You’ve heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” It rings true. If you want to be the best, then you need to try your best. You need to be all in. There is no ‘part way.’ There’s no quick-fix, juicing diet plan that will help catapult you to that status. It’s sweat, hours and commitment.
If you’re turning the corner, seeking to change the perception that others have of you because you have only recently ignited the passion for greatness, you will have to work even harder. People don’t easily forget who you have proven yourself to be. If you were always the first to the recliner and the last to show up at training you have a hard row to sow. But it can be done!
The problem is the time. Where can you find the time to complete all the things that are expected of you and your crew and still go above and beyond? The answer is in the little things. The first step is to work on your communication and teamwork. You don’t have to be on the training ground to build that synergy. Cook meals together, spend time getting to know about each other’s families and interests. If you truly know your brothers and sisters at the firehouse, just like you know your own family, then you will be able to start to read each other’s movements and actions on the fire ground. You will know them more fully and have more regard for them individually. Those are things that come from mutual respect and true personal connections. You can’t train that into someone. If you have trouble connecting on a personal level, this can be a prediction of whether you can connect with them on the fire ground or training ground. When you are missing a beat as a crew on your off-time, you are likely to hiccup on scene.
Find out the interests of the members of the crew and start working that into your time together. If someone really likes to play cards, then schedule that in. This will allow for time to connect on a personal level. If someone really takes pride in maintaining tools - not because it’s their job, but because they truly enjoy getting them just the way they want them - then work that in too. Set them up to be the tool expert, but not the sole owner of that information. Work on it as a crew. Learn together.
Even if you’re the lieutenant or captain, or chief for that matter, that doesn’t mean you know everything. Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses and set your crew up to teach you a thing or two. I have learned more about the job sitting around talking to others who live and love the job. Take the time to ask questions about what others would do if faced with a call that haunts the back of your mind. Take the time to learn about the day to day operations in the next city over. Set your ego aside and ask what they would do (or would have done) if they were sitting in the front, right seat.
Talk together, learn together, train together, laugh together. Be the best, together.
Photo credit: Trish Connolly - Bend, OR