Tuesday, March 16, 2010

“You Must Know How to Follow Before You Can Lead”

One of the most important aspects of being an effective leader is to be a good follower. So, what is effective followership and how does one go about developing the skills needed to be a good follower?

The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) curriculum path provides leadership skills training at all stages of an individuals career, including followership. Human Factors on the Fireline (L-180) is the first course wildland firefighters take in preparation to follow. Followership to Leadership (L-280) builds upon L-180 and provides a self-assessment opportunity for individuals preparing to step into a leadership role. For more detailed information regarding the L-curriculum visit http://www.fireleadership.gov/courses/courses.html.

One of the program components of the WFLDP is "non-traditional leadership development opportunities that allow individuals to strive for a higher performance level as a leader through self-directed continuous learning." This holds true for followers as well. To begin your self-directed journey, the GovLeaders.org site (http://govleaders.org/follow.htm) a good source for articles related to effective followership. You will notice that the articles are not specific to wildland firefighting; however, benchmarking other organizations provides great opportunity for growth. Read with an intent to find the nuggets of information that you can apply to your situation as a follower in the wildland fire service.

In addition to reading these articles, I challenge every firefighter to obtain a copy of Leading in the Wildland Fire Service. Pay particular attention to “Leading Up” on pages 48 – 50. An electronic version of the publication can be found at http://www.fireleadership.gov/documents/LeadingWFS_Pub.pdf.

No comments: