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Do those we lead feel safe? Of course we should be providing for their physical safety at all times, and there is a lot of safety considerations that must be made. I am talking about emotional safety.

Do the people on your crew feel safe to make decisions? Do they feel safe to make mistakes?

I am hoping that I have instilled a feeling of safety in my crew to make decisions. Whether in routine station and public situations they should all feel that they have the ability to make decisions without consulting me for everything. They will only feel that way if I have given them the foundation to of expected and acceptable behaviors. If when they make a decision that I might not have made, I must consider the impact of their decision, and then explain what might have been a better decision. If I “blow up” what is the likelihood that they will feel safe next time? Probably not.

“Firefighter Jim” is a good member of the crew. Jim is unwilling to make autonomous decisions. Everything he wants to do, he comes to me first. He wants my approval for everything. Unless his decision will have an effect on the entire crew, I tell him to go for it. These are minor situations, that do not require my prior approval, but he still comes to me for them. I often wonder what happened in his past that has made him feel unsafe about making these decisions.

I wonder how others are instilling safety in their crew to make decisions and take actions? If the member is not willing to make those types of decisions in routine situations, how will that change in the times of crisis.

Be Safe, but most of all make your people feel safe.


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