Thursday, December 31, 2015

IGNITE: Cohesive Teams

Cohesive teams are more creative and adaptable when dealing with complex situations. This enables them to detect and mitigate errors before irreparable damage occurs. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 52
Cohesive teams are more creative and adaptable when dealing with complex situations. This enables them to detect and mitigate errors before irreparable damage occurs. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 52

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Chris Merritt Earns BLM WY District Firefighting Award

Chris Merritt has been awarded the local Firefighter of the Year Award by BLM Wyoming's Wind River/Bighorn Basin District (WR/BBD). The award recognizes a firefighter who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, motivation, work ethic, physical fitness, and positive attitude.

"Being chosen for this award is a huge honor," said Chris. "I enjoy every day I come to work because it's always a new experience and I strive to learn more."
Chris Merritt, BLM Wyoming's Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Firefighter of the Year.
Chris Merritt, BLM Wyoming's Wind River/Bighorn Basin District Firefighter of the Year.
This was Chris's second season as a firefighter on the WR/BBD fuels crew. Prior to his work with the BLM, he served four years in the U.S. Army, which included a combat tour in Iraq.

"Chris stepped up into leadership roles within the fuels crew, as well as in hand crews responding to out-of-state fires," said Aaron Thompson, WR/BBD Interim Assistant Fire Management Officer. "He has a great work ethic and willingness to learn."

Chris is assigned to a fuels crew which focuses on removing hazardous fuels and enhancing habitat and forage for wildlife and livestock. These projects utilize various tools including prescribed burning and mechanical thinning with chainsaws and skid steers. Projects like these are increasingly important as federal, state, and local agencies and organizations work collaboratively to improve Greater Sage-Grouse habitat. They also benefit many other wildlife species that inhabit these ecosystems.

During the fire season, Chris also responds to wildland fires, both in Wyoming and across the nation. When not wielding a chainsaw or Pulaski, he is often training in wildfire suppression drills and physical fitness. 
Chris enjoying another day at the office.
Outside of the BLM, Chris's interests include hunting, fishing, and spending a lot of time with his son. He is also a volunteer firefighter with the Worland Volunteer Fire Department. 

The WR/BBD staff is pleased that Chris plans to return next season. For Chris, the decision was an easy one.
"I love this job and plan on doing it until I physically can't do it anymore," he said. 
Story by Sarah Beckwith, Public Affairs Specialist
*************************
Reprinted from BLM Daily, 

Monday, December 28, 2015

IGNITE: Success is...

Success is not accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. –Pelé

Success is not accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. – Pelé

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Thursday, December 24, 2015

IGNITE: Leadership is Influence

Leadership is defined as the act of influencing people in order to achieve a result. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 13
Leadership is defined as the act of influencing people in order to achieve a result. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 13
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

DANG ANGER DANGER

(Photo credit: Brian Childs)
Much of what we are shown our culture about leadership is depicted usually by a person which you don’t want to disappoint. We’re shown examples of leadership from many sources directly and indirectly. The common representations are a leader that has a short fuse ready to blow up and belittle our esteem being so easily triggered by our mistakes. This is what is accepted as normal and all we can expect. Is it effective? Somewhat, but is it ideal?

For most, this leadership trait is associated with many other leaders in our lives from parents to presidents. We are conditioned into thinking that this is what a leader is and does. Let’s explore what anger is and the affect this leadership method has on the team itself.

Anger has a spectrum from annoyance and frustration to rage and violence. In one end of the spectrum it can be a normal and healthy release of emotion and at the other, a blow up of damaging proportions. Generally, all anger is a resistance and intolerance. This can mean it may be a catalyst for change either better or worse than the current circumstances. What I mean by that is whether it benefits a majority or the self by releasing the emotion. When at the beginning end of the spectrum (frustration), voicing the intolerance can bring awareness to WHAT needs to change in order for a return to smooth sailing. When it occurs at the other end of anger’s spectrum (violence, rage), it loses its positive influence since what it does physiologically to self, others and overall atmosphere, is shut down that momentum of progress until there’s acknowledgement that it got out of control.

An overtly angry leader can think more optimistically, which sounds beneficial, but not in a way that promotes safety. Assignments can seem less risky and dangerous. Progress seems more likely to succeed even when faced with obstacles and incidents seem less likely. This method leads one to be more likely to make risky decisions, and make more optimistic risk assessments. This tendency allows that deadly “can do” attitude since the thought is that they can just force their subordinates to conform and make it happen regardless of the reality that it isn’t achievable for a multitude of reasons they’re unwilling to look at. Excessive anger carries with it a deception to self and others that puts everyone at undue risk. Over time, surviving the risks leads them to believe that it was all due to their skill of driving the crew. This is a common delusion of luck taking the place of skill.

Although it has some success in manipulating a desired outcome, it usually breeds contempt and disdain since it uses force. This is a one-way means of “top down” leadership and doesn’t open a pathway for receiving needed feedback from subordinates. The team is left feeling as though ruled by tyranny rather than having any ‘team’ atmosphere where everyone’s strengths or feedback have an opportunity to contribute to the whole. That can be effective, but only temporarily. Eventually crewmembers will become worn down and spiteful which will infect the whole and cause overall mutiny. The Leader will inadvertently create an atmosphere where no one is inspired to hold that position and always view that Leader as ultimately dysfunctional outside of any given duty. The ongoing result being that the leader is the only reliant source and thus a crutch. I feel that it is unrealistic and a weakness to only rely on one leader to constantly be the source of decisions, tactics and micro-managing.

Overly angry leaders deflect more than they take responsibility. They are more likely to demonstrate a bias or blame since they tend to rely more on stereotypes or singular assumptions, and pay less attention to details and more attention to the surface and therefore making snap judgements. This sort of focalized tunnel-vision often excludes critical information or details get ignored that expose that their behaviors are somewhat exaggerated.

They tend to anticipate future causes for them to be angrier building an overall pessimistic break down around them as if nothing is going to satisfy nor go ‘right’ according to them. All future actions seem to throw fuel to their fire of rage. That anger begetting further anger in that atmosphere. Even when accolades are deserved or partially given, the focus remains on what could’ve been more to their preference.

So with every complaint there must be a solution otherwise it’s just needless whining. Ideally, any Highly Reliable Organization functions with success by being a team or Leader of Leaders. In the circumstantial absence of the Leader, another can stand in as acting Leader with equal trust and respect from subordinates.

How do we accomplish this? Balance.

By no means do I intend to color anger as something that we avoid and even worse suppress. Much like fear, it can serve its purpose if acknowledged and processed by seeking its source in order to come to a healthy solution. It arises for good reason and that is to get our attention toward an issue in need of being added into our scope. Increasing our awareness will transform it to something positive and the emotion won’t arise in vain. It will demonstrate to the team that an effective leader has to be willing to be open in discussing difficult topics in order to build the team. I ask that we first examine if it is merely an issue within ourselves, or actually something externally in our environment or personnel that needs to be addressed, or both. Before we allow our anger to color our view of everything, answer it one situation at a time and move forward without projecting into our future. I ask us to consider what other methods are there? To swing the pendulum to the other extreme of “soft people-pleaser” wouldn’t necessarily achieve the goal since people will eventually manipulate that to their own selfish desires. What’s needed is a balance of both ends: Allowing ALL that arises in our shift, our tour, our season and individual personnel to be in our scope as well as standing firm on what’s best for the team by steering into a goal-oriented team that doesn’t mask over issues that inevitably build into larger issues.

Whenever you sense that there is anger arising in your team, engage with the hearts of your subordinates. Acknowledge the flame in the heart each individual that applies to a career in service work: compassion. Anger will occur. We cannot expect it to be absent when we are challenged in so many emotional and physical ways. Nobody is a victim to the career they ultimately chose, but it is our duty as leaders to alleviate the stresses of our work environment simply by showing empathy. Whenever you sense that anger is arising within you, take inventory of You. Delegate some of the responsibility by fostering the roles that your subordinates are hungry for. Allow some failures knowing that it is how we learn lasting lessons. Even though moments may seem daunting, address what comes up with openness for something good to come of it. We owe it them, ourselves, and the community we serve. Know that our individual emotional state is an active choice and not something that happens to us. Decide what emotion best fits the situation without ignoring what doesn’t fit into our ideal equation for success.

“In the end, it doesn’t matter how well we have performed or what we have accomplished—a life without heart is not worth living.” ― John Eldredge
*********************************

Thank you for the opportunity to share and discuss what we can all add to our tools to build a stronger force.

Sincerely,
Brian Childs

********************************************
Brian Childs began his career in 2002 with Utah DNR/FFSL. In 2011, he moved to Oregon where he works for a regional contract company as crew boss for one of four T2s. All thoughts and opinions above are those of the author and do not constitute the opinion of this site or the U.S. government.




Monday, December 21, 2015

IGNITE: Taking Care of Your People

Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge. –Simon Sinek

Leadership is not about being in charge. Leadership is about taking care of those in your charge. –Simon Sinek
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Thursday, December 17, 2015

IGNITE: Where Do You Stand?

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2016 Wildland Fire National Leadership Campaign - Never Stop Learning

2016 Wildland Fire National Leadership Campaign - Never Stop Learning

The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) is proud to announce we launched the 2016 Wildland Fire National Leadership Campaign - Never Stop Learning from the 2015 Training and Education Symposium in Denver, CO. This year's theme is Never Stop Learning 

For 2016, the campaign will focus on the importance of continually learning and growing. Participants from various disciplines will be challenged to share their continuous learning stories and success through the IGNITE the Spark for Leadership - From the Field Challenge. 

Visit the WFLDP website to download your copy of the 2016 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge—Never Stop Learning Reference Guide

********************************************

Mission: The mission of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program is “to promote cultural change in the workforce and to emphasize the vital importance of leadership concepts in the wildland fire service by providing educational and leadership development opportunities.” The campaign provides potential local or self-directed leadership development resources focused on a central theme with the intent of strengthening the wildland fire service and the community as a whole.

Theme: 
The theme for the 2016 campaign is Never Stop Learning. The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program recognizes learning as a fundamental process in becoming and remaining leaders. Leaders are focused on continual improvement; they seek out and assimilate best practices that improve themselves and their organizations.

Task: Provide an opportunity for personnel at the local level—whether collectively or through self-development—to focus leadership development activities relating to the national challenge theme: Never Stop Learning.

Purpose: 

  • To foster a cohesive effort to promote leadership development across disciplines.
  • To provide a template that can be used to encourage leadership development at the local unit level.
  • To provide a mechanism to collect innovative leadership development efforts and share across disciplines.
End State: Creation of a culture that willingly shares innovative leadership development efforts in order to maintain superior interdisciplinary leadership.

Dates of Challenge: Any time between January 1, 2016, and November 30, 2016.

Length of Challenge: Determined locally to meet the goals and the objectives of the local unit or team.

Audience: The target audience is all wildland fire personnel—line-going and support; however, we encourage other disciplines to IGNITE the Spark for Leadership and take the challenge.

Implementation: The campaign is flexible. Local units or teams may use or adapt any or all materials contained within this document or develop a program or activity spotlighting the campaign theme. Campaign coordinators are encouraged to think outside the confines of the template and develop a program that meets local and individual needs. Innovation should fuel your challenge delivery: workshops or tailgate sessions, to kick off staff meetings, as a team activity or self-directed, etc.

Measuring Success: 

  • Local: Local unit leaders and managers will determine what “success” looks like and how participation will be recognized by those involved. 
Recognizing Local Unit Participation: 
  • A sample certificate is available at the end of this document to acknowledge students of fire participating in the leadership challenge at the local level.


IGNITE the Spark for Leadership Challenge – From the Field for the Field

Throughout the nation, leaders are building teams and developing their people using tools they have found or developed themselves. Imagine if our leaders and their subordinates shared their experiences and successes with each other.  Consider the possibility of going to a website and having a ready-made palette of leadership development tools from which to choose—items from the field for the field.

The IGNITE the Spark for Leadership – From the Field for the Field Challenge is intended to be one of the mechanisms used to collect innovative leadership development efforts to be shared across disciplines.

The challenge is an optional component of the Wildland Fire National Leadership Campaign and is NOT limited to entities with a tie to the wildland fire service. Items to submit:
  • Contact information:
    • Name of participating unit/team
    • Point of contact (POC) name
    • POC contact information (telephone, physical address, and e-mail)
    • Number of individuals participating
  • Brief description of campaign activities
    • Supplementary materials, including, but not limited to, photos, videos, and information used in the campaign.
  • Promote your leadership campaign through social media networks such as blogs, Facebook, and Twitter.  Contact the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee Campaign and Social Media Coordinator for inclusion on the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program social media platforms.
Send your campaign documentation to:
  • Mail:

NWCG Leadership Subcommittee Campaign and Social Media Coordinator
Attention: Pam McDonald
3833 South Development Avenue
Boise, ID 83705

Questions:
  • Telephone: 208-387-5318

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dirk Charley on Motivating the Guardians of the Forest


Leadership and Motivation from The Smokey Generation on Vimeo.

Motivation and Expectations

Leaders understand that people derive motivation from individual values and needs; others cannot force a person to be motivated any more than one person can force another to change. However, we recognize that leaders are responsible for putting in place the conditions in which people are motivated to act.

To create these conditions, fire leaders start by taking the time to learn about our people—understanding their internal motivations and accepting them as unique individuals.

In addition, leaders keep in mind that each team member has expectations regarding the benefits—overt as well as intrinsic—they will receive from their work.

Many barriers can prevent people’s expectations from being met: poor relationships with their peers, intrusive supervision, inadequate resources, or work without meaning.

Fire leaders work to reduce barriers and increase benefits such as giving people a sense of achievement, recognizing accomplishments, resolving unhealthy conflict, providing meaningful work, increasing the responsibilities, and offering opportunities for advancement.

[Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, pp. 46-47]

******************************************* 
What is your story? We challenge you to become a part of this amazing  project and share your leadership stories. Bethany Hannah began The Smokey Generation: A Wildland Fire Oral History and Digital Storytelling Project for her master's thesis. All members of the wildland fire service, not just hotshots, can share their stories by following her example. Click here for potential leadership questions. Visit The Smokey Generation website for complete information.

The Smokey Generation logo

Monday, December 14, 2015

IGNITE: Heart before Hand

Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand.  –John Maxwell
Leaders touch a heart before they ask for a hand. – John Maxwell

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Thursday, December 10, 2015

IGNITE: Credibility Counts!

Leaders of people act to develop credibility as leaders: placing the team ahead of themselves, demonstrating trustworthiness, mastering essential technical skills, and instilling the values of the organization in their teams. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 23
Leaders of people act to develop credibility as leaders: placing the team ahead of themselves, demonstrating trustworthiness, mastering essential technical skills, and instilling the values of the organization in their teams. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 23
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership ‪#‎fireminis


http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Are You Aware of Your Biases?



Biases cloud a leader's judgment and decision making. Self-awareness and accountability are the keys successfully navigating the leadership journey. Are you have a blind spot for any of these?

Self-serving Bias - any cognitive or perceptual process that is distorted by the need to maintain and enhance self-esteem, or the tendency to perceive oneself in an overly favorable manner (D.G. Myers via Wikipedia)

Tip: Be with friends who keep you grounded.

Cognitive fluency - Cognitive fluency refers to the subjective experience of the ease or difficulty of completing a mental task. It refers not to the mental process itself, but rather the feeling people associate with the process. (UX Matters)

Tip: If it sounds good, question it.
Tip: If it sounds good...question it.

Sunk cost fallacy - Phenomenon where people justify increased investment in a decision, based on the cumulative prior investment, despite new evidence suggesting that the cost, starting today, of continuing the decision outweighs the expected benefit. (Wikipedia)

Tip: Focus on future cost and benefits

Confirmation bias - The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms one's beliefs or hypotheses, while giving disproportionately less consideration to alternative possibilities (Scott Plous via Wikipedia).

Tip: Search for contradictory evidence.

Monday, December 7, 2015

IGNITE: Be The Leader You Wish You Had

Be the leader you wish you had. –Simon Sinek

Be the leader you wish you had. – Simon Sinek

IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership ‪#‎fireminis
http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Thursday, December 3, 2015

IGNITE: Trust & Respect

To be effective, leaders must earn the trust and respect of others. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 5
To be effective, leaders must earn the trust and respect of others. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 5
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership ‪#‎fireminis

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

BLM Hotshot Receives Kevin Hull Fire Leadership Award

The BLM Nevada State Leadership Team annually recognizes a fire employee with the Kevin Hull Fire Leadership Award. Kevin Hull was the Nevada State Fire Management Officer from 1996 to 2005. Upon Kevin's retirement he presented the State Leadership Team with a challenge: to reward excellence in fire leadership throughout BLM Nevada.
2015 Silver State Hotshots
2015 Silver State Hotshots
On October 21, Marci Todd, Nevada Associate State Director presented Chris Boyer the Kevin Hull Fire Leadership Award. Chris is a member of the Silver State Hotshots.

"This award recognizes excellence in fire leadership by an individual or group of individuals who are nominated by their peers or supervisors," said Paul Petersen, Acting State Fire Management Officer. "This annual traveling award is housed at the district office of the recognized leader until November of the following year."

"Chris has promoted leadership development not only for his crew, but for the whole State of Nevada's BLM fire organization," said Jonathan Palma, Acting Carson City Fire Management Officer. "Chris's efforts continue to strive to advance our understanding of leadership and promote a culture of learning."
Paul Petersen, Acting State Fire Management Officer, Chris Boyer, Kevin Hull Fire Award recipient and Marci Todd, Nevada Associate State Director
Paul Petersen, Acting State Fire Management Officer, Chris Boyer, Kevin Hull Fire Award recipient and Marci Todd, Nevada Associate State Director
Chris came to the Silver State Hotshot Crew in 2012 as a lead firefighter and brought a unique amount of passion and enthusiasm for the job. In 2012, Chris attended Critical Incident Situation Management (CISM) training and during the 2013 fire season he was called on to support the Winema Interagency Hotshot Crew (IHC) after the events of the Freeze Out Ridge Fire where a member of the crew was seriously injured in a remote area and survived due to the use of the Traverse Rescue System (TRS). This system uses a Kendrick Extraction Device to immobilize the patient before placing the person into a traverse rescue stretcher to a harness which lifts the patient into the helicopter hovering above.

Chris doesn't just lead in the medical realm and the training arena; he has emerged as the physical leader of the crew. Chris has brought new and challenging physical trainings to the crew and uses his physical strength and conditioning to make everyone around him better. He consistently mentors the young firefighters on the crew, takes time during the off season to train with them and helps them to develop and realize their full potential.
Justin Cutler, Silver State Hotshot Assistant Superintendent and Chris Boyer, Kevin Hull Fire Award recipient
Justin Cutler, Silver State Hotshot Assistant Superintendent and Chris Boyer, Kevin Hull Fire Award recipient
"As the 2014 recipient of the Kevin Hull Fire Leadership Award, I can say there is no one in NV BLM that I have worked around in the past season that is more deserving of this award than Chris Boyer," said Justin Cutler, Silver State Hotshot Assistant Superintendent.

Chris is currently signed up to instruct at the apprentice academy during the winter of 2015-16 and is spearheading a recruitment and outreach program for the Carson City District in an attempt to bring more diversity into the BLM's hiring pool. Chris also assists younger firefighters in developing their resumes and job applications for opportunities in the next fire season.

Story and photos by Lisa Ross, Public Affairs Specialist
****************************************************
Reprinted from BLM Daily, November 25, 2015

Monday, November 30, 2015

IGNITE: Ability, Motivation & Attitude

Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it. – Lou Holtz
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Thursday, November 26, 2015

IGNITE: Building Strong Teams

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.  –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 45
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. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 45
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

What Kind of Investment Have You Made in You?

One of the comments we hear from a lot of wildland firefighters attending our leadership courses is, "I wish I had taken this course earlier in my career." Leadership preparation is more than a course and doesn't begin the day you accept a leadership role or position.  More often than not, individuals are thrust into leadership because of a situation or event. In order to be prepared, individuals must invest in themselves early in life.

Did you notice I said "life" and not "career"? Leadership development may or may not be something you do for your job. Whether in our job or our personal life, we all have had, or will have, the opportunity to influence others. Whether by authority or decision to lead, individuals should be ready for the call to lead.



Investing in Yourself

The theme of the 2016 Wildland Fire National Leadership Campaign is "Never Stop Learning." One way to prepare for the call to leadership is to adopt a plan of continuous learning. Effective leaders are always looking for new resources to expand their minds and hone old skills or develop new ones. Prudent leaders should heed the advice of financial planners and invest early and often, and then watch the fruits of their efforts grow.

Here is a short list of things can you do to invest in yourself:
  • Read
  • Write
  • Study
  • Volunteer
  • Define yourself
  • Develop a new skill
  • Acknowledge your talents
  • Spend time by and for yourself
  • Devote time to your development
  • Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone
Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge


Monday, November 23, 2015

IGNITE: Continuous Learning

Leadership is not an expertise. Leadership is a constant education.  –Simon Sinek

Leadership is not an expertise. Leadership is a constant education. – Simon Sinek
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ron Garcia on Professionalism


Professionals from The Smokey Generation on Vimeo.

Art of Leadership

Leaders deeply affect people and organizations, both positively and negatively. Accidental leaders, who have little interest or enthusiasm for leadership responsibilities or self-improvement, can inhibit people’s growth and reduce the effectiveness of their organizations.

Conversely, committed leaders, avid pupils of the art of leadership, 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 also includes being able to view the larger picture—discerning how to turn a weakness into a strength, gauging what is and is not within our control. Leaders constantly balance the known and unknown as well as danger and opportunity to find ways to gain the advantage.

Ultimately, the art of leadership requires successfully balancing many factors in the real world, based on the situation at hand, to achieve a successful outcome.

Occasionally, leaders may be required to provide authoritative, autocratic, tightly controlled direction that requires immediate obedience. But most of the time, leaders inspire, guide, and support their subordinates, gaining their commitment to the vision and mission and encouraging them, within established limits, to perform creatively.

The leadership challenge in the wildland fire service is to influence people to accomplish tasks and objectives under confusing, dangerous, and ambiguous conditions. Leaders balance the risks against the potential gains of any decision and action. Because of the inherent complexity of this world, many times they face morally difficult decisions—with high-stakes consequences— alone, unable to receive guidance from a chain of command.

At these moments, fire leaders rely on values and judgment and apply the art of leadership.

[Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, pp. 9-10]

******************************************* 
What is your story? We challenge you to become a part of this amazing  project and share your leadership stories. Bethany Hannah began The Smokey Generation: A Wildland Fire Oral History and Digital Storytelling Project for her master's thesis. All members of the wildland fire service, not just hotshots, can share their stories by following her example. Click here for potential leadership questions. Visit The Smokey Generation website for complete information.

The Smokey Generation logo

Thursday, November 19, 2015

IGNITE: When We Fail

When we make mistakes, we handle them in honorable and effective ways, fixing the immediate problem then searching for root causes.  –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 64
When we make mistakes, we handle them in honorable and effective ways, fixing the immediate problem then searching for root causes. – Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 64
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How Good is Your SA?

Making Sound and Timely Decisions 

To make sound and timely decisions, fire leaders assess the situation, seek out relevant information, weigh options, make judgments, and initiate action as required to create a positive outcome within inevitable time constraints. 

The cornerstone of good decision making is good situation awareness. Leaders can increase their decision space by attaining and maintaining good situation awareness. Decision space is simply the amount of time that a decision maker has for considering options before reaching a required decision point. 

Leaders can optimize their decision space by using time efficiently. Seeking advance information in new situations or utilizing standard operating procedures for routine tasks are examples of techniques that make good use of available time. 

In the wildland fire environment, decisions have serious consequences and often can have life-or-death implications for others. With so much on the line, we have a responsibility to understand the decision-making process—the components, the flow, the effect of time— and to develop the skills and confidence that enables us to make the best decision possible with the information and time available. 

Situation Awareness Cycle


Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge: Digging a Little Deeper

  • Observation: As you watch the video below. Stop the video before the scene changes are revealed. Replay the video to the same point notifying your audience to watch for set changes. Stop before the reveal and have your audience identify things that changed. How many of the items did the participants identify? Show the scene change reveal and compare to the audience's answers.

  • Discuss how this phenomenon can affect your safety on the fireline and ways of mitigating gaps in situation awareness.

Monday, November 16, 2015

IGNITE: Management vs. Leadership

Management works in the system; leadership works on the system.  –Stephen Covey
Management works in the system; leadership works on the system. - Stephen Covey
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

http://www.fireleadership.gov/

Friday, November 13, 2015

35 Staff Graduate BLM Leadership Academy

One year ago, 35 BLM employees began a professional and personal development journey as part of the BLM's premier leadership development program. Leadership Academy is one of several employee development training programs offered by the BLM National Training Center (NTC) in Phoenix for employees desiring to advance their leadership skills.
The curriculum is organized around the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM's) Executive Core Qualifications. These five qualifications – leading change, leading people, results driven, business acumen, and building coalitions – provide the framework for the OPM's 28 leadership competencies, which the BLM has endorsed.
The graduates of the 2015 BLM Leadership Academy.
The graduates of the 2015 BLM Leadership Academy.
As recent graduate Richard Fields, Assistant Field Manager at the Oklahoma Field Office, stated, "BLM's Leadership Academy does not create leaders. They are drawn to the program. What it does, and does well, is give leaders the tools and training to be successful leaders for the BLM."
The participant's journey began at the NTC where participants spent a week assessing their leadership capabilities, learning how to apply leadership theories in practice, and developing strategies to help them become more effective leaders. From there, participants spent the next 10 months completing course assignments such as working on important team projects to benefit the BLM, presenting results of team projects to the Field Committee and Executive Leadership Team, completing a minimum 60-day detail, and shadowing and interviewing admired leaders.
Leadership Academy students in session.
Leadership Academy students in session.
According to Richard White, Assistant Field Manager at the Vale District Office in Oregon, "Leadership Academy reinforced the importance of relationships and taking full advantage of every opportunity the BLM provides. The Academy expanded my network of colleagues who I can reach out to and created lifelong friendships."
Jeff Brune, Manager of BLM's Campbell Creek Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska, remarked, "My D.C. details with Public Affairs and the Division of Education, Interpretation, and Partnerships were fantastic! My projects were demanding, but we developed systems and products that I feel will bring value to the people of this great agency and the public we serve. I have a renewed sense of purpose for the BLM and for public service."
Leadership Academy students in session.
Leadership Academy students in session.
Finally, after committing hundreds of hours and mountains of energy to complete the coursework and detail requirements, their journey ended in Washington DC with Political and Organizational Realities training. The training was capped off with inspiring speeches by DOI Assistant Secretary for Lands and Minerals Janice Schneider and BLM Deputy Director Steve Ellis, followed by the crescendo moment the participants eagerly anticipated – GRADUATION! Linda Lance, BLM's Acting Deputy Director of Planning and Resources, proudly confirmed their achievements with words of congratulations and handed out graduation certificates to each of the 35 Leadership Academy graduates.
When asked if all the effort and hard work was worth it, Leadership Academy graduate Michelle Ryerson, Field Manager at the Owyhee Field Office in Idaho, exclaimed, "Yes! It surpassed my expectations. I highly encourage future leaders of the BLM to participate!"
To learn more about the BLM's Leadership Academy, contact the National Training Center Leadership Academy Coordinator at 602-906-5628. Or, ask a recent Leadership Academy Graduate!
Congratulations to the members of the 2015 Leadership Academy Graduating Class:
Tauqeer Aslam
Amanda Dodson
Edward Kender
Gregory Miller
Charles Russell
Matthew Azhocar
Al Elser
Lori Kimball
Stephanie Miller
Michelle Ryerson
Jeff Brune
Paris Everson
Jeff Kitchens
Leanne Phillips
Robyn Shoop
Elizabeth Burghard
Richard Fields
Todd Kuck
Jill Ralston
Anna Sisson
Marjorie Chiles
Melissa Garcia
Eric Lepisto
Beth Ransel
Megan Stouffer
Byron Clayton
Lenore Heppler
Shane McDonald
Aaron Rasmussen
Richard White
Dana Dennison
Rebecca Hunt
Stacie McIntosh
Kimberly Rose
Kevin Wright
 Story by Patti Klein, Acting Leadership Development Training Coordinator
****************************************
Reprinted from The BLM Daily from 10/20/15.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

IGNITE: Commitment

A team is a group of people who may not be equal in experience, talent, or education but in commitment. –Patricia Fripp
A team is a group of people who may not be equal in experience, talent, or education but in commitment. – Patricia Fripp
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Unity through Harmony

Boulder County Sheriff's Office
(Photo credit: Boulder Country Sheriff's Office)
One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is team building. Taking a group of individuals with different personalities, skills, and experiences and molding them into a cohesive unit is not always an easy task. The leader must assess the strengths and weaknesses and commonalities and differences of each person and determine how each fits into the whole, if they do at all. Building the team may happen quickly or it may take some time.

Consider the following excerpt about a unified effort from Leading in the Wildland Fire Service:
The longer it takes to develop a unified effort, the greater the vacuum of leadership. Delays increase confusion, which in turn magnify the risk to our people and increase the likelihood that people will take unproductive or independent action without understanding the larger intent.
A unified leadership team sends a powerful message: when all leaders follow the same priorities and reinforce leader’s intent through consistent actions and words, our people develop a strong sense of trust for their leaders. It dispels the propensity to second-guess command decisions as subordinates recognize that the leadership team moves as one and is solidly in charge.
Unified in Harmony
Building a team is like playing in a drum circle. From what I have witnessed at the Seattle Center, someone shows up with a drum and starts playing. The next thing you know there are hundreds of people drumming away. Now there may very well have been a leader who picked the venue and notified the drummers, but what happens after they converge is pure magic.

There is no sheet music. There doesn't seem to be a set of rules or procedures. People come and people go. In this group, no two drummers are the same. As one would say "each marches to the beat of a different drum." Even though each person creates his/her own tune, he/she relies upon one another to create the musical experience. Unique individuals unify into one harmonious group. The beauty of harmony is that each person is part of the beautiful whole just as they are. They do not have to fit a certain mold in order to be a part of the group. Most importantly, a team in harmony can be unified without the barriers and stigma of uniformity or the heavy hand of a demanding leader.

Look what happens when a team is harmonious and not just acting in unison.



Building the Team

Fire leaders build cohesive teams—not simply groups of individuals putting forth individual efforts—to accomplish missions in high-risk environments.

Cohesive teams are more creative and adaptable when dealing with complex situations. This enables them to detect and mitigate errors before irreparable damage occurs. Cohesion allows team members to anticipate the needs and actions of other team members. This increases efficiency and saves time.

Fire leaders set the stage by creating an environment in which cohesive teams thrive: establishing a foundation of trust, enabling healthy conflict, requiring commitment, setting an expectation of accountability, and bringing focus to the team result.

Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge
Take a moment to assess your team.
  • Are you unified through harmony or unison? Do you think alike? Act alike? Are you clones?
  • Develop innovative ways to bring individuality into the success of your team.
  • Embrace your positive differences and find ways to minimize the negative differences (whatever those may be). 
  • Support one another.

Monday, November 9, 2015

IGNITE: Leaders Face Difficult Problems

Leaders often face difficult problems to which there are no simple, clear cut, by-the-book solutions. –Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 1
Leaders often face difficult problems to which there are no simple, clear cut, by-the-book solutions. –  Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, page 1
IGNITE the Spark for Leadership. LIKE and SHARE throughout your networks. ‪#‎fireleadership‬ ‪#‎fireminis‬

Friday, November 6, 2015

Our Duty: Followership or Feudalism?


In this Leadership Nudge by David Marquet, we get to the root of followership. Every member of the wildland fire service is a follower. We all have a duty to follow the principles of the mission regardless of our position in the organization.

Duty: Accomplishing the Mission
(Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 25)

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. 

The unpredictable nature of our work environment means that any team member could be at a decisive point. That decisive point may take many forms: a choice of divergent options in a tactical plan or a chance encounter with a member of the public who happens to be in a position of great influence. The results of that choice or interaction—good or bad— could have a profound effect on the wildland fire service. We take it upon ourselves to make sure our effect is a positive one, no matter what the mission may be.

How Do We Do It?

Duty: Be proficient in your job, both technically and as a leader.

Duty: Make sound and timely decisions.

Duty: Ensure that tasks are understood, supervised, and accomplished.

Duty: Develop your subordinates for the future.


Download the 2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge - Followership is Leadership Reference Guide and make a commitment to self-develop and growth.

2015 Wildland Fire Leadership Challenge logo