A Different View On The Promotional Process
In our fire service journey, we come to the threshold of an important decision:
Do we take the next step?
Many of us prepare diligently for the process and do well. Let us stop for a moment and consider a few points:
Before we promote, we must perform an honest self assessment and ask these questions:
Have we put as much effort into our current position as we have preparing for the next one?
What are our underlying motivations for promotion? Financial reasons, authority, or is this about making a difference?
Are we preparing to pass the test or are we preparing to be an officer, a leader, and one who inspires others?
Many firefighters become disheartened after promotion because they had a false vision of their future reality.
The reality of leadership is this:
It’s not about you! It’s about serving, leading, inspiring, encouraging, disciplining, and coaching others.
There will be great and enormous challenges. There will be hard times, times of loneliness, and times of doubt.
This is the reality. Leaders are in great positions of authority, influence, and responsibility. A leader isn’t just making decisions that affect the outcome on emergency scenes but they are making decisions that impact the future of the fire service by those in their fellowship.
Now, are we ready for promotion? Are we preparing for the test or the position?
Start by surrounding ourselves with those who hold us accountable. People who hold their lives to a higher standard.
Next, invest in others and learn the skills to resolve conflicts. This is paramount. Leaders will face conflict and need to have a large toolbox of people skills. Seek the guidance from mentors who have faced difficult situations before.
Then, instead of being upset when challenges arise look at them as another opportunity to develop your skills. The next difficulty is the next fire and we should be preparing for it.
Lastly, continue to read, learn, and grow. This can be accomplished by classes, conferences, and teaching others. This is the culmination of your efforts. It is where you reinvent, renew, and reinforce your skills.
In closing, remember that a promotion is more than a test it’s a doorway that is merely the beginning of your journey.
Prepare for the position not merely the promotion.