Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenges

If you are familiar with Leadership in Cinema, you may have seen a recent addition to the program called Fireline Leadership Challenges (or Leadership Challenges). The challenges are easy ways to foster leadership development whether in a group or individually.

Very brief descriptions of the challenges are listed below. For complete information, visit the Leadership in Cinema homepage at http://www.fireleadership.gov/toolbox/documents/lead_in_cinema.htm.

If you have created similar challenges and would like to share them with others, please send them to mailto:leadership_feedback@nifc.blm.gov?subject=Fireline%20Leadership%20Challenges.

Courage Under Fire

1. Engage the Professional Reading Program.

2. Participate in the US Airways Flight 1549—Competent Courage: Real-life Case Study.

Trail of Tears

1. Become a wildland fire mentor, mentee, or both.

2. Work with other wildland fire leaders in your area/agency to create a mentoring program.


1. Obtain a copy and read “The Leadership Teachings of Geronimo: How 19 Defeated 5000” by Donald J. Fielder and “You don’t Need a Title to be a Leader” by Mark Sanborn.

2. Implement a reading program at your home unit.

3. Read Lt. Col. Robert A. Garland’s Naval War College thesis titled “Physical and Moral Courage: An Essential Personal Attribute of a Successful Theater Strategic Commander” located at http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-in/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA494267&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf.

Wounded Knee

1. Learn more about yourself and your leadership style through informal (online) or formal assessment processes.

2. Leaders are readers. Expand your knowledge of the quite reader by obtaining a copy and reading “Leading Quietly” by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.

3. Obtain a copy of the 2004 Annual Fireline Safety Refresher The Numbers Tell the Story which touches on lessons learned and policies and procedures that came out of historical wildland fires.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

MCS Launches Leadership Website

Leadership training provider Mission-Centered Solutions (MCS*) announces a new leader development website for graduates of MCS programs.

Available to all 15,000+ MCS program graduates worldwide, CostaRicardo.com is designed to provide a common resource where graduates can openly share leadership ideas, tools, and training. Although the site is in its infancy, it is expected to grow as graduates add materials and information from their units and organizations.

Visit the website at http://mcsolutions.com/costaricardo.shtml for information on accessing the site.

*MCS is an approved L-380 and L-381 vendor.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Leading Up

If you are like me, your inbox has been flooded with vacancy announcements. I recently received an outreach announcement searching for nine senior level leadership positions in wildland fire—one day, nine GS-14 and -15 vacancies. The same day I got the e-mail, I began reading John Baldoni’s book “Lead Your Boss.” His book stresses the importance of middle managers who lead up and pondered whether we have properly prepared our middle managers to take the helm.

On page two of his book, Baldoni quotes Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) ally and esteemed professor of Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania Michael Useem from his book “Leading Up” (a must-read suggestion from our Wildland Fire Book on Books). “Leading up requires great courage and determination.” He also goes on to write, “We might fear how our superior will respond, we might doubt our right to lead up, but we all carry a responsibility to do what we can when it will make a difference.”

The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) has made great strides in building a pathway for future wildland leaders. I believe that the WFLDP is bringing about a cultural shift where senior-level managers are fostering an environment where middle-managers are encouraged to lead up thus allowing senior-level leaders, as Baldoni puts it, “the freedom to think and act strategically without getting bogged down in tactical matters.”

If you are an entry- or middle-level wildland fire leader, I encourage you to join me in reading “Leading Up” by Michael Useem and “Lead Your Boss” by John Baldoni and discussing your findings here. Together we can build a stronger tomorrow!