Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Climbing the Leadership Ladder

Having been with the Leadership Subcommittee for nearly 10 years, I have had the opportunity to watch young firefighters move through the various levels of leadership--from humble follower to confident leaders of organizations. Those same individuals who once sat behind the agency representatives at Leadership Subcommittee meetings are now assuming positions as agency leaders and stewards of the Wildland Leadership Development Program (WFLDP).

I recall many a conversation with some of our more effective leaders. These same individuals who have lead the leadership charge and created the tools we have today assert their efforts are all in a good day's work. They do what they do for the betterment of the organization rather than for personal gratification. In fact, many never believed that they would hold the positions they now occupy.

My intent with this entry is to encourage all firefighters to invest in themselves with respect to leadership development. Do everything within your power to understand the leadership framework that exists within the WFLDP. You may only have aspirations of being a follower; but as I have stated in other posts, I believe we are all leaders--even if a leader of one. In addition, there may come a time when you need to step into a leadership position to save your life and that of another.

For those in leadership positions, take care of those under your charge. Determine what motivates your team and build an environment that supports the values and principles that we hold so dearly--duty, respect, and integrity. Provide a satisfying experience and safe environment for the follower to practice the art of being a leader. Small wins can build confidence and motivate far beyond scare tactics that come with a "hot seat."

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