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 that you would like to hear other people say about you as a leader. Let these things be a motivator for your personal reinforcement or reinvention of you.
Do your actions and behaviors support the desired outcome of the perception you want people to have of you? If you want to change or reinforce peoples perceptions of you as a leader, your “goal oriented” actions and behavior must be consistent. It’s up to you to have the end game in mind – What type of leader do you want to be? What does this leadership look like, and how do you behave in order to get there? That’s the “new normal” of you that you want to establish, and in time, people will see you in that light.
Some of you are just starting out while others began their journey weeks, months, or years ago. Regardless of where you’re at on the road to leadership, its important to understand that everyone’s road is unique to him or her. Building and maintaining your road requires a solid foundation. And there’s one piece of equipment that’s necessary to strengthen your foundation and you’ll need to use it often. That required piece of equipment is a mirror. It all starts with the person in the mirror. If you don’t have an accurate reflection of who you really are, you won’t get too far.
Paul Strong is a 24-year veteran of the fire service. He is currently a shift captain at the Valley Regional Fire Authority in King County Washington and owner of 3 Sixty Training. Paul has served as a Shift Captain, Department Training Officer, Incident Safety Officer, Medical Program Specialist, Haz-Mat Technician, and Technical Rescue team member as a Rope/Dive Rescue Technician. Paul continues to present the 3 Sixty series classes at conferences, training officer’s associations, and individual fire departments. He is the Creator and Lead Instructor of RIC for REAL, The Road to Fire Service Leadership, and Fire Ground Practices - First on Scene. He has lectured at IAFC Fire Rescue International, FDIC-Indy, and Washington State Fire Training & Safety Officers Association. Paul has taught and consulted for numerous agencies and has been published in Fire Engineering Magazine. His approach to fire service education and training is effective, thought provoking, and intense. For more information, please visit www.3sixtytraining.com