Many of us on this site are new officers or experienced officers. As a new officer I (along with others here) are always looking to learn from our senior/experienced officers. I also know that the experienced officers are always looking to improve.
I would like to know what your two tips are for a new company officer.
Take leadership courses, listen,observe what the senior officers do , lead by example, be serious about your new or old position but have fun with it, also everyday ,every call is a learning experiance , retain what you learn and pass it on to others because they are your future , it is lonely at the top only if you make that way ,
The single best piece of advice that was given to me as a new officer was to set the tone immediately. I was a new officer and much younger than any of my new crew. The crew had some issues in the past. I laid out all my expectations in my first meeting very clearly. Things have been smooth ever since. If I was passing along advice, I would include that, along with: "You are there to bring calm to every situation, if you're not sure what to do, at least make it look like you know what you're doing." I witnessed what happens when this advice is not followed. When another officer panics, everyone else panics.
1. As a 5th generation firefigher entering his 23rd year of service, there are still days when I find myself not having enough experience and thus must rely on common sense, the advice of those I trust, and erring in favor of the safety of my firefighters.
2. Trust but validate. You assign it to get done so trust that it will but it never hurts to check that it has been accomplished as the responsibility will fall on you.
For the experienced officer:
1. Learn when to keep your mouth shut and let 'em learn by experience.
2. Identify young talent early and become a mentor to the next generation.
Remember that they gave you a badge, not a brain. You don't know it all and never will. Other people below you have a lot to offer.
If you are in a situation and feel something is not right, then go with your instinct and re-evaluate what you are doing. Many great officers pulled their firefighters out of a building just prior to collapse. When asked why they pulled them out, there answer was, Something didn't feel right."
Brennan, I'm in my 50th year in The Fire Service. As a past chief and state fire instructor, I 've developed a sort of Officer 101 pitch I like to share with new Lts. and Capts. It goes like this. There are a ton of officers out there who have slept through all the NIMS/ICS classes required of leaders and never picked up on the fact that one of the single most important responsibilities of leadership is to DELEGATE. We usually choose those by whom we want to be lead because they have proven themselves as compitent task masters. Generally they are accustomed to doing the job themselves and doing it right. The idea of asking for help or giving a job away is foriegn to them. There are officers who will walk from one end of the fire ground to the other to complete some task themselves. In the process, they may pass several well trained and qualified eager subordinates who were waiting to practice their skills. We dont elect officers we want to watch. We elect officers we would be willing to serve. When an officer denies a member an opportunity to serve, he also takes away that members incentive to serve. As an officer, it is no longer "Charlie, bring me that axe so I can breach this wall." As an officer, it must be "Charlie, bring your axe over here and breach this wall." Big difference. Huge help to the team. Thanks for the opportunity. Pete
Whenever possible I have my crews work with me instead of for me. This seems to go a long way, especially during the mundane station duties! Never hide! Its hard to set an example behind a closed door. Listen, but more importantly ask. The trust comes from communication. Most importantly own your mistakes! We work as a company, we succeed as a company. We as officers are only as good as the personnel that support us. Make sure the credit goes to those who deserve it!
We all know what the standards are for officer training,by only doing the minimum you will only have a minimal effect on the success of your department. You are not only cheating yourself by not continuing your leadership training, you are cheating those who look to you for leadership! A wise Captian told me " If you run out of training, its time to retire!"