To summarize so far – As part of the National Fire Academy (NFA) Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP), the student is required to author an Applied Research Project (ARP) within six months of completing each of the four classes. For the executive Leadership class ARP, I sent a survey to 50 metropolitan departments including my own department at the time. I then compiled the results and completed an ARP that culminated in describing the top 10 leadership qualities that my own department and outside fire departments felt were important for their leaders to have. In the next few weeks I will present these qualities and in this article are qualities four and three.
A leader must constantly adhere to the same principles, course of action, and ethics. Our personnel want decisions that are consistent with those decisions made in the past. For any organization, a consistent leader will stay the course, make decisions based on facts, and changes course when presented with new technology or faced with uncontrollable outside forces. Consistency of purpose, of objectives, decisions, and character are all important for successful leadership. While his actions are arguably “the right thing,” President Reagan understood that it’s not necessarily the direction (the angle you take), that counts, but sticking reasonably to the direction you choose.
In the broadest sense, education includes all those experiences by which intelligence is developed, knowledge acquired, and character formed. For most people today, education means training for a particular career. It is expected that the leaders of our organization will be educated. Formal education (college), seminars, technical bulletins, fire service magazines, and job experience are all means of receiving an education. How the individual uses that education is a decision each one has to make.
Are you the leader in your organization? Are you consistent with decisions or courses of action? As a leader, every decision you make is being watched for consistency. Stay the course. Do you keep up with the latest technology? You should be at least be aware of the basic ideas of new technology. If you haven’t considered the National Fire Academy, at least research it. Start teaching, it is the best way to stay educated. Remember, all eyes are on you.
The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined efforts of each individual in the organization working toward common objectives. These objectives should be realistic, should be clearly understood by everyone in the organization and should reflect the organization’s basic character and personality. Author Unknown
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