Management skills 101 for fire chiefs
Most fire chiefs enter their new position with visions of increasing service to the citizens, changing the department for the better, and putting their stamp on a new era. They are ready to make a difference and have prepared themselves in fire-ground tactics, emergency management, firefighter safety, and numerous other command-and-control issues of today’s fire service.
But what most new fire chiefs find as their biggest challenge after assuming the corner office is not found on the emergency scene but rather in the offices and hallways of their organization and beyond. The sometimes unanticipated and unexpected intra- and interpersonal dynamics of running a fire department can overwhelm and even blind-side even the most-seasoned fire-service veterans if they aren’t prepared, derailing their vision of success.
All fire chiefs when starting out want to demonstrate to their department that they are capable of doing the job and show the mayor or city manager who selected them that they made the right choice. Some will try to prove this point by going it alone, rather than reach out to those in the department, city government and community that can provide support for their success. This is a big mistake.
Smart leaders surround themselves with the brightest and most gifted people they know — both inside and outside the organization. Their abilities and intellectual capacities, when matched with equally capable people into affable teams, present an unmatched benefit to the organization and to the fire chief.
Read the entire story from FIRE CHIEF, our sister publication.