in the Station or even on the fireground. he would even say thanks you days later if he thought you might have been missed.

The power of two words said with sincerity was not lost on me even if it took me 10 plus years to realize it.

He may not go down in Fire Service history or have written any books but he was the Fire Chief in his part of the world and he certainly touched those that came to that part of the world. I'm very glad that I stumbled into that Station in 1983.

Louis N. Molino, Sr., CET
Training Program Manager, Fire & Safety Specials its, Inc.

979-412-0890 (Cell Phone)
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Fire & Safety Specialists, Inc.
540 Graham Road,
College Station, Texas 77845

"A Texan with a Jersey Attitude"

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The officers that had a positive impact on me had one thing in common, which was, they kept the main thing, the main thing. The focus was on the job. Now don't get me wrong, they weren't robots. We worked hard and played hard but those of us who worked for these men knew that our value was measured by our effort to do a good job. They were good teachers too. Though their styles were different, they still worked at making us better.

One particular tactic that one of these men employed was a strong sense of espirit de corp. According to this officer, there were two types of Firefighters, "Those that were on Ladder1 and those that wish they were." You felt priviledged to be part of his company.

He would had a lot of confidence in us. He would challenge any company willing to drill against us and we wouldn't dare let the Capt. down.


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