Five traits that make a successful leader
1) A solid moral foundation: (Integrity): I believe that to be a successful (I prefer the word significant) Company Officer that your motivations and mindset have to be pure. An intelligent leader who doesn’t have a solid moral foundation will ultimately fail the organization personally and or professionally. They will be manning the life boats alone while the entire organization goes down with the ship. Anyone can learn to be competent in their profession but to be exemplary is to be the one standing up for truth, caring for others, and leading by example. My experience has taught me that anyone who is placed in a position of authority but doesn’t have a solid moral foundation will compromise their principles, integrity, and values for money, power, and or fear.
2) A passion for their people(Servanthood):In the fire service, your inner desire to serve others shows that you have a servant heart. As we step into the role of Company Officer, I believe that one must have a self-less focus where he or she is constantly about the business of knowing, caring for, and empowering those in their sphere of influence. In order to lead, someone has to follow; therefore you have to command more than their respect. The greater the amount of passion and energy that a Company Officer pours into his/her people it has a direct correlation in how effective the crew will be.
3)Setting the example (Consistent): You lead by example. Your consistent application of your values, work ethic, and your dedication to your crew is what sets you apart. This goes deeper than education. A Company Officer who has high expectations of his/her crew must first have the same expectations of themselves. This position requires that you pursuing the next level of excellence. There is never a point where one should be comfortable with their knowledge, skills, and abilities. If you have reached this point then it’s time to move on to another profession.
4)Humility: Some of the greatest leaders that have impacted me are the ones that have admitted openly when they made a mistake. They made no excuse, they took responsibility for their actions, and they held themselves accountable. Your crew will not believe in you if you do not hold yourself accountable as well.
5)Mentoring: In my opinion, one of the greatest disservice we do to our veteran leaders in the fire service is when they retire. We throw them a party and say goodbye. They have invaluable experience that has been forged by a lifetime of adversity, experience, and education. As a Company Officer, you are ultimately responsible for what the future of the fire service will look like. Your goal should be to leave a mark on the organization and not just a memory. This can be only accomplished by “training your replacement”. We should all be concerned about developing the next generation of leaders. One day they could be responding to my nursing home to provide medical aid in my moment of need. Are we equipping those around us for the future?