Want to be a respected fire service leader some day? Start now.
Be a leader in front of others. Not an a**. Not a complainer. Not someone who sits out of things they disagree with or think they know already.
A leader has to practice leadership throughout their career. Take advantage of the extra education and training that comes along - and yes there is a difference. Even if this is the fifth time you've conducted the same drill in the last three years, it doesn't mean the rest of the team has. It doesn't mean that your crew doesn't need 100% of your attention to make sense of it for the youngest or newest member of your crew.
A leader realizes that every member takes away something of value every time they do the right thing, every time they practice, and every time they have a success because of it.
A leader comes up with solutions that increase performance, professionalism, and develop the ability of the crew to answer the last situation they saw and adapt to the next one, which will never be the exactly like the last.
A leader works to inspire new members to do the right things to make their own careers and experiences better.
A leader doesn't wait for the next promotional exam to start preparing.
A leader doesn't always do what’s popular, but knows how to navigate challenges, and convince others to do the right thing, even when those people are their boss.
A leader isn't only a leader to their subordinates.
A leader doesn't allow her or his people to take the easy way to the next level of anything, realizing the value of the journey and the work experience.
A leader works to maintain the professionalism of the organization, and the well-being of its members, even during times when questions are going through their own head as to what is right. Leadership will often be painful and bring disdain and sleepless nights. Some people won’t see things from the same perspective. Learn theirs. Respect theirs. Do what is best, if it means making a temporary enemy or a heartfelt apology. Hope they understand but don’t count on it.
A leader maintains their own level of training, ensuring their team's abilities are shouldered on their own.
Want to be a fire service leader some day? Start now.