Our Wildland Fire Leadership Values and Principles are laden with statements related to taking care of our people:
- Develop your subordinates for the future.
- Consider individual skill levels and development needs when assigning tasks.
- Know your subordinates and look out for their well being.
- Take care of your subordinate’s needs.
- Build the team.
- Recognize individual and team accomplishments and reward them appropriately.
I recently read a blog posting on The Federal Coach by Tom Fox titled “Young gov leaders: Love them or lose them.” The information contained within the article paralleled information that I had heard while attending the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) last November. We need to address our ability to take care of and maintain our next generation firefighters and leaders.
Fox provides “five ideas for retaining your younger employees while grooming them to lead” including:
- Focus on the firsts—first day, first week, first month.
- Keep them inspired.
- Tap their brains.
- Show them the path to leadership.
- Pair them up.
Are you the type of leader investing in your young talent? Will your leadership legacy be such that you provided for your people and inspired them to carry the wildland fire program to new frontiers or will those under your direction opt to leave the fire service for "greener pastures"?
Mark Hanna wrote a piece for Wharton's Leadership Digest titled "Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy: A Deloitte Study." In the "Spotlight on Leadership" section, he states, "First, and most importantly, there seems to be a large disconnect between those who 'talk the talk' about leadership development and those who actually 'walk the walk.'"
He goes on to say, "Many admit that they lack the proper tools to develop their leaders. Only half (52 percent) use objective, merit-based standards to identify potential leaders, and a slightly smaller percentage (47 percent) are using developmental career paths to move leaders into positions of more responsibility."
Do you lack the tools to perform your duty of developing your subordinates for the future? The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program has the tools and resources necessary for all levels of leadership.