One of the biggest morale killers in the firehouse can be the negative attitude or behavior of a single firefighter. Negativity loves Company!  Now if you are a fire officer who works for a fire department who does not offer you a professional development program, how are you expected to better yourself and your subordinates? FETC Services delivered a live talk radio show on the subject matter. You can hear the archived podcast here:

 

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireengineeringtalkradio/2011/06/22/ep...

 

Hope everyone had a safe and wonderful 4th of July.  We would love to hear what you think of the show.

 

FETC 

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I always say to people who come to me with a problem, I would love to hear your issue but I want you to come to the table with a solution. From my side of the coin, that "mentors" the firefighter to identify, assess, and problem solve an issue. If I fix your problem myself, you learned less.

Flip side of the coin, if you bring me a well thought out solution, I will understand how important the issue is to begin with.

And if the fire officer has very little leadership abilities, you are now mentoring him or her from below.
Fortunately it's a rare occasion when someone comes to me with a problem. The problems generally don't exist to begin with, or they're solved by the men before they even come to my attention.

On those rare occasions when I have had to involve myself, it generally involved a junior member (who tend to be the one's with issues) and I've found that they definitely need someone to solve their problem. Their solutions are often unrealistic, unworkable, or unreasonable - or all three. It's useful to get them to think about how to handle these issues on their own, but their lack of experience limits them, is often part of the problem, and is usually the reason they need the captain to earn his pay and handle things for them. It just comes with the territory.
we as a group need solidarity and voice our opinion positiviely and not one guy screaming about how he is getting the wrong end of the deal. If this guy is spreading his own personal disatisfaction to the rest of his crew, and it is affecting said crew's make-up, job performance, and dynamics,

I agree with the issue that we can't control the uncontrollable and do still need to push forward despite getting the raw deal. I can understand the analogy if one person feels they are "more" wronged or affected more and that can lead to crew issues. However, my comments on such things is based off some of the other comments about just turning the negative into a positive etc, etc. Morale issues do affect much of the personal attributes going on in a station, dept, city or even shop, company, etc.

When you have the political landscape and the unprecidented attacks, by many who are absolutely clueless on this job, it is tough to just grin and bear it. Then couple that with drivel from elected officials who say they value you as an employee, but then turn around and look to attack you any way they can. Yes, there will be more negativity when there is low morale.
WP - You are right on. The captain is doing his or her job in that case and mentoring the junior to learn from your experience. Sometimes we have to let them run the course even though their suggestions are unrealistic. But that is perfect for letting them feel as though their thoughts are important. It is when the officer turns the cheek and sweeps it under the carpet hoping for a fire to resolve the low morale. That is not fixing anything.

Like you said, comes with the terrority of being the officer.
Amen! (Just to clarify, when I used the term "junior member", it was to denote a newer guy, as opposed to a more seasoned one. There are no Junior/Explorer-types in the PFD).
WP - Totally knew what you mean't.

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