All leaders need a little guidance from time to time to keep them on track and headed in the right direction. We all have access to a world of books, podcasts, etc. dealing with the subject of leadership. I have utilized a simple acronym which I feel summarizes what a leader should practice on a day-to-day basis to keep themselves on track—L.E.A.D.
L – listen to what our people have to say. Listening is an active skill which will give one insight into the needs, concerns, and opinions of our people.
E – encourage our people to be their best. Let them know when they do a good job even if it is something small. Build their confidence and guide them.
A – attitude, maintain a positive attitude towards our people and our profession; model the behavior we want to see from our people.
D – decisive, learn decision making through education and training so when the big one comes, you are ready to make the tough decisions.
Our people look to us for leadership; it is our charge to show them what leadership is and how to obtain those needed skills when it is their time to lead. Through modeling of desired behaviors and promoting education, we can feel good about the leaders we have helped develop who will lead the fire service into the future.
Be Nice—Be Professional.
Michael K. Wehman
Assistant Fire Chief
New Braunfels Fire Department (TX)