Monday, July 1, 2013

Leadership is a Choice

The Authority to Lead versus the Decision to Lead  (Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 6-7)

The authority to lead is established by law. Whether this authority is based on federal, state, or local law, we are legal agents exercising authority on behalf of our organizations.

The ability to lead is a different matter; it is something that cannot be legislated. To be effective, leaders must earn the trust and respect of others. A leader’s journey is a perpetual cycle of acquiring, shaping, and honing the knowledge and skills of leadership. The leadership journey is never finished.

Once we commit to becoming leaders, our focus is no longer ourselves. Fire leaders assume the serious responsibility of putting others into harm’s way and for making decisions that profoundly affect citizens, communities, and natural resources.

Leadership is a tough choice. Leaders choose to sacrifice their own needs for those of their teams and organizations. They routinely face situations and make decisions that others criticize and second-guess. Leaders take risks and face challenges every day.

So why do we choose to lead? We lead because leading is where we make a difference.

Fire leaders bring order to chaos, improve our people’s lives, and strengthen our organizations. Leading enables us to leave a legacy for the leaders of the future so that they can take our places well prepared for the road ahead.

These are the rewards of leadership. Their effects will be seen and felt long after our careers end.

Fire Leadership Challenge

Watch Stanley McChrystal's speak in "Leadership is a Choice."

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