Leadership - Being Present
We hear all the time, “who do you work for ?" For years that was a question asked as to who your supervisor was in our agency. The truth is, the higher up in an organization you go, the more people you work for. That concept may not be a new one, but it sure isn’t put into a practical sense in many circumstances. It takes a commitment to fundamentally change from a top down leadership model to one of personal involvement. This would be a model of showing your personnel that a leadership position is about ensuring your workforce not only has the knowledge, skills and abilities, but also the tools and opportunities for personal and professional growth.
In order to be that kind of leader it is imperative to be present. That does not mean just sitting in your office, with an “open door policy”, waiting for people to come in. It means to be out and about, learning what makes your employees tick, inquiring what their interests are and showing them, they are valued. Once they know that you are there for them, they will give you more than you could ever expect.
Be the leader that has clear intent and does not react emotionally to adverse issues. Do not tell people what they want to hear but tell them the truth. Have the courage to be the leader that starts the difficult conversations. Your employees future personal and professional growth is directly related to your honest evaluations and feedback.
I was fortunate enough to have a leader in the very beginning of my career twenty-seven years ago who instilled these ideals in me. They have served me well.
John P. Danciart
Assistant Fire Chief
Sacramento Fire Department