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  • Leadership Tips

    I am have fallen into a position on my shift within the last few weeks that requires me to take a leadership role at my station. It is somewhat of an "acting lieutenant" position. Our station houses 6 personnell including the captain. The captain has designated myself and another person as the senior leaders at this station. We are two months apart in seniority, and I believe he is watching to see who would make a better leader between the two of us for the future, so there is somewhat of a "silent" rivalry between us. Are there any tips that others have that I can implement personally and within my daily activities to strengthen my chances at further development?

  • #2
    I would highly recommend the book "The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership" by Dr. John C. Maxwell.

    It is a very easy/quick read and full of practical information on being an effective leader (this book is good for followers as well!).


    • #3
      lead... and be nice.


      • #4
        I suggest checking out www.nightingale.com for their many excellent personal development audio/reading programs. Also look into leadership/management seminars coming to your area. I hope things work out for you. Take care and be safe.

        Phil Clinard
        Laurel VFD
        Prince George's Co Sta 10
        Laurel, MD


        • #5
          Just a few things to remember as a company officer. When your chosen to lead, lead responsibly and effectively. From firefighting to writing reports, you should already know what is expected of you. If you don't, ask.

          When one of your crew members err, never treat them with disrespect. Always take them aside and explain where their mistake was and never criticize one of your crew members in front of the others.

          Always do a post fire exam on what went right or wrong if anything. Listen to your crew during this period and let them make suggestions. Always treat your crew, peers and superiors with respect.

          Teach and train your members responsibly and effectively. Use your experience and the experiences of others during this period. Never get the idea that you know it all, no one is perfect. If you make a mistake, admit it and learn from it and carry on. Don't let the mistakes effect the way you make your decisions. Keep your confidence.

          Learn everything you can from pre-fire planning to incident command and pass this off to your crew members. You are not only their leader but their teacher.

          These are just a few suggestions, there could be a lot more, but you'll also learn as you go. If you have a college close by, go take a few management classes and good luck.

          [This message has been edited by FireLt1951 (edited 04-09-2001).]


          • #6
            1st priority, take care of the men

            2nd, take care of your equipment

            3rd, take care of where you live (the station)

            If you follow that order while doing work around the house and handle the calls that come in you should do just fine.

            Don't worry about trying to beat the other guy. If you do your best while keeping your priorities the Captain will see that.

            Good luck and stay safe.


            • #7
              One thing you should always remember is that men are like ropes, you can pull them but not push them. In other words lead from the front and not the rear. Never have your men do something you yourself would not or have not done. Praise in public, punish in private. And last but not least accept the fact that you do not know everything, it may sound simple but way too many people forget that as soon as they are placed in a leadership position.

              When the defecation hits the oscillation I'll be there.


              • #8
                Lead from the front as much as possible. Make SURE that your guys know that you are not having them do anything that you have not/or do not do. This is just something that I have found that make people want to follow their senior guy(s)& gals.

                We all want direction, but not dictatorship. The service is neither a democracy or a dictatorship and avoiding the later will make pople WANT to follow you. Make sure also that you show confidence in what you do and what your capabilities are. Be honest in your approach, don't say one thing to your guys/gals, and then do another (within reason). Be a friend to the personnel, but not to the point that it affects your ability to discipline when the needs arise. When you DO have to discipline, make sure you remember how YOU want(ed) to be treated. Do not allow them to get away with whatever they want, as you lose respect, but do not be overbearing at the same time.

                I guess what I am saying is that since you are just newly promoted, REMEMBER what is like to be in their roles.

                These are just some things I have found that have worked for me.

                Good luck,

                Your Brother In The Service,
                Rob Herpel
                Vice-Pres./Asst. EMS Coordinator
                Fremont Rural Fire Department

                [This message has been edited by SmokeEater31 (edited 04-10-2001).]


                • #9
                  First of all - CONGRADULATIONS! You say that you have 'fallen into a position' on your shift? Nah ... it sounds to me that you have earned it! Excellent suggestions so far, but my 'tip' to you is - just be yourself. Sure we can all improve ourselves, but when you try to be something that you're not - well, LOOK OUT! Just be yourself! Good luck!


                  • #10

                    I read all the replies to date and believe all of them will guide you well as you develop your own leadership style. I have been a Captain for 20 years. My #1 personal rule is: "Never forget where you came from. Remember your roots and lead by example."

                    Make sure your crew knows what your "expectations" are. Have an "open door policy." Listen to their suggestions and let them know they are important to a well run crew. Deal with issues fairly and firmly. But, remember that ultimately the buck stops with you.

                    Xenophon13 said it well. Praise in public and reprimand in private. I have known too many CO's and Batt Chiefs that reprimand in public to show everyone who is in charge. It is wrong and ultimately serves to turn an entire crew or even shift against them.

                    Don't play the "rivalry" game. It will destroy both of you and your crew. Trust me, if you have leadership quailties, they WILL come thru.

                    Best of luck and let us know how it all works out.

                    Capt Bill


                    • #11
                      #1. Make a list. Include everyone that made things tough on you, all the people that have really ****ed you off, and all the people you want to get even with.

                      #2. BURN IT!! and never think back on it. Start everyone on a fresh new page.

                      Leaders need thick skin. Remember 1/3 of the people will say you did good, 1/3 will say you did bad, and 1/3 won't care. You need thick skin. Good luck and congrats!


                      • #12

                        I want to add a couple of things here.
                        Everyone gave GREAT "tips".

                        (feel free to correct me Captian B. if I am wrong please)

                        IceRader gave some great ones because he is the type of officer that he is what you see. He calls the shots the way they look and he hopes that we are adults and know HOW to take the correction. Yet, in his correction, he ALWAYS SHOWS his concern for his fellow firefighters. How do I know? WEll, I have NEVER served with Cpt. Bill, but I have recieved the corrections in my thinking through the forum(s), and he always let me know that he cared in his own way. You would not believe what the simple words "Brother Rob" do to a person. He shows that he does not FEEL superior, in that he still views me as a "brother" firefighter, and not a "subject". I would GLADLY serve with the good Cpt.
                        FOLLOW THAT EXAMPLE.
                        I also have to agree with the good Capt. The "rivalry" thing could be damaging to you, your fellow acting Lt. and ultimately to the department and COULD result in the Cpt. feeling that NEITHER should lead. Rivalry is something that can push firefighters to be the best they can be, but if it crosses that fine line that it flirts with, it becomes a DISASTER of universal proportions. You OBVIOUSLY had what the Cpt. thought it took to be a LT. Just BE THAT, and you will come through with shining colors. Remember that if the "rivalry" goes too far, then the other one that does not get that permanent Lt. slot could VERY possibly become a detrement to the shift respecting that new LT. and you would NOT want to be the one that loses the respect due to someone else being sore after the rivalry is over. (Hope that makes sense)

                        Break-N-Entry also made a FANTASTIC point(s).
                        Never let your new posistion become a revenge posistion, once again that WILL be your downfall one way or the other.

                        Also, remember that there will be people that think you are good, some think you are bad and those of us that follow whoever leads us. My Captain this year was my Captain last year too. We all thought he did GREAT, yet, when it came to officer selection this year, he only won by one vote. He was DEVESTATED. I told him basically what B-N-E told you. Thicken the skin. Rememeber, you are now going to be getting it coming and going. The complaints go up and down, and if you are in the middle, both cheeks get chewed.
                        Keep focused.

                        I apologize for the SECOND long-winded reply, but I thought about these things after my last post, and then two of my Bros. came back and said them. WHY did I repeat them? I am not too sure, just want you to succeed in your goals I guess.

                        Enough from me.
                        BTW CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! (I forgot to say that the last time)

                        Your Brother In The Service,
                        Rob Herpel
                        Vice-Pres./Asst. EMS Coordinator
                        Fremont Rural Fire Department

                        [This message has been edited by SmokeEater31 (edited 04-11-2001).]


                        • #13
                          Flashover, I congratulate you on your new position. I'm not a firefighter, so I can't give you any advice on the fire house, but I would like to suggest a couple of things.

                          First of all, the thing that jumped out at me in your post was the "silent" rivalry issue. No, and I repeat NO, rivalry is silent. Let it go before it divides your department. If your competition feels he has to play the game, let him play it by himself. Praise him the same as you do any other fire fighter for the good ideas, work, etc., be slow to judge him. If there is a rivalry your men/women will feel it, hear it, and begin to take sides, which will ultimately end in a loss of moral for the department. LET IT GO.

                          A good leader listens, and hears. He tries to find compromise in the face of division. He delegates responsibility, giving every person their own sense of worthiness. He knows how to step down gracefully, and above all he knows how to apologize when he is wrong.

                          Don't let authority or power go to your head, you're still a firefighter first and foremost, just one of the guys. Don't give off the air of being above them, be one of them, their equal.

                          You will make mistakes, and you will beat yourself up a time or two for something you said/did that you shouldn't have. Move on, don't dwell on it and no one else will. And do the same thing for the men/women under you who make mistakes, don't hold it over their heads forever.

                          I wish you luck, and I think you will do a fine job.


                          • #14
                            I guess the best advice that i can give that from what ihave been envolved with is, GIVE CREDIT WHEN CREDIT IS DUE. don't try to take credit for everything just because you are an officer. when someone does something good or has a good idea make sure you let them know it no matter if they are above you or below you. and if you are a person with to much pride set it aside. it makes you look better as a person and well respected officer.
                            Take Care and stay Safe.
                            Your Fellow Fire Fighter


                            • #15
                              First off, Congratulations on your advancement. Like others have said you wouldn't be in this position if the Capt. didn't feel you deserved it. Excellent advice from all of the brothers on this thread.
                              I have had the opportunity to be an officer for my VFD for the last three years and it all rings true. Particularly the part about thick skin. I always try remember that you cant please all of the people all of the time. I just try to do what I think is right.
                              Most of the advice comes from people with far more experience than I, and so I will let that speak for itself. I too learned something from this thread.
                              Again, flashover63 congratulations.

                              Shawn M. Cecula
                              Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2


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