Great Leaders Lead With Influence. Weak Leaders Lead With Their Rank. -David J Soler
If we have been around the block a few times in the fire service, we most likely have had the privilege
of being around some great leaders. The fire service is full them and at all levels. They’re leaders who we all want to work for and will go to battle for.
Leaders We All Want To Work For Lead With Influence
These are leaders who serve and care for us and lead by example. They hold themselves and us accountable to a high level.
They are fair and just. They make this job and what we do an honor to be apart of. We look back on the great experiences we had while on their command. Great memories are usually with influential leaders.
Then we have the rank pulling leaders. We know who they are and they know who they are. They have to use their rank to get their crews to do anything because they have no influence and have not built relationships with there crews. These rank pulling leaders are egotistical which really means their insecure. They have tantrums like 5 year olds and start barking out commands and punishments because they can.
We have to oblige because we are a paramilitary organization and its our responsibility to comply, yet we can’t wait to get away from them, get off there shift or see them retire and go away. They are inconsistent when holding people accountable. How did they even get into that position? (oh, they passed a written test, I forgot)
Moral of this story? Don’t be a rank pulling leader.
Here Are 3 Ways To Lead with Influence.:
1- Set the vision and expectations for your crew/station/unit and clearly explain them.
2- Hold yourself accountable to those expectations then your crew.
Lead by example. Don’t be a “Do as I say not as I do” officer. If we set a punctuality rule, then let us not break it. If we set a uniform rule, let us not break it. Whatever expectation we set for our crew/station, let us not break it. If we do, then provide ourselves with the same punishment or “behavior coaching”. Do not say, “we’ll I’m the boss so I don’t have to follow the rules. That’s for them.” This doesn’t fly with our crews and we will lose the respect of our crew.
3- Treat your rank/title as a responsibility and not a power trip.
If we have the honor of being in a position of authority, it’s a responsibility and an opportunity to positively pour into our crew/station/dept. Let us respect that authority and serve our crew/station/dept. Care for them and give them the tools and the encouragement to succeed. If we want respect, we must give respect and earn the respect by being consistent, and following #1 and #2.
Photo Courtesy of Brett Dzadik, Firefighter Toolbox