Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Authority to Lead Versus the Decision to Lead

Those familiar with Leading in the Wildland Fire Service are well aware of the first tenet of our leadership framework: The authority to lead versus the decision to lead. Where the authority to lead is established by law, the ability cannot be legislated. (Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 5)

Fire leaders choose to lead to “bring order to chaos, improve our people’s lives, and strengthen our organizations.” Listen to Captain "Sully" Sullenberger talk on The Washington Post's On Leadership website about the choice to lead.

Throughout history, there have been many leaders who faced difficult challenges and provided a sense of stability through effective leadership. Two such leaders include President Abraham Lincoln—a leader caught between both sides of civil unrest and Mayor Rudy Giuliani--a leader faced with leading during the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Videos presented on the Washington Post’s On Leadership site, showcase both Lincoln's and Giuliani's leadership during these turbulent times.

Fire leaders know what it is like to be caught between various sides of a conflict yet accept the choice to lead. These videos provide examples of tools these leaders used effectively during very chaotic times.

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