Look at your Fire House right now, look at the people that make it up. Are they being inspired? Do they appear to be a goal setter, the person that gets it or do they lack passion and are just there. Inspiration is an important thing in life, it is a psychological fact that human beings work harder and set goals for success by being inspired.
Let’s start with you first; are you inspired? What inspires you? Do you find inspiration in something or from someone every day? Can you inspire others? Have you inspired others?
Finding out what drives you is important in life. Understanding what the value and meaning of inspiration is vitally important to your success. Inspiration can come from a song, a book, a quote or it can come from a person (mentor). Being surrounded by people who want the best for us is a very rewarding thing. Doing things individually only sets us up for failure; “those who walk the lonely road never get to their destination.” Having people around you to guide you, direct you, pick you up when you are down and kick you in the a** when you need it is what makes you reach your goals. If you are a person who has the attitude of “I’m better off by myself” than I promise that you will end up leading a very lonely and depressing life. People attract to those who are motivated, why? Because they seek the same thing.
Now on to the next part, can you or have you inspired others?
Sometimes we fail to understand that as leaders it is absolutely our responsibility to inspire others. You as a leader are the physical example of what is supposed to be right, you represent the organization that they are a part of and set the direction for where that organization is going. Inspiring your members will assist in bringing your organization to where it needs to go. Having a team of goal oriented "go-getters" will set you up for success.
Why is that important?
Think of some of the people in your organization who are the “10%ers”, the ones who are disgruntled, punch a clock and try to latch on to every new guy and purge all the “dirty laundry” about the place. Now I ask you, what have you done to inspire them? In my experience I have yet to meet a person who joined the fire service and hated the Chief and the Department from the day of their swearing in. Things happen over time, whether it’s a misunderstanding of personalities, a promotion or difference of opinion, something happened to make that person become the disgruntled person that they are today.
What about the young guys?
In my experience they are the most impressionable, put them with a bad boss or with a toxic crew and they adapt to their surroundings. We continue to breed detached Firefighters because we either won’t take the necessary time to inspire them or we just simply do not understand how to even go about it.
You remember the first time you met your spouse, you needed that ice breaker to initiate the conversation in order to build the relationship that you have today. That is exactly what you need to do with your people, you need to find common ground with them, initiate dialogue and communicate expectations while learning what they’re expectation of not only themselves is but what theirs is of you.
Taking a true interest in what makes your people tick will pay dividends as you develop a successful team. Simply writing off “undesirables” prevents you from finding potential talent. If I were written off by everyone who I had differences with I would amount to nothing, I have had success in my career because I was fortunate to have few and I stress FEW leaders who didn’t give up on me, who inspired me to do something worth talking about in my career, to be in a position to make an impact to better our fire service. We owe that same thing to our people: you as the leader need to set goals for them, be accessible and most importantly you have to inspire them. If they’re not bought in, that’s not their fault, it is yours. You are the coach, you set the tone for how the players perform. Find out why they joined the fire service, express an interest in who they are, where they are from and what their background is. Simple things like “what’s your favorite baseball team?” set a pace for you to prove you are interested in them and that you value them as a member of the team. Assign tasks to these people, not busy work or work that sets them up for failure but work that proves validation in their ability to perform. People work their hardest on a project when they know that you are depending on them to see it through, you’re not telling them they have to do something, you are requesting their assistance because you value their abilities. These are some suggestions that in my experience have worked for me both as a leader and as a subordinate.
If you are the leader who reads this and rolls their eyes or only focuses on my grammar or my personal resume and not the information than thank you, you were my target audience.
In all that you do, God bless, take care and stay safe!
Passion in Leading, LLC