I am starting a new project. What I need is your viewpoints on what you believe made you a leader in your fire department. Rank doesn't matter. If you possess the qualities, then you are a leader. What are those qualities? I would like those interested to send me their article along with a biography of yourself. I may have follow up questions for you. This is my cold weather project. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can be found @ http://community.fireengineering.com/profiles/blog/show?id=1219672%....
I am on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/ChiefReason?ref=hl.
I can also be found on Twitter @ArtGoodrich.
Wouldn't humility be a significant quality for a good leader? If so, then wouldn't leadership qualities be best talked about someone else as opposed to oneself?
John: of course humility would be a quality that helps to define a leader.
I am not asking participants to "brag" about themselves.
I want to know such things as: who was your mentor? What attracted you to them? Was it their leadership qualities? Did you adopt their world view of firefighting? What were they? What drove you to becoming a leader in your fire department?
Think of all of the books that have been written about leadership and what the author was describing were the qualities that they imbued.
I have had some very good replies so far.
Let me start from the bottom and work up to your question...What made me a leader was a combination of frustration and encouragement. My wife had to endure my criticisms over the years of the way things were run or the issues I felt were not being addressed, while progressing through the ranks. Her words "Get an education and seek promotion if that is how changes are made" I did and was and she is correct.
Mentors, Alan Brunacini, every bad officer I ever worked under, every good officer I ever enjoyed working for, Michael Abrashoff USN, and my family. I adopted much of Bruno's world view, but learned quite a bit from two very dynamic fire and life safety educators Pam Powell of NFPA (at the time) and Carol Gross with Phoenix Fire.
Bruno taught me to look at the fire service simply as practicing to be nice and doing for others the way you would want it done to you and your family. Abrashoff in his book "It's Your Ship" and from his personal advice to me Listen to the troops, they are talented and simply want to be acknowleged. The bad officers showed me what I never want to do to get ahead, to lead, to manage etc. The good ones, the qaulities I wanted to emulate as a leader, trust, humility, enthusiasm and compassion. The two educators taught me to assess my communitiy's needs and the needs of the people that work for me equally, they are both important. One to determine what resources you need to be successful and how to help people get those resources or aspire to attain them. Two, that you must constantly evaluate. It is how you determine success and strive for improvement.
Finally the question what made me a leader? Everyone's success reflects upon me as their leader. The people that work with you and for you will become successful with motivation, encouragement and recognition. You will be considered a great leader because of their successes. This ultimately leads to a successful organization. I found the more empowerment or control I gave to people, the more they progressed and succeeded. The more they succeeded the more they wanted to do and the more the organization and those people received recognition for the work. I have a saying in my fire department and every where I have been a Chief " I don't care who gets the credit as long as we achieve what we set out to do" Seems to work the more control I gave up, the more things got done.
If it all sounds too simple, it really is. Enjoy and thanks for the educational and entertaining articles.
Thanks for your reply John. I will add it to my data base.
To everyone else: replies have been slow to come in.
I understand that you may hesitate out of the uncertainty of whether OTHERS regarded you as a leader.
Let me ask you this: do you believe fire service leaders like Bobby Halton, Erich Roden, Ray McCormick, Mike Dugan, Rick Lasky, John Salka, Frank Viscuso, Brannigan, Dunn, Montagna and on and on were dealing with humility issues when they took their leadership roles in their respective departments?
Where those thoughts come into play is when they are considering writing a book or speaking at seminars, conferences, etc.
Have others outside their department regarded them as leaders as well?
For many; that becomes obvious.
And with Leadership, their will always be two camps: those who regard you as a good leader and those who don't.
So, I hope that I have given some of you food for thought.
Submit your paper to me.