“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” -John Maxwell
In chemistry a litmus test is a tool used to determine the pH in blood. This test is important because when the blood pH is too acidic, there is a decrease in energy, a breakdown in cell communication and an environment is then created where bacteria and fungus can grow.
It’s important to have the proper pH so the body can function in a healthy state and repair itself when faced with viruses or nasty bacteria.
What is the connection between the fire service and a blood pH test?
Maybe it’s time to have a leadership passion litmus test so leaders can quickly determine whether they are leading effectively or creating an environment where the department is stalling out OR worse, fostering a negative infested culture.
Too many good firefighters and leaders lose their passion and leave the fire service or stay and become the bitter and angry firefighter that nobody wants to be around.
It’s wrong, it’s a waste of talent and the profession (and firehouses) suffer.
This litmus test is important because ignoring this test can lead to frustration, burnout and in some cases an exit from the profession.
Losing existing and future leaders will only hurt the profession and this is NOT something we want to happen.
A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position. – John Maxwell
Leadership Litmus Test Colour Indicators
In this leadership passion litmus test red will indicate a high acidic (negative) level, purple is neutral and blue is passionate.
What are the signs of the red passion litmus test?
When a leader or aspiring leader is in the RED, they engage the negative everyday. They are in a rut and can’t get out or in some cases they DO NOT want to get out.
These individuals have literally given up and spend their time expressing their opinions on why things cannot work. Yes, they are acidic to the team and have a significant negative impact to those around them.
And, unfortunately they feel that it is their personal mission to communicate their negativity.
Their negativity can be felt and if you can’t feel it, all you have to do is watch their body language and the negativity is clear to see.
Why All The Negativity?
The reasons can be endless and whether justified or not, the negativity breaks down the team and can bring havoc to a department.
Typically cynical in behaviour they are capable to help solve problems but CHOOSE not to.
Somewhere, somehow, something happened to a passionate firefighter that caused them to be in the RED.
The signs of the purple litmus test can be seen when the firefighter/leader just goes through the motions.
The individual’s will not reach outside of their comfort zone and are generally the fence sitters.
They wait for something to happen before they make up their mind to move in any direction.
They are not adept to change and prefer the status quo.
Don’t expect the PURPLE folks to come up with solutions to problems because they look to the leadership to make all of the decisions.
Here is the kicker; positive and negative leaders can influence the firefighter/leader that has a PURPLE result from the litmus test AND rest assured the PURPLE will go with the flow.
The firefighter/leader that is BLUE possess a passion about the profession that is observed and felt by others.
These individuals believe in the profession and are in it for all of the right reasons.
It’s their calling in life.
Their passion is obvious and they believe that serving your fellow man includes being there for firefighters as well.
You know the BLUE firefighter/leader when you see him/her striving to make the department better.
You know the BLUE when see him/her compassionately listening to other firefighters.
You know the BLUE when you see him/her sacrificing self to encourage, motivate and build others up.
At the end of the day every firefighter/leader is responsible to take the leadership passion litmus test.
It’s a very simple test to take.
Look in the mirror. You know the colour you wear.