"You cannot run your firehouse like a 3-ring circus and then the tones go off and expect it to operate like the Marine Corps. It isn't gonna work." - Chief Billy Goldfeder
I recently spent the first morning of my shift in driver training. Which means, I got to drive a fire engine and a ladder truck through an obstacle course as well as operate the pumps on each truck. How fun does that sound?! I love my job!
Prior to being let loose on the course, our Chief of Training sat us down and went over a few things. He mentioned how important training is (and believe me, it IS), how we should strive to do our best, and that we should have fun. I felt his presentation with this training session was very positive and encouraging to the crews that were there. He introduced a little incentive to those who could complete the course without hitting any cones. I was feeling pretty amped to get started.
A good portion of us were eager to get onto the course and see what we could do. Incentive or not, we were eager to do our best and see how we have improved since our last driver training. As courses were completed and scores were shared, we had some laughs and talked about how fun the morning had been.
I witnessed attitudes from some that showed me a lot about leadership on an organizational level and on a personal level.
I was amazed at the flippant attitudes of some of the people in leadership positions there. Some were treating the training as a source of entertainment or a waste of time rather than a serious opportunity for growth and refinement; a circus rather than a dojo for growth and preparation.
There was one who showed leadership in an exemplary way. He displayed what it means to be ignited, even after 30 years of service. He showed extreme patience in giving repeated individualized instruction to each of us on how to properly pump a fire engine and manage multiple lines flowing water. He encouraged those of us who are interested in promoting to the position of Engineer to pull all the information from him that we could before he retired. And he was more than willing to meet with whoever was interested in sitting down with him to take notes on all the gems he could pass on.
He displayed the Key 3:
1. Light the spark
2. Stoke the flame
3. Pass the torch
It is up to us as individuals to take it upon ourselves to be outstanding at our jobs. Be an army of you.
To those of you out there who find yourselves in a situation where you're not finding the leadership you deserve where you should be able to find it, stay strong and be your own leader. Set your standard and set it high. Let those around you know they can count on you to perform and to be the person that your community deserves. Be BETTER than what your community deserves. Be the firefighter or paramedic that you would want responding to your home in your time of need. Be ignited.
As always, please share and leave comments! I'd love to hear about your thoughts and experiences!