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So I figured we started off with something that seems to be a hot topic no matter where you are at or what rank you are in the fire service.

And that's morale. Whose responsibility is it?

If you ask the guys on the floor they're going to tell you it's, it's admin. Right?

If you asked the administrative chiefs they're going to tell you its a personal choice and that's up to the individuals on the floor.

Well I'm here to tell you they're both right. It's a mixture of both.

At the end of the day it's our personal choice if we're going to be happy. However, sometimes it's easier than other times. So let's talk about when it's a personal choice.

Things are not always going to go the way you want them to. You need to look for the positives.  there's things I don't like that  go on at work. I'm not turning a blind eye to it. I'm just not concentrating on the negatives. I'm trying to focus on what I can actually effect as opposed to all the people that are very focused on things that are outside their wheelhouse or outside their control.

Staying positive is a personal choice. However, It easier for some people and it may be harder for others.

Think of going down a road. Maybe you went down the smooth road, didn't hit many bumps in the road, didn't have any challenges along the way. Maybe an easy career promoted every time. Didn't have difficult team members that you had to deal with and things were easy, you know, that sounds like a smooth ride, right?

Well, what about the guy that had to go off road to get to the same destination? Maybe they had to go over some mountains, some hills through the river, however you want to look at it.

Maybe they had an overbearing boss. it's a personal choice how they overcame it. But for one guy who was really easy because things weren't that hard and for other people it was hard for them to stay positive because of everything they had experience. So who wins in that situation? Think of it like a video game. Hey, we both beat the game. I beat the game on easy. You beat the game hard.

That a bit of a difference. It was a little more difficult maybe for you. So you're more resilient if that's the case. We talk about personal choices with this and maybe what you've experienced effects your decisions that you make.

Now there are also environmental factors that play into our morale. When I say environmental, I mean the atmosphere you're in at work or at home.

If that wasn't a factor then  there'd be no difference in employees when they work for different supervisors. But guess what, it's proven time and time again that the supervisor influences the crew.

One guy could be really disgruntled and angry with one supervisor, then he goes to the other one and start succeeding.

What's the difference? It is the atmosphere the other leader creates. It goes beyond that personal choice. So for environmental, think about when we catch a fire, what's happens with morale?  It is high.

One of my guys traveled out to another station, he was first in and he was on the pipe yesterday.  We haven't stopped hearing about it since.

Environmental factors can influence morale and  make employees more excited.

What about having a tyrant boss?  Will that bring morale down?

I've experienced it where I didn't enjoy going to work as much because everything was being nitpicked. 

That's going to affect you.  Wear you down.

How about if you're the boss and you've got an insubordinate employee? that's going to affect your morale. It's going to be harder to stay positive at the end of the day.

You got to understand that it is a personal choice, but for some people it's easier than others.

So it's really hard to pass judgment on it. Everyone's got a different level of resiliency.

It can be easy for some and challenging for others.  So we have to factor that in.

So I'm going to look at this as an 80/20 factor.

Eighty percent up to us no matter what happens, it's choice on us to stay positive.

Twenty percent can really be impacted by what's going on in our personal lives or at work.

Whatever it may be, ask yourself, do you have an easy road or the hard road?

if you're still positive on that hard road Bravo.  Bravo to you because you had a lot harder time than others and there's some people that give up too easily.

We all have different paths that we take. 

We should understand peoples situations and try to help the situation instead of writing people off.

So for your New Year, let's work on a little bit more empathy and not writing people off.

Just try to make the situation better because at the end of the day, a good leader asks themself, what could I have done better?

There's always ways we can make something better, so I'm going to challenge you to  work on that this year.

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