Congratulations you are now a newly promoted company officer! Now what? How are you going to set the tone of your company? Listed below is what I feel are of the biggest mistakes you can make to ensuring a fundamental breakdown of your crew.
Setting Your People Up Towards Failure – Setting Goals and Objectives
We have all heard of the saying “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”. It is very important to sit down with the crew and outline goals. Some goals can be as simple as increasing reaction time upon receipt of the alarm. Gearing up and getting out the door a little bit quicker for example. New officers often set goals and then fail to explain how to achieve them. Everyone must be on the same page, sit the crew down and identify weaknesses that can be improved upon.
Be aware of unattainable goals or standards set to high. Do not set your people up for failure.
Not Being Technically or Tactically Proficient – Orient and Train Your Personnel
Nothing screams laziness more than saying “I was never trained” or “no one ever told me”! As an officer it is your responsibility to train your personnel on how to operate within the department’s standard operating guidelines and policies. Seek a well rounded education from academies, conventions, publications, and networking. It is also imperative that you know your departments’ mission statement and strive to live up to it every chance you get.
Not Setting the Proper Example – Be the Leader They Need!
As a leader you set the standard by personal example. Appearance, attitude, physical fitness and personal attitude are all watched. Conduct yourself so that your personal habits are not open to criticism. Do not set the double example by having the “do as I say, not as I do attitude”! Delegate authority and avoid over-supervision, show your people that you are willing to do the same things you ask them to. Promote the spirit of initiative and maintain an optimistic outlook.
Passing the Buck – Seek and Take Responsibility for Your Actions
Seeking responsibilities means that you own your actions and don’t forget that you are responsible for your people’s actions as well as your own. Stick by your convictions, but accept justified constructive criticism. Don’t throw people under the bus. Try and take every opportunity that offers increased responsibility. Always perform at your best and the reward will be bigger opportunities.
Being a Poor Motivator – The Characteristics of a Good Motivator
Often time’s new officers ask why the crew doesn’t respect me? Why can’t I get them to want to train? You have to obtain credibility. Gain it by being sincere and believable. Show that you are competent by knowing what you are talking about and understand what it is that you are asking of people. Have capability that you know enough about what you are asking to be able to make the situation safe and the expectation realistic. Have the control to create the safe environment and confidence in your people’s judgment and skill.
Photo contributed by Brett Dzadik (brettsfirephotos.com)