Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Framework for Leadership

(Photo credit: GGP.com)

Today's blog was inspired by Ted Coine's blog "This Leadership Framework Helped Lincoln Save the Union. You Should Try It."

Ted uses the lessons he learned studying President Abraham Lincoln's leadership legacy. He believes that Lincoln's leadership success is attributed to what he calls a "Principles-to-Practices Framework." Those who took the 2012 Leaders are Readers challenge and read Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals are well aware of Lincoln's simplicity and focused leadership. Here is how Ted Coines views Lincoln's leadership using his Principles-to-Practices framework.
  • Principles - the view from space
    • Lincoln's Principle: Save the Union.
  • Strategies - the view from 30,000 feet up
    • Lincoln's Strategy: Wear the confederacy down until they surrender.
  • Tactics - the view from a second-story balcony
    • Lincoln's Tactic: Charge head-on, and don't let up until the enemy is driven to flee.
  • Practices - the view if you lie on your stomach and look down
    • Lincoln's Practice: Give the soldiers 50 rounds of ammunition each, and resupply them as needed.

Team of Rivals book cover

Wildland Fire Service's Leadership Framework

The ultimate purpose of leading in the wildland fire service is to protect life, property, and natural resources.

Leading here requires that we manage uncertainty and events that are not within our control. A framework to understand this leadership environment is critical to enable fire leaders to make effective decisions and communicate those decisions in dynamic situations.

The decision to lead and be successful within this framework requires an avid commitment to self-development.

The wildland fire service's framework is built upon the following foundational concepts:
  • The Authority to Lead versus the Decision to Lead
    • The authority to lead is established by law. 
    • The ability to lead is something that cannot be legislated.
    • A leader's journey is a perpetual cycle of acquiring, shaping, and honing the knowledge and skills of leadership. 
    • Leaders choose to sacrifice their own needs for those of their teams an organizations.
  •  Art of Leadership
    • Committed leaders can inspire others and make an enormous difference in people's lives, on the results of the team, and in the progress of the organization.
    • The art of leadership requires a constant interchange of theory and application.
    • The art includes being able to view the larger picture.
    • The art of leadership requires successfully balancing many factors in the real world, based on the situation at hand, to achieve a successful outcome.
  • Wildland Fire - A High-Risk Environment
    • We are asked to make tough decisions under a compressed time frame, given limited information, in a complex and high-risk environment.
    • Fire leaders must have the ability to integrate varied resources into effective and responsive temporary teams.
  • Leadership Environment
    • The leadership environment is made up of four elements: 
      • The leader
      • His/her people
      • The situation
      • The consequences (short- and long-term effects of the leader's actions)
  • Command Philosophy
    • Translating vision into clear leader's intent is at the heart of our command philosophy.
    • Our leaders subscribe to unity of effort.
  • Command Climate
    • Command presence sets the tone for the command climate.
    • Communication is the primary tool for establishing an effective command climate.
  • Levels of Leadership
    • Four levels of leadership exist in our leadership framework:
      • Followers
      • Leaders of people
      • Leaders of leaders
      • Leaders of organizations
[Adapted from "Leading in the Wildland Fire Service", pp. 5-24]

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge


Albert George said...

I like your post and everything you share with us is current and very informative, 
Leadership Development

Pam McDonald said...

Thanks, Albert. Your words mean a lot and are appreciated.