Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Story Behind the Mountain

Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program logo
A while back we asked students of fire about the “Meaning Behind the Mountain”—what the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) logo represented. Here is what we were able to piece together from former NWCG Leadership Committee members. We added a few statements from Leading in the Wildland Fire Service to support each element.

Mountain – The mountain symbolizes the leadership challenge.

Leaders often face difficult problems to which there are no simple, clear cut, by-the-book solutions. In these situations, leaders must use their knowledge, skill, experience, education, values, and judgment to make decisions and to take or direct action—in short, to provide leadership. (p. 1)

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. (p. 6)

Road or path – Leadership is a path or journey that is laborious and winding; some get further along the path than 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. (p. 5)

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. (p. 6)

Values and Principles – The WFLDP is structured around a set of leadership values and principles as a means of communicating what right looks like and illustrating effective leadership in action.

Leaders in the wildland fire service seek and accept the duty to lead. We serve our people, our communities, and our nation. We fulfill our obligation by mastering our jobs, making sound and timely decisions, ensuring tasks can be done and are accomplished, and fostering this spirit of duty in subordinates. (p. 25)

To gain respect for our people, we first respect them. Leaders demonstrate respect for our people in many ways: by getting to know them, by looking out for their well-being, by keeping them informed, by putting forth the effort to build strong teams, and by employing them in accordance with their capabilities. (p. 45)

Leaders cannot hide what they do; they are always setting an example. Followers assess their leader’s integrity every day. If people believe a leader has integrity, they can accept other weaknesses and help compensate for them. (p. 59)

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