Be The Leader They Need!
Fire service leadership is in high demand with a short supply. There are many schools of thought when it comes to leadership styles. The topic of leadership has been discussed, debated and written about add nausea. It all boils down to making a personal choice to lead! There are many fire officers and firefighters that want to lead that just don’t know how or have never had a good leader to learn from.
Again there have been many debates arguing if leaders are born or taught. I would like to say that it’s both. You already possess leadership traits and characteristics, now it’s time to hone them.
Far too often company officers would rather be liked than make the tough decisions that need to be made for the betterment of the whole crew. Every fire house has those who want to buck the system and are extremely cancerous to us all, but they are the loud minority. The silent majority are those who want to lead. Firefighters by our very nature are leaders; it’s in our genetic makeup.
Be the agent of positive change in your organization. Become the leader they need.
How you ask?
Lead by example that’s how! Always seek training and education to make yourself better and in turn you will make the crew better. Be willing to take on a task that is out of your comfort zone. Seek and accept greater responsibilities. The reward will be greater opportunities. Seek out like minded individuals that share your vision and passion. Surround yourself with these people. Positive thinking creates positive actions and all of it that amounts to positive change. Transform yourself into the leader that you would want leading you.
Leadership is a consensus between you and those who choose to follow you. There is no promotion to the position of a leader. You don’t have to be a company officer to be a leader. All it takes is an attitude of action. Becoming a leader for some is easy, for others a challenging task, but I assure you that once you make that decision to lead others will follow.
Set the standard. Show up early, have a professional appearance and mindset. Maintain a state of readiness at all times and keep in shape. It’s not just about you but your fellow firefighters next to you.
In order to be a good leader you have to be willing to be a good follower as well. If you think that there is a lack of leaders in your organization, look outside of it. Attend seminars, network, and seek them out. Become a mentor for other younger or newer firefighters and shape the future of the fire service.
Regardless if you are career or volunteer this is our profession. Treat it with the respect it deserves and instill these traits into others.
Once you have made the conscious decision to become a leader the hard work is already done. Leadership is contagious, it’s an attitude. Make sure yours is one worth catching.
Photo contributed by Brett Dzadik (brettsfirephotos.com)