Read more about Fire Service Professional Development through Succession Planning with Billy Greenwood (FETC) on Fire Engineering...



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Whenever I hear about leadership I think of the Tom Clancy novel "The Hunt For Red October". (the book is better than the movie). Captain Ramius spent years enlisting brother officers disillusioned with their lives under soviet control and created a plan to defect to the US (tell the soviets he was doing it) and then do it. Ramius was so sure he could do it, he tells the officers involved once they set sail to that there would be no second thoughts. in my mind this must so in the fire service that is that everyone must be like minded in order to achieve a role in leadership.

The term Professional Development scares me a little only because if you are taught in house how to manage and supervise people, you sometimes end up with somebody that has a single minded opinion in a job that sometimes requires you to have a broader view

My management began with a company officer that knew I wanted to be an officer and told me to remember "they don't need you to succeed--you need them" so I have allways been a fan of participative management. It worked out well for me because I noticed that my subordinates reacted better when they were involved in the objectives that achieved the overall objectives of the department for that year.

I studied to become a leader from various sources via national seminars and some travel to FDIC and other things not just "in" my department. I know officers and chiefs who totally rely on "what they were taught coming up". They took state fire college classes and passed that on to others in a "professional development mode" usually modified to suit how he wanted his people to lead. some were ok but some simply became products of their environment that is lackluster officers and chiefs

a good leader in my opinion has a good well formed base of knowing how to treat the people under their command, understands how to use time and reasources, gives their people what they need to succeed or achieve their objectives, monitors and helps their progress when needed and holds themselves accountable

Russ, Great points brother... I admit the in-house training aspect can be one dimensional, if all of the officers never seek outside training. The reason most fire departments send officers to advanced schools and seminars is to hopefully bring back that training to the rest of the troops.  I should have been more clear with the officer development module being NOT only our own officer's doing all of the teaching but offering outside trainers as well. Many fire department's miss great opportunities to get outside training through their municipal insurance carriers, all of them offer this type of training and often it is FREE. Many should consider tapping other local resources like other area fire departments, asking fellow chief's who are great leaders to come in and speak. Seeking outside instructors to come and speak on leadership and development.  Human behavior stuff is what is lacking in many of today's non-emergency problems.  Networking is all what you make of it. The in-house portion was meant to mean that the development is much easier to deliver to the masses, if we deliver it in-house and not send one person at a time to a seminar, convention or certified program.  Thanks for the feedback. Stay safe. 

The old way of developing leaders was to let them read it in a book and watch what their bosses did. A system that works great as long as your boss isn't a complete moron. This system had to be the worst possible. As an example: on a Friday night I was a firefighter in Queens NY, on Saturday I was promoted to Lt. and worked that night in lower Manhattan. I spent a month in the field without any formal training, before being sent to Officers Induction training. This consisted of one week training in how to fill out forms and how to hold a roll call. On my promotion to Capt. I recieved absolutely no training, while repeatedly being made acting battalion chief for a tour. Repeated requests for training were ignored. Today the dept has in place an officer training course that covers Lt's, Capt's and Chief officers that is considered the best in the state. It is where other depts send their officers for training. They also use outside training and seminars. The good old days weren't really. 

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