Leadership. Such a loaded word in the fire service and everyone is talking about it, including me. When you bring up fire service leadership, it brings up a myriad of issues surrounding the craft.
If I’m honest, I’ve even questioned whether I truly understand it. I have my opinions. However, those opinions are grounded in my experiences and sometimes someone else’s theories. With that said; what makes me right? How do we effectively measure good leadership in the fire service? Especially when everyone’s opinions and experiences can differ greatly over the course of ones career.
I’m over here preaching leadership daily…I tell people what they should and shouldn’t do in the fire service. “Lead from the Jump Seat! Do this and you’ll be a good leader! However, if you don’t then you’re a bad leader.” I mean seriously, who made me judge and jury? Why do I get to say who is qualified to lead? Am I just a self proclaimed leader who solely believes that my opinions on leadership in the fire service are always right?
I look back on my career and hope that I have proved myself as a leader to those around me. I haven’t lead well in every area, but at the end of the day I feel I’ve done ok. I’ve said multiple times over my career that I don’t care what people think, but that’s not true. I hope they’ve been able to see through the rough exterior and have caught a glimpse of my desire to lead myself and others well.
So, what’s the measure of a good leader? What makes me qualified to lead you? Are you not more qualified to lead me? Can we really land on one solid definition in the fire service? Are we all self proclaimed leaders that are more concerned with being seen as leaders than actually leading? Some days I’m not sure, and today it’s challenging me. We’re out here teaching leadership like it’s something that can be taught, when the best examples of leadership in my life were exampled in front of me…