Category Archives: Leadership

True Leadership: Paul Combs

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“Determination will conquer any obstacle!”

Paul Combs, hits the nail right on the head!

Whiner Cut-Off!

Great image I found on the Net.

Whether paid or volunteer, firefighter or the public;  we have all been down this road…. Some like to linger and others use it as a mile marker???

 Where are you?

Why is Bathing Like Motivation?

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The great motivational speaker and business pitchman Zig Ziglar was quoted: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

How would that apply to us in emergency management?

Why is Bathing Like Motivation??? I’m glad you asked that question.

The point, I believe, that Ziglar was trying to make is that you cannot go long without a bath or personal hygiene; and that motivation is just as necessary.  It is a constant that needs to be in our lives.  But still, how does that correlate to those of us in Emergency Response?

Continue reading Why is Bathing Like Motivation?

Being the Company Officer Doesn’t Make You One – Chief Steven Orusa

Of the countless people who take on various leadership roles in the fire service, how many encounter resistance to their attempts to lead or even hostility, jealousy or unfriendliness. How many find the transition to company officer challenging to say the least? If, being a leader turns out to be a bad experience it is almost always because of the officers own ineffectiveness. The purpose of this presentation is to show you what special skills and methods you must learn to use today’s “model” of effective company officer leadership.

A 29-year public safety veteran, Steven Orusa is the Fire Chief for the Fishers Fire Department. He has a bachelor of science in Law Enforcement Administration and his graduate work is in Human Resource Management. He is a published author and is a frequently invited speaker on public safety leadership and development techniques. He has provided analysis on public safety response for USA Today, Fire Chief Magazine, Fire Engineering Magazine, and has also appeared on BBC, MSNBC, Fox News and CNN to provide expert analysis on disaster response.

Patience???

“If you want to learn patience…practice humility.”

F.M. Tanya Hoover

Check out California State Fire Marshal Tanya Hoover.  I had the great opportunity to meet and speak with Fire Marshal Hoover at an IAFF Instructor Development Conference.  She was personable and dynamic.   This clip is from the Fire Alumni Workshop Series.

The Fire Alumni Events continue to motivate and educate future firefighters in the right direction. These events will prepare you, the candidate, to become a firefighter anywhere in the nation. for Fire Departments across the nation.

FDIC 2016: Call for Presentations

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FDIC2016 Call for Presentations

Still the Greatest (FIRE) Show on Earth.  Deadline for submissions is:

June 19, 2015

National Incident Management System | FEMA.gov

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National Incident Management System | FEMA.gov.

The above link will take you to the Full Guidance Documents & Links

New Book: Dr. Burt Clark – I Can’t Save You, But I’ll Die Trying

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https://www.facebook.com/FireCultureBook

Dr. Burton Clark Is a passionate professional and cares about our noble profession.

Moreover he cares about people and those who will risk their own lives to save them.

From solid factual information or training reluctant firefighters to call a May-Day;  Dr. Clark has been a wealth-spring of knowledge.

All the best…

P.S. – Received my copy this weekend, can’t wait to finish it!

The Chameleon Fire Officer

Mentor, Menace or Mediocre…Make Up Your Mind!

by John Alston

 ChameleonA chameleon is defined as any one of numerous Old World lizards of the family Chamaeleontidae, characterized by the ability to change the color of their skin, very slow locomotion, and a projectile tongue; or a changeable, fickle, or an inconstant person.
Having worked with Firefighters and Fire Officers from several departments, over many years, I continue to hear the same complaint and praises.  The issue is consistency.
The Chameleon Fire Officer: (The one who changes and blends with his/her environment as a defense mechanism.)  Is slow to react.  They can be characterized as fickle, moody and unpredictable.  They may display one aspect of their character as Firefighters; then a different one as a Fire Officer.  At best, they will make one change and you have to live with it; or at worst be one way today and another tomorrow.  I hear this assessment, over and over and over again.  Indecision and inconsistency in the fire station is bothersome yet tolerable.  It can be deadly on the fire-ground.
Let’s look at the three: Mentor, Menace or Mediocre.

MENTOR:

Graphic by Malcolm Alston

Have you adopted the character traits, persona and practices of a mentor.  Someone who is approachable, learned, intuitive, genuinely concerned for the positive growth and development of others?  Are you a good listener?  Do you constantly strive to stay at the top of your game (by study, taking courses and by information sharing); so that you are a valuable and knowledgeable resource to subordinates, colleagues, your superiors, and the public?  Do you help, aid, and assist all members of your service, where-ever you encounter them?  Do you seek genuine opportunities to encourage others?  Do you attempt to turn negatives into positives?

Being a mentor is a selfless act.  It is a continuous process. It is a transparent process. It takes a strong commitment and a lot of work!

MENACE:
Have you adopted the character traits or persona of a Menace?  Are you perceived as one? Let’s face it –many members of our profession are “Type A” personalities. That is a good thing, at times and a horrible attribute at others.  I have met officers that bring hidden and no-so-hidden agendas to the workplace.  Why?When this happens, it clouds their judgement in all aspects of the work environment.  It causes other members of the service to shut down and avoid them.  One of the problems with that is many times those Menacing Officers are in key positions in the organization. LOL.  There is not enough couch time to unpack the psychological “issues” that created this “character”; just know that they are out there.Now, when I say a “Menacing Officer”, I don’t just mean the type that is always lewd, crude and obnoxious.  I don’t even limit that monicker to the one that is “in your face”.  I have met some of the quietest menaces you could find. Their modus operandi is calm, cool and just as menacing as officer who is “out there”.  These quiet, nondescript, “Closet Menacers” (<–poetic license, instead of “Menaces”) have their own way about harassing coworkers and subordinates.  They apply discipline and work assignments, disproportionately.  They play favorites and the “ends against the middle” (Classic divide and conquer).  Some of whom you would think stepped right out of the pages of General Sun Tzu’s, “Art of War” or Niccoli Machiavelli’s, ” The Prince “.  Cold, quiet and calculating.  Yet, a Menace, none the less!
MEDIOCRE:

Have you adopted the attitude, character traits and/or persona of a mediocre officer.  Status Quo is sufficient. It’s the Guy or Gal at the top who caused these problems and only they can fix them.  “Morale is low!”  “You really can’t change things, anyway.”  “Why Try?”  “There’s no benefit or penalty for attempting to improve things.”  “People are people.”  “This new generation of Firefighters are the worst ever!”  “You just have to go along to get along (and get ahead).”  “Things are just fine the way they are.”  “I set my expectations low and that way I am rarely disappointed.”  “Same Circus, Different Clowns!” “I’m just here for the paycheck.”.  Sound like anyone you know?

The Mediocre Officer is indecisive or, at worst, nonchalant. They are not engaging.  They skate by, with everything.  This person takes on the personality trait that they have already arrived or have risen as high as they can.  His/her characteristics are “Laissez-faire” (indifferent, hands-off or do the bare minimum).  One definition of laissez-faire is literal, “let it/them pass”.  Meaning let it along.  Don’t get involved.  Don’t interfere.  Don’t make changes.  Don’t make decisions.  Do you know someone like this?  Is it you???

 Which One is Worse?

Please use the comment section to explain.

Copyright 2015 John Alston. All rights reserved