Tuesday, October 17, 2017

There’s Nothing Wrong with the “F” Word

(Photo: Pixabay/Geralt)
There’s Nothing Wrong with the “F” Word
by Riva Duncan

Failure: The neglect or omission of expected or required action. The Oxford Dictionary
Human: representative of or susceptible to the sympathies and frailties of human nature. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
(Photo: Pixabay/DirtyOpi)
Well, I don’t know what all of you might be thinking, but I’m talking about Failure. Yes, that “F” word. It seems we have become afraid to talk about failure. This word is something that is rarely used anymore in FLAs, reviews, etc. We dance around it; we tip toe across it like it’s broken glass; we use other words instead. In our journey towards being a learning culture in fire, I feel the pendulum has swung too far the other way. In the "bad old days" that many of us remember, serious accidents and fatalities resulted in investigations that seemed hell-bent on finger-pointing, finding blame. “Firefighters failed to follow the 10 and 18.” “’Can-do’ attitudes were causal factors.” “Managers failed to keep their people safe.” I’m not saying we need to go back to those dark days. No way. We’ve made great strides in looking for the learning; trying to get to the “why” and not the “who.” But we seem so afraid to talk about failures that I fear we are losing some of these tragic, yet rich, opportunities for learning.

Monday, October 16, 2017

IGNITE: Empower Your People

Empowerment is not just the right thing to do, it is good business and it has a personal payback.  Patrick Townsend & Joan Gebhardt in "Five-Star Leadership"  [Photo: Baker River IHC]
Empowerment is not just the right thing to do, it is good business and it has a personal payback. -  Patrick Townsend & Joan Gebhardt in "Five-Star Leadership"
[Photo: Baker River IHC]

Thursday, October 12, 2017

IGNITE: Practice in the Art

The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice. - Max De Pree (wildland firefighters hiking along a waterway)
The visible signs of artful leadership are expressed, ultimately, in its practice. - Max De Pree

[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC]

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More Questions Than Answers


(Photo: Geralt/Pixabay)
I recently asked our Facebook followers to weigh in on the following question:

"Leadership is more art than science."
[Do you agree/disagree? What does this mean?]

Monday, October 9, 2017

IGNITE: The Voyage of Discovery

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust (hotshot buggy driving towards the sunset
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. - Marcel Proust
[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC]

Thursday, October 5, 2017

IGNITE: Help One, Help Others

When you help a person become a better leader, you help all the people that leader impacts. - Perry Noble (hotshot crew sitting around a campfire)
When you help a person become a better leader, you help all the people that leader impacts. - Perry Noble
[Photo credit: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC (Snake Fire, 2015)]

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Are You a Pushmi or a Pullyu?

Book cover for Doctor Dolittle Meets the Pushmi-Pullyu

Have your ever felt like you were on the most amazing team in the worldthe Pushmi-Pullyu team? I know I have, and the results can be extremely frustrating or downright amazing!

Monday, October 2, 2017

IGNITE: Rising Above Followership

It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from followers. - Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus [Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC, Griffin fire (2016)]
It is the capacity to develop and improve their skills that distinguishes leaders from followers. - Warren Bennis & Burt Nanus
[Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC, Griffin fire (2016)]

Thursday, September 28, 2017

IGNITE: Empowering Others

Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.   - John Maxwell  (wildland firefighters walking into the sunset/sunrise)
Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others. - John Maxwell
[Photo credit: Plumas IHC]

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Leadership and Morale in Wildland Firefighting

High morale is a visible expression of team cohesion, and channeling the team's energy to a common focal point builds strong cohesion. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 54

Leadership and Morale in Wildland Firefighting
By Thomas Dockery

When you think of building a team in the wildland firefighting community what do you normally think about? If you have previous experience in leadership roles, you may have slides to go off of, some do’s and don’ts that you’ve experienced through trial and error. If you’ve been in a junior role (which we’re all in no matter the title), you’ve hopefully observed leaders in action and have created slides on what not to do and some goals on what you would like to do if you were given the opportunity. Building a team in the wildland fire community is extremely complex and there are a million different ways to do it. However, the tools we have access to are the same. How many of you reading this paper have read Leading in the Wildland Fire Service published by the NWCG or visited the Wildland Fire Leadership Development website?  If you haven’t read the book or visited the website, it’s definitely worth your time. In the book you’ll find information on framework for leadership, duty (accomplishing your mission), respect (taking care of people), and integrity (developing yourself). But I would like to add to it by writing about a nameless entity that can destroy a team or make others jealous and that is morale.