Monday, May 2, 2011

Stress and the IC

(Photo Credit: Frank Cianciola, McDonald Observatory)

Fire leaders bring order to chaos, improve our people’s lives, and strengthen our organizations.” (Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 6)

The pictures coming out of the devastating wildland fires in Texas are incredible and heart wrenching. However, viewing the pictures does not come close to the emotions and stress incident commanders are dealing with to bring order out of the chaos. NWCG Leadership Subcommittee representative Mark Stanford, Texas Forest Service’s Chief Fire Operations, is one of those leaders facing the challenges of an unpredicted fire season.

As fire leaders, we make every attempt to ensure that we can perform our jobs on the fireline. However, as I have discussed in recent blog entries, we may never be fully prepared for the unlikely events that may occur. Fire leaders should be prepared by expecting the unexpected and leading accordingly.

A video on the HBR blog featuring Justin Menkes, author of Better Under Pressure, provides incident commanders with insight into the stressful life of an organizational leader under constant pressure. He explains “why today’s leaders need realistic optimism, subservience to purpose, and the ability to find order in chaos.”

Incident commanders know that increasing complexity is a trigger point to action. Nothing in the world of fire is constant and pressure is constant. How do you handle the pressures or stresses of the job? Are you proactive or reactive?

Additional Reference:
Human Resources IQ podcast with Justin Menkes (approximately 10 minutes)

1 comment:

Pam McDonald said...

Here is a follow-up blog post on the Leadership Now blog regarding "Better Under Pressure."