Important Qualities for Fire Service Leadership – Part 1

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. After attending the NFA for the Executive Leadership course, I completed an ARP that culminated in describing the top ten leadership qualities that fire departments felt were important for their leaders to have. A survey was sent to 50 metropolitan departments including my own department at the time. Each department identified their top ten leadership qualities. In the next few weeks I will present these qualities starting with numbers ten and nine. You may agree or disagree with the ten qualities, and may or may not agree with the order, however, these qualities were identified by fire departments serving populations of over 250,000 citizens and your department, larger or smaller may have differing positions on the list. But it is only one list, and if the same survey were sent today, a different list would more than likely result.

10. Commitment

The leader must have a total commitment to the organization. Leading by example will promote and encourage commitment. Commit to honesty. Build consensus, resolve conflicts, and discourage turf guarding.  Leaders committed to their organization will have a strong desire for leadership, a willingness to serve, will be distinguishable by their wisdom, sincerity, benevolence, and authority. They will have a human quality and a strong commitment to the organization and to those they serve.

9. Intelligent

Intelligence is an umbrella term used to describe a property of the mind that encompasses many related abilities, such as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn. In some cases, intelligence may include traits such as creativity, personality, character, knowledge, or wisdom. Our leaders are expected to be intelligent. Take the time to refine your knowledge, learn to reason, practice planning, solve problems, and always – learn.

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