Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Teach Them to Fish

Asian boys spearfishing
(Photo credit: sasint/Pixabay)
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime
Chinese Proverb

Leaders help their people grow by mentoring and sharing experiences. Mentoring them begins their journey from followership to leadership. Fire leaders coach and then step back to allow people to take on new responsibilities. Providing the opportunity to test new waters and try new behaviors is important in developing people for the future.

We consider the individual skill levels and developmental needs when delegating tasks, making sure people have appropriate challenges that press them to grow and expand their skills. In the process, we might even learn a little something ourselves.

I challenge you to watch Tracy Fitzgerald's video "Leadership - The Butterfly Story."



Contemplate the following:

  • Are your feeding others for a day or for a lifetime?
  • Do you need others to need you?
  • Are you coaching or enabling? How do you know the difference?
Asian fisherman balancing at the end of boat
(Pixabay)
About the Author: Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

Monday, September 17, 2018

IGNITE: All Jobs Matter

Great leaders don’t embrace only the jobs that will get them a lot of attention; rather, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to advance the greater cause.  - Perry Noble (firefighter with helicopter in the background)
(Photo credit: Union Interagency IHC)
Great leaders don’t embrace only the jobs that will get them a lot of attention; rather, they’re willing to do whatever it takes to advance the greater cause. - Perry Noble

Thursday, September 13, 2018

IGNITE: Resilience - The Ultimate Team Result

The ultimate team result is resilience: teams that can bounce back when problems or errors threaten cohesion and synergy. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 55 (firefighters resting on rocks)
(Photo Credit Josh Neighbors/South Dakota Wildland Fire
The ultimate team result is resilience: teams that can bounce back when problems or errors threaten cohesion and synergy. - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 55

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

“Survive and Thrive - You Matter - You Are Not Alone - Help is Available”

Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK (8255)

One of the most meaningful things in safety work is helping others stay injury free, both physically and mentally. One of the hardest parts is bringing up difficult conversations and hard truths, but it fulfills the meaningful part that drives me.

Fifteen plus years ago, while at a Fire Academy, I had a very charismatic and powerful instructor in a RX course. Being energetic and engaging he kept your focused attention and was clearly one of the best teachers I have ever had. He introduced me to a lot of fire based knowledge while burning in the field, broadened my understanding of risk, and what being a High Reliability Organization needs to do for success. In hindsight, a lot of these concepts I have used over the years started in that classroom. A few years later he took his own life.

I thought a lot about how come and why…. of course in the end I had no answers. But the hard truth is this happens arounds us and nationally is the 10th leading cause of death shown in the list below. What his passing taught me was never assume it’s all ok. Knowing the vital signs and symptoms takes knowledge and education for all of us. Even in hindsight it is rarely obvious why it happened so take the time to learn what to look for in some of these links. National Suicide Prevention Week begins on Sunday and goes to the following Saturday. If you needed a reason to start a hard conversation with someone, below (and attached) are some resources and stories that might help you.

The GACC-NIFC site is particularly helpful for the things we deal with here in the Forest Service. It has many tools related to Suicide Warning Signs, Risk and Protective Factors, Facts and Myths, and the Workplace. It may be extremely challenging for you to start these confidential conversations, but it may be one of the most meaningful things you ever do. Be meaningful and break the silence. If you are the one struggling, please reach out to someone, anyone. Just start. The results may start changing life from shades of grey to brighter light. If you need an anonymous contact our EAP is always available (1-800-869-0276). This four-minute video may help both sides break the silence…tomorrow needs you…

 

Resources
https://gacc.nifc.gov/cism/suicide.html
https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/index.html
https://afsp.org/campaigns/national-suicide-prevention-week-2018/
https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month

Stories

Statistics
US Deaths by cause in 2016
Heart disease: 633,842
Cancer: 595,930
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
Diabetes: 79,535
Influenza and Pneumonia: 57,062
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 49,959
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193

What You Can Do
Please promote suicide prevention week, share broadly, or forward to those who can help us promote this within the Forest Service and beyond.
“Survive and Thrive - You Matter - You Are Not Alone - Help is Available”

Chris Joosen is the Safety and Health Manager for the Mount Hood National Forest. We appreciate his willingness to share his story with our readers. All thoughts and reflections are those of the author.

Monday, September 10, 2018

IGNITE: Vision with Action

Vision without action is merely a dream.  Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.  - Joel Barker  [Photo credit: Entiat IHC] (Wildland firefighters consulting map)
(Photo credit: Entiat IHC)
Vision without action is merely a dream. 
Action without vision just passes the time. 
Vision with action can change the world. 
- Joel Barker -

Thursday, September 6, 2018

IGNITE: Like Stars

If you treat your subordinates as stars, they will work to fulfill that expectation. - Sherman Morrison (nighttime sky with wildfire)
(Photo: Kyle Miller/Wyoming IHC)

If you treat your subordinates as stars, they will work to fulfill that expectation.
 Sherman Morrison œ

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

When Beliefs Become Reality

Pygmalion Effect: People will adapt their behavior to meet an expectation.
There is an old saying that "garbage in = garbage out." I became familiar with this phrase learning while programming computers. The concept can also work with leadership. "Leadership gets what it emphasizes." (Coach Chris Petersen) As leaders, our influence can have huge impacts on those we lead. Our perceptions of those we lead and the actions we take because of those beliefs are powerful forces. As humans, what we think of ourselves can easily be what we are or become.

Monday, September 3, 2018

IGNITE: No Work Is Insignificant


  “No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.  (American flag with wildland fire in the background)
No work is insignificant. All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
 Martin Luther King, Jr.
[Photo credit: Globe IHC]

Thursday, August 30, 2018

IGNITE: Outside the Comfort Zone

(Photo: Mesa IHC)

There's no growth in the comfort zone.
Jocko Willink œ

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Thinking About Thinking

By Special Collections, Lehigh University Libraries;
Chrétien Frédéric Guillaume Roth [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons
When everything is connected to everything else, for better or worse, everything matters. - Bruce Mou

Some of you can remember the days when the gadget you wore on your wrist ONLY told you the time of day. You even had to know how to tell time by the position of the hands on the face of the dial. Nowadays, we have the likes of a supercomputer (back in the day) on our wrist or by our side. These advancements in technology necessitate we think about thinking.