Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Leadership -- More Than Numbers

person made of numbers and symbols
(Photo credit: Solution Tree)
"Leadership is the art of influencing people in order to achieve a result. The most essential element for success in the wildland fire service is good leadership." - Leading in the Wildland Fire Service, p. 1)

As many of our followers are well aware, the main mechanism for communicating information about the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) is through our social media platforms. In this digital age, organizations would be remiss if they didn't use the tools available to them.

However, with social media comes competition--with others as well as self. The "value" of your social media presence is often measured by the number of followers a page has. But do numbers  really matter?

When we launched Facebook, we set a goal of 1,000 followers within a year. We had a silent spirit of friendly competition with other wildland fire pages. They were growing faster than ours. What were they doing that we weren't? Try as we might, the 1K goal was illusive. We did finally hit the goal a few months later.

After we hit that 1K goal, we followed the wise counsel of one of our followers who stressed value is not in a number. The true measure of leadership is influence (as commonly stated by John Maxwell). Following our goal attainment, we switched to analyzing our influence. Who are our followers? What type of post results in dialogue? How far does our reach extend beyond wildland fire? What works and what doesn't?   

We now have over 8,000 followers on Facebook and still get excited when we approach a milestone. However, we rarely know by a "like" or a "share" whether or not the follower read our post or simple hit the button. Students of fire and leadership--those truly committed to development and making a difference in the world around them--take the time and effort to read the information and contribute to the post with a comment. Our focus is on what happens with a like or share not in the number of likes and shares (although we still do take note).

What matters in leadership is the influence--good or bad--you have on others. We hope you lead in a positive direction and make a difference in the world around you.

Wildand Fire Leadership Challenge
How do you define your value? Your crews or team?

Take a moment to discuss what matters. What gives you or your crew/team value? Is it the number of chains you produce? The number of task books you complete? The number of hours your work?

If you are defined by a number, we challenge you to think about increasing your influence factor. How can you make the world around you a better place?

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