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Paul Strong's Blog (15)

Who says you’re a leader?

Are you a self-proclaimed leader? This doesn’t work (sorry to all the self proclaimed leaders out there). Sure, you can think your leader material, but if you’re the only one who thinks this way then you’re in for a big surprise.

So you’ve taken a few leadership classes, you attended conferences and heard experienced fire service members speak on the various topics surrounding leadership, and maybe even read some books written by experts. Are you now a leader? You may want to…


Added by Paul Strong on August 7, 2015 at 11:45am — No Comments

Promoting Harmony in your department

What happens when firefighters don’t have information? They make it up!  I don’t have to tell you this; you already know. Sometimes it’s no big deal, but other times it can be detrimental to your department in many ways.

As members of the fire service we put our heart and sole into our work and our passion.  It’s only normal to feel that you want your efforts reciprocated in some form of respect. The type respect that gets us motivated to continue doing what we do is when the people…


Added by Paul Strong on January 19, 2015 at 11:00pm — No Comments

Don't allow rookie entitlement in your fire service

For those of us who have been around this business for a while, it can be easy at times to look at the rookies and wonder why they don't do it like the way we did when we were coming up. This, being a very broad statement, is nothing new to the old guys thinking they do it better than the young guys (at least in their minds) for each generation that comes through. Technical rescues, an EMS patient, or attacking fires can be accomplished in a multitude of ways and still yield the same…


Added by Paul Strong on December 29, 2014 at 2:28am — No Comments

The Company Officer Balancing Act

Company officers (CO) have many responsibilities. Aside from the emergency scenes, they have nothing less than a balancing act going on in the fire station (or should have).  Our business is all about people, including our own people that we serve internally. We take care of each other like the family that we are. But are CO’s taking care of the needs of their firefighters as best as they can? Sometimes not. The CO is getting the work of the organization done through the firefighters. Most…


Added by Paul Strong on July 21, 2014 at 12:35am — No Comments

Virtual training creating virtual firefighters

The word change has probably created more anxiety than any other word in the fire service. Regardless of the reason for change, we should always evaluate it to see if the desired outcome took place. Take computer training for example. With the infiltration of computers into our training world, have we yielded better firefighters as a result? In some areas, yes and in other areas, no. It's time to evaluate the change that computers have created in your training.

Strategy and…


Added by Paul Strong on June 20, 2014 at 11:07am — No Comments

Passionate Visionaries

Although you’re not born a leader, everyone is born with, at least, one essential quality that’s necessary to becoming a leader.  That quality is Vision. Kids are visionaries; they don’t ask “why?” they ask “why not?” Kids push the limits and try new things because they’re not bound by life experiences telling them “it won’t work, you can’t do that or it’s not possible.” As adults, many people lose this essential quality because they’ve experienced things such as consequences, rejection,…


Added by Paul Strong on June 7, 2014 at 12:15am — No Comments

Living your life as a leader

People aren’t born leaders. Just as well, you can’t read a book and take some classes and then call yourself a leader just because you have a certificate in your hand. Leadership is so many things. It encompasses a set of skills that are learned, developed, and maintained through practice and practical application.  As leaders, everything we do and the choices that we make all have some kind of an effect or influence on others.  As a leader, you have a great responsibility to the people…


Added by Paul Strong on May 21, 2014 at 6:39pm — No Comments

What does your behavior say about you?

What would you like people to say about you when you’re not in the room? In particular, what would you like them to say about you as a leader? Pretend you’re a fly on the wall and you get to listen in on real conversations taking place about you.  These conversations are between firefighters at a station you haven’t visited in a while, or maybe from your peers that you work with every day, or possibly your friends and family at a summertime get-together. Take a moment to write down 3 things…


Added by Paul Strong on May 9, 2014 at 5:49pm — No Comments

The Power of Networking

One of the great things about the fire service is that we are large in numbers. When you meet someone who is also a firefighter, there's an instant bond and conversation can easily flow. Regardless of how different your departments may be, you still have a lot in common with that person.

I have been fortunate enough to attend FDIC the last 2 years and experience the massive opportunities to talk with other firefighters and do some networking. The classes are great at FDIC, but a lot…


Added by Paul Strong on April 11, 2014 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Trust is everything

It doesn't matter if you're a volunteer, paid, or part-time firefighter. In this business trust is everything. Without a strong foundation of trust, we will surely miss opportunities to be successful at every level of the organization.

Opportunity number 1 - Do your citizens trust that you know how to do your job, provide great customer service, and will be responsible with their tax dollars.  Building this type of trust in your community is a non-stop effort. Every time you…


Added by Paul Strong on March 25, 2014 at 12:31am — No Comments

Company Officer 101

As a company officer, one of the earliest things to accomplish with each individual firefighter on your crew is to have a one-on-one meeting and ensure they fully understand what your expectations are.  After this is accomplished, you sit down with the entire crew and discuss the goals and vision and invite them to weigh in on what the team can do to meet those objectives.  Getting their buy in, listening to their thoughts and ideas, and allowing them to be a part of the team direction is a…


Added by Paul Strong on March 7, 2014 at 1:02am — No Comments

A better mouse trap

One constant in the fire service is there is never a shortage of people who have a better way to build a mousetrap.  Without this naturally occurring firefighter forward-thinking mentality, we would certainly see a fire service that is less capable, less safe, and just plain less than it is.  Because emergencies can be approached and executed from many different angles, our training and preparation can also be approached in many ways.  We see this all the time. You can talk tactics with the…


Added by Paul Strong on February 25, 2014 at 12:11pm — 1 Comment


Leadership is about your character. Character is one of the ingredients that make up your personality.  Your actions, your attitude, and your behavior define your character. These are simple but powerful words (actions, attitude, behavior).  If you need to simplify this even more, focus on your attitude.  You may not be able to help it if you’re having a bad day or if you don’t like doing a particular thing, but changing your attitude changes everything.


Personality vs.…


Added by Paul Strong on February 11, 2014 at 2:01am — No Comments

How do you RIT?

Better yet, how do you train and prepare for RIT?  It's a good idea to take a close look at your RIT training and see how closely related it is to your Search & Rescue training (for civilians).  If your RIT training isn't too much different, then it’s time to get real.  Here's an example; On Monday your crew does a search & rescue drill. One of the firefighters finds a spot in the station to lay down and waits to be found. The crew goes in on a right or left wall search with their…


Added by Paul Strong on February 4, 2014 at 3:25pm — No Comments

Life is a Leadership Laboratory

By Paul Strong


If a lab was studying a person to determine their leadership abilities and they wanted you to be the researcher on this project, who would you pick as your subject to be studied? I know you can think of many people in history who were successful leaders, i.e. Patton, Martin Luther King Jr., or Gandhi.  But those people shouldn’t be the first choice for you. If you’re studying leadership with a goal to learn as much as you can about this topic, then start…


Added by Paul Strong on January 28, 2014 at 10:31am — No Comments

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