Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Leadership Development - A Personal Responsibility

The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) supports the position that the majority of leaders are made, not born. Here’s an excerpt from page 60 of Leading in the Wildland Fire Service. The publication is available online at

Our perspective is that leaders are made, not born. The distribution of innate leadership traits in the wildland fire workforce is similar to the normal Bell Curve distribution for any set of traits in any population. A small percentage of people are natural leaders, possessing the character and traits that compel others to follow them. Another small percentage have character flaws or issues that would prevent them from ever becoming effective leaders.

Most people—the vast majority—do not come to the job as natural leaders, yet they have the ability to become very effective leaders by working to develop their leadership skills.

The wildland fire service cannot be successful depending on that small percentage of natural leaders. As a result, we accept the responsibility of making ourselves the best leaders that we can be, continuously embracing opportunities to learn the art of leadership through formal training, field experience, and self-development. The best leaders are life-long students of leadership.

Whether you are a leader of one or a leader of others, students of fire are lifelong learners who accept the responsibility to be the best leaders they can be. Even if you cannot attend formal leadership courses, the WFLDP Leadership Toolbox ( hosts a variety of self-development leadership tools.

We want to hear from you. If you have a leadership self-development idea or suggestion, submit it to

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. One thing I find entertaining is how much fire folks spend on "Crew" or "Module" or "Unit" fire paraphanalia such as coats, shirts, hats, sweatshirts, etc... with crew logos printed/embroidered or what have ya. I would bet a majority of our younger / future leaders currently spend more on "garb" than they do on leadership self-development. I recently heard some complaining in a class I was observing about having to buy a book for $1.39 on amazon for precourse work. They were upset that the training center didn't provide this for them...anyway, just an observation on Leadership Self Development for some to ponder...