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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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The sum perceptions of a group about you are the reality of who you are to that group. Because of many communication factors however their reality may not be the truth. You have probably experienced this on a small scale when you met someone that didn't give you a very good first impression. You thought, “ what a jack @$$”. But maybe after some off duty conversation in a different environment and on different subjects you realize that the guy isn't really like you thought. Maybe his problem is that he doesn't communicate well in a certain setting and come across as arrogant etc. Had you not engaged him outside that setting your perception would have equaled reality (the guy was a jack @$$ when perceived by you) anytime you heard his name from that day forward you would have thought “jack @$$”. When you discovered more about the individual you were able to redefine and come closer to the truth.

The complexity of this is that reality is subjective and I like most want it to be objective. “He is out of touch with reality”…according to your opinion and perception of what reality is. Truth on the other hand is objective. The truth about someone or something takes more than just an initial introduction, hear say etc… it is derived only when all the information is in. Since we rarely have all the information on anyone or anything we are always in a state of “size up” or “orientation” and function in our own reality, same as on the fire ground. Have you ever sworn you knew the layout of house after you searched it and passed on information to other crews about where, what and how something needed to be done. You then hear some conflicting radio traffic and try to help by giving the information again. After it is all over and smoke has cleared you go in to have a look and you swear that it is a different house than the one you searched. You don’t want to admit it but your reality was not the truth. It was however your perception.

Complex issue to put in a few words but I hope this makes some sense.

Scott Richardson said:
David,

Can you elaborate on the perception=reality impression a little more?
Hey David,

I am glad you elaborated on this because I was very confused in the beginning...LOL.

I believe I now understand where you are coming from and have been there done that on the search. It is amazing how different things can look once the "smoke clears", and I mean that both literally and metaphorically.

Where you and I differ is that I believe that reality and truth are very much objective, However unfortunate, most times the perceived reality and the truth can differ a great deal and are thereby subjective. Now mater how badly we want that to be incorrect...lol.

I have been guilty of the circumstances that you describe above. Myself I listened to feedback from another person before meeting someone and his shyness led me to the same perceived truth/reality about the individual. As it turned out he was sharp and very funny, but it took me longer than it should have to figure it out due to the incorrect perception of truth. My reality was only in my head and therefore not truly reality. I now try very hard not to allow that to happen.

Love the analogy of being in a constant state of size up by the way. I believe you hit the nail on the head there.

Just my two cents

John
Thanks for all of your comments and replies to mine! I have been so busy with school(finals), testing for departments, off-season softball training, and work that I haven't signed on in quite a while for, and happy holidays to all of you also.
Your words of wisdom have helped and will hopefully help me next season when I re-enter my station.

I am currently taking a coaching theory class from an amazing coach at our school that will have some interesting ideas about team building that I'll share and can't wait to learn.

Thanks for re-affirming that patience is key.This is something I struggle with in a lot of aspects in life.
As a seasonal firefighter, the morale and relations of the members of our station are stunted by the season's short-term. Over the holidays, though I ran into some of the guys I work with on the mountain (skiing) and some other places and received warm welcomes and invites to hang out, which made me feel better about my time at my station and my early exit this year to go back to school. It is funny how when you remove someone from the situation that you got your first impression from or their normal environment, you definitely gain a new understanding of them. I had no idea that one of the guys I work with had friends, much less fun. While this is harsh, meeting people outside of work (Which I think is a lot less common in this job when you are female because of boundaries and such) really helped me gain an understanding of why this person is the way he is.

I feel like I am learning how to balance all of the things in my life, firefighting, being a student, and athlete, a single woman, and a professional all at once thanks to a lot of the advice on this site. Your professionalism and level of responsibility for knowledge and actions on the job continue to impress me and make me feel better about my career decision.

Scott Richardson said:
Hey Katy,

I wanted to check in and see how you were doing? As John mentioned, you and your colleagues were brought into a very difficult situation from the beginning. First and foremost I wanted to see how safety is going both in the station and on calls. I agree wholeheartedly with John in that there is ) tolerance for safety compromise. My other questions center on the chain of command above your company officer and the command structure. I am trying to get a better idea of other ways we might be able to help you. So, here goes...
1) How is your C of C set up from the Chief of Department to Company officer (Training Chief, how many battalions, etc.)
2)How is the relationship between BC3 and BC4?
3)Do outside bureaus see the problems or are they masked from them?

I hope things are getting better for you. It sounds like the group of three that transferred into this situation are all good people with leadership ability. Not to be redundant but: There is nothing like leading by example. I know the three of you have each others backs!

BE SAFE!
Scott
It is interesting how good looks can have a reverse affect depending on gender, as far as perceptions go.
Mindy thanks for the awesome excerpt from your book which sounds like a great read.
This is a topic I try to stay away from as it is sometimes a red flag in the fire service, but as far as team building goes, and women. What do you think are some of roadblocks women should watch out for in trying to become a member of a team or build one? ( Since I am a woman, I thought you guys could lend some advice)
I kind of have a special case since my father was a lot of the guys that I work with or for were my dad's firefighters at one point, and I'm not exactly the quiet/shy type. I'm a lot like my dad, (who is well-loved and respected) but I'm not him exactly. I try hard not to come in like I have something to prove, but we all do when we enter a new work environment or team. Asking for too much help makes you look dependent while staying to yourself makes you look snobby, too assertive makes you look bitchy. Any advice on where this happy medium lies or some tricks?


Scott Richardson said:
Hey Mindy,
Thank you for the exerpt! While most of us do not share Billy's problem (good looks...LOL), I'll bet we can relate to being in several directions, mentally and physically. My wife and I have conversations about looks and perception often. We both agree, for example that if a beautiful woman walks into a room there are predicted reactions from everyone present. Most of the men will notice her looks first and not put a lot of creedence into her intelligence one way or the other. Most of the women will think she is mostly looks without much substance. Without communication no one will ever know...Perhaps those creating the impressions do not want to know. The men, in this case may not want her beautiful image ruined by her (perceived) lack of intelligence. The Women may feel she is prettier that they are and therefore want to believe they are more intelligent.

Perception and "delivery" of a messege" is a huge part of everything we do. Great thoughts Mindy, thank you!
Kathy,

One of my best Captains gained her respect by just doing a damn good job. I know that sounds extremely simplistic but that it boiled down to. She has always been dependable in every aspect of the job. She has never made excuses, she just does her job and she works her tail off to get even better.

Katy Luetke said:
It is interesting how good looks can have a reverse affect depending on gender, as far as perceptions go.
Mindy thanks for the awesome excerpt from your book which sounds like a great read.
This is a topic I try to stay away from as it is sometimes a red flag in the fire service, but as far as team building goes, and women. What do you think are some of roadblocks women should watch out for in trying to become a member of a team or build one? ( Since I am a woman, I thought you guys could lend some advice)
I kind of have a special case since my father was a lot of the guys that I work with or for were my dad's firefighters at one point, and I'm not exactly the quiet/shy type. I'm a lot like my dad, (who is well-loved and respected) but I'm not him exactly. I try hard not to come in like I have something to prove, but we all do when we enter a new work environment or team. Asking for too much help makes you look dependent while staying to yourself makes you look snobby, too assertive makes you look bitchy. Any advice on where this happy medium lies or some tricks?


Scott Richardson said:
Hey Mindy,
Thank you for the exerpt! While most of us do not share Billy's problem (good looks...LOL), I'll bet we can relate to being in several directions, mentally and physically. My wife and I have conversations about looks and perception often. We both agree, for example that if a beautiful woman walks into a room there are predicted reactions from everyone present. Most of the men will notice her looks first and not put a lot of creedence into her intelligence one way or the other. Most of the women will think she is mostly looks without much substance. Without communication no one will ever know...Perhaps those creating the impressions do not want to know. The men, in this case may not want her beautiful image ruined by her (perceived) lack of intelligence. The Women may feel she is prettier that they are and therefore want to believe they are more intelligent.

Perception and "delivery" of a messege" is a huge part of everything we do. Great thoughts Mindy, thank you!
You are correct in that reality is by definition what is real, actual and is objective. In the communications example I listed I think that it is looking at reality for the communications receiver not the sender. It is reality for you at that moment but it may not be the truth. If your perception was not accurate then you’re in sort of a neutral zone until your perception changes. Not being a psychologist I may not be listing this process exactly right. I think the important light shed here is to understand is that perception is constantly changing; most people operate thinking that their perception is reality and thus is the truth. This is usually not the case and a good communicator, fire ground commander or company officer does not let perception fool them. They ask more questions, do more looking around and attempt to prove or disprove their perceptions as part of a complex never ending cycle. So lets preface the example by saying that most people operate (perception = reality and assume this = truth) thus the example is showing that it does not. I will have to dig through my notes and see who the author of that little formula is to see if there is anymore info.
John Power said:
Hey David,

I am glad you elaborated on this because I was very confused in the beginning...LOL.

I believe I now understand where you are coming from and have been there done that on the search. It is amazing how different things can look once the "smoke clears", and I mean that both literally and metaphorically.

Where you and I differ is that I believe that reality and truth are very much objective, However unfortunate, most times the perceived reality and the truth can differ a great deal and are thereby subjective. Now mater how badly we want that to be incorrect...lol.

I have been guilty of the circumstances that you describe above. Myself I listened to feedback from another person before meeting someone and his shyness led me to the same perceived truth/reality about the individual. As it turned out he was sharp and very funny, but it took me longer than it should have to figure it out due to the incorrect perception of truth. My reality was only in my head and therefore not truly reality. I now try very hard not to allow that to happen.

Love the analogy of being in a constant state of size up by the way. I believe you hit the nail on the head there.

Just my two cents

John
Hey David,

It makes sense that people's perception is their reality, otherwise they wouldn't be thinking what they are. I think the analogy of a good command or company officer not letting perception fool them is key in the communication (never ending) circle. If a leader isn't constantly evaluating their circumstances, whether on the fire ground, in the station, or at home they are likely to be put "behind the 8-ball".

Perception, like communication is a never ending process, great point!

BE SAFE!!!
Scott

David Rhodes said:
I think the important light shed here is to understand is that perception is constantly changing; most people operate thinking that their perception is reality and thus is the truth. This is usually not the case and a good communicator, fire ground commander or company officer does not let perception fool them. They ask more questions, do more looking around and attempt to prove or disprove their perceptions as part of a complex never ending cycle. So lets preface the example by saying that most people operate (perception = reality and assume this = truth) thus the example is showing that it does not. I will have to dig through my notes and see who the author of that little formula is to see if there is anymore info.
John Power said:
Hey David,

I am glad you elaborated on this because I was very confused in the beginning...LOL.

I believe I now understand where you are coming from and have been there done that on the search. It is amazing how different things can look once the "smoke clears", and I mean that both literally and metaphorically.

Where you and I differ is that I believe that reality and truth are very much objective, However unfortunate, most times the perceived reality and the truth can differ a great deal and are thereby subjective. Now mater how badly we want that to be incorrect...lol.

I have been guilty of the circumstances that you describe above. Myself I listened to feedback from another person before meeting someone and his shyness led me to the same perceived truth/reality about the individual. As it turned out he was sharp and very funny, but it took me longer than it should have to figure it out due to the incorrect perception of truth. My reality was only in my head and therefore not truly reality. I now try very hard not to allow that to happen.

Love the analogy of being in a constant state of size up by the way. I believe you hit the nail on the head there.

Just my two cents

John
Hey David,

Got it.....and I agree. Most people do indeed believe that their perception of the truth is indeed the Truth until proven otherwise. Sorry for the confusion by the way!

But first impressions are something that stay with us for a long time. Is it because of something someone said or is it your gut trying to tell you something? Perception is a tricky thing and can certainly cloud judgment. You said it best when you said you have to constantly ask questions and re-evaluate the situation, any situation.

Again...sorry for the confusion on my part,

John

David Rhodes said:
You are correct in that reality is by definition what is real, actual and is objective. In the communications example I listed I think that it is looking at reality for the communications receiver not the sender. It is reality for you at that moment but it may not be the truth. If your perception was not accurate then you’re in sort of a neutral zone until your perception changes. Not being a psychologist I may not be listing this process exactly right. I think the important light shed here is to understand is that perception is constantly changing; most people operate thinking that their perception is reality and thus is the truth. This is usually not the case and a good communicator, fire ground commander or company officer does not let perception fool them. They ask more questions, do more looking around and attempt to prove or disprove their perceptions as part of a complex never ending cycle. So lets preface the example by saying that most people operate (perception = reality and assume this = truth) thus the example is showing that it does not. I will have to dig through my notes and see who the author of that little formula is to see if there is anymore info.
John Power said:
Hey David,

I am glad you elaborated on this because I was very confused in the beginning...LOL.

I believe I now understand where you are coming from and have been there done that on the search. It is amazing how different things can look once the "smoke clears", and I mean that both literally and metaphorically.

Where you and I differ is that I believe that reality and truth are very much objective, However unfortunate, most times the perceived reality and the truth can differ a great deal and are thereby subjective. Now mater how badly we want that to be incorrect...lol.

I have been guilty of the circumstances that you describe above. Myself I listened to feedback from another person before meeting someone and his shyness led me to the same perceived truth/reality about the individual. As it turned out he was sharp and very funny, but it took me longer than it should have to figure it out due to the incorrect perception of truth. My reality was only in my head and therefore not truly reality. I now try very hard not to allow that to happen.

Love the analogy of being in a constant state of size up by the way. I believe you hit the nail on the head there.

Just my two cents

John
Notthing to be sorry about....I think we just proved the theory we were discussing.

John Power said:
Hey David,

Got it.....and I agree. Most people do indeed believe that their perception of the truth is indeed the Truth until proven otherwise. Sorry for the confusion by the way!

But first impressions are something that stay with us for a long time. Is it because of something someone said or is it your gut trying to tell you something? Perception is a tricky thing and can certainly cloud judgment. You said it best when you said you have to constantly ask questions and re-evaluate the situation, any situation.

Again...sorry for the confusion on my part,

John

David Rhodes said:
You are correct in that reality is by definition what is real, actual and is objective. In the communications example I listed I think that it is looking at reality for the communications receiver not the sender. It is reality for you at that moment but it may not be the truth. If your perception was not accurate then you’re in sort of a neutral zone until your perception changes. Not being a psychologist I may not be listing this process exactly right. I think the important light shed here is to understand is that perception is constantly changing; most people operate thinking that their perception is reality and thus is the truth. This is usually not the case and a good communicator, fire ground commander or company officer does not let perception fool them. They ask more questions, do more looking around and attempt to prove or disprove their perceptions as part of a complex never ending cycle. So lets preface the example by saying that most people operate (perception = reality and assume this = truth) thus the example is showing that it does not. I will have to dig through my notes and see who the author of that little formula is to see if there is anymore info.
John Power said:
Hey David,

I am glad you elaborated on this because I was very confused in the beginning...LOL.

I believe I now understand where you are coming from and have been there done that on the search. It is amazing how different things can look once the "smoke clears", and I mean that both literally and metaphorically.

Where you and I differ is that I believe that reality and truth are very much objective, However unfortunate, most times the perceived reality and the truth can differ a great deal and are thereby subjective. Now mater how badly we want that to be incorrect...lol.

I have been guilty of the circumstances that you describe above. Myself I listened to feedback from another person before meeting someone and his shyness led me to the same perceived truth/reality about the individual. As it turned out he was sharp and very funny, but it took me longer than it should have to figure it out due to the incorrect perception of truth. My reality was only in my head and therefore not truly reality. I now try very hard not to allow that to happen.

Love the analogy of being in a constant state of size up by the way. I believe you hit the nail on the head there.

Just my two cents

John
Ok, ....I'm starting to get.... confused about reality. I think. But this is very good, I'm learning.
My leadership triangle:
Effective supervisior (of people) + Effective manager (of resources) + Effective teacher (of the fire service) = A LEADER

Without a strong leader who walks the walk...team building will suffer!
I feel that most are right on as far as the fact that a team has to have a good leader, along with that there needs to be impowerment. The authority to make decisions with the scope of their work based on what needs to be done at a given time. I think there are a lot of "Teams" out there that work together to complete a common goal, however a lot of the time things do not have the proper outcome based simply on "I can't get hold of so-n-so, so we can't do it. The other part is if you want to be a good leader then you have to lead by example, never assign a task to a subordinate that you would not do. (There will always be exceptions) get down-n-dirty with the guys & gals you lead and they will follow you anywhere. Most of all support your team members, stand up for them and support them, in the same light let them know that unacccetable behaviour is out. As has been said before "A good team takes a long time to develope and can be destroyed by one untoward act"

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