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!

No comments: