In the fire service in a similar way to the military we’re in a very long campaign. Obviously our enemies are vastly different but we still partake in many skirmishes and occasionally some all out battles.
Where our services are quite similar is in the need for effective leaders.
Leaders who can step up and show us the way in an ever evolving environment both on and off our respective battlefields.
Someone that people will look to and believe in and follow with confidence into our worst times.
When those battles and skirmishes occur we need leaders who have effectively established them selves and their relationships with their personnel on a daily basis.
Those in your command need to know that at your heart, you are one of them and that you remember where you came from.
You can’t hold yourself above or separate on a regular basis and then expect the unit to come together cohesively in the hard times or when your being tested.
We don’t need someone who sits in their office and barks orders they’re unwilling to undertake them selves.
We don’t need someone who’s internal need is to remind you of who they are and what their position over you is.
In order to be respected as a person first and eventually as a leader you must respect your personnel as individuals and believe in their abilities. You must be understanding and open to ideas. No matter how much you want to be, you will not always be right. In those times you need to listen and hear what those around you are saying. Often the answers will be right there.
Most importantly you need to realize that the most pivotal moment of the day are those few seconds that you look in the mirror.
If you simply look at yourself and study the brass on your uniform, you’ve already lost the day.
However, if you take that time to reaffirm your core values, challenge yourself to be better and vow to continuously work harder. If you consider the importance and responsibility that you have and realize that each day is a new personal battle to be successful, then you’re more likely to be effective in your position and your duties.
Being in a leadership position is an ongoing personal evolution. You’ll make mistakes but the key is learn from them. To hopefully step back and evaluate when things don’t go well and then make the needed changes to move forward in a more effective manner. It's something that every leader wrestles with, am I doing the best I can? There's always room to improve and grow as long as your committed, as long as your willing to push your self and get a little uncomfortable now and then. As long as you can take that look in the mirror and really see what needs to be seen, own it and work to do something about it.
Leadership is not bossing. Leadership is not about you. Leadership is not always comfortable. Leaders do not belittle. Leaders do not threaten. Leaders do not hold themselves apart or above.
Leaders are confident. Leaders are compassionate. Leaders are understanding. Leaders empower. Leaders have courage. Leaders motivate. Leaders teach. Leaders continue to learn. Leaders communicate. Leaders are collaborative. Leaders are honest. Leaders have humility. Leaders are committed. Leaders care. And if they do all of that, they inspire.
~Be as safe as you can be, but do your job.