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.

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