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Lead From The Front

I had promised the second part of the flex nutrition article this week but it is still being polished in an effort to make sure the information is accurate.; so I am posting some thoughts on leadership that are important.

Lead From The Front, Not The Back 3 Ways to be a better leader not a boss

By: George McNeil, BS, NR-P, ISO

What does it take to be a leader? There are certainly a million different opinions out there and a million different ways to lead. Do you have to be an officer to lead? No you certainly do not; sometimes the one who should be leading the crew is not the guy wearing the red lid or the guy riding around in the command car. How can I be a better leader you ask? Well in my still fairly young career in the fire service I have come into contact with some great leaders and some really poor leaders and what is going to be shared here are three tips that are crucial to being a better leader.

The first shift at the fire house; we’ve all been there, pulling up to the building with butter flies in your stomach hoping that you’re not a total screw up and that you have a good day. You walk in the door and the first words out of the senior guy’s (now captain) mouth are “drop your stuff I’ve got a few projects for you to do”. This brings us to tip 1…

Tip #1
Don’t sit on your butt, be involved

A leader doesn’t sit on his butt. When you get a rookie at your fire house don’t treat them like a donkey while you sit around on your butt and watch Bonanza. Dumping work off while you sit in your office doing personal work on the computer and watch television is the fastest way to kill morale. Some would argue that the officer should not be overly concerned with firehouse duties but that is wrong; they shouldn’t micromanage their guys but they should be involved, it tells the guys your care about what goes on during your shift.

Tip number two is a fairly simple one and it is something that most in leadership positions easily forget.

Tip #2 Communicate

A boss doesn’t communicate. It has been proven time and time again that communications is the biggest causation of problems within the operational and leadership personnel. How can your guys; the guys who you expect to risk their lives for you if you do not communicate with them? Poor communications will kill morale ten times faster than siting on your butt and not being involved with your guys, the reason for this? The guys won’t trust you and when the guys don’t trust you they are not going to work with you.

Tip 3, like 2 is a fairly easy one and forgotten most of them because the people leading forget where their responsibilities lie.

Tip #3
Stand up for your guys at all times

When the crap hits the fan a boss will throw his guys under the bus at the first chance he gets to save his but and look out for his own interests. A leader will be standing in front of his guys taking the full force that is coming down on the crew at all times. However is the situation dictates when your in a leadership position you should be ready to be a disciplinarian because when you put the red or white had on you went from buddy to boss in a sense.

Three simple things but oft forgotten things that are key to ensuring that your crew performs at it’s best