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General Colin Powell: The Essence of Leadership

Cover Photo: Getty Images​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ Cover Photo: Getty Images​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

"If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it is a prevailing attitude."  - General Colin Powell The Essence of Leadership  My name is Amy Wilkinson. I'm a White House fellow. My question is how you would define the key characteristics of effective leader...

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Chief Alan Brunacini: Timeless Tactical Truths

Chief Alan Brunacini: Timeless Tactical Truths

Early in my career as a firefighter, I developed the habit of writing notes on 3x5 cards.  I would (and still do) jot down a few words about something I observed, comments I would hear and thoughts that would occur to me (sometimes at the strangest times).  Little "flashes" that would occur in conversations with the firefighter I worked w...

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Fire Captain Larry Conley

Fire Captain Larry Conley

Joining host Chris Baker is Larry Conley of Leadership Development Concepts, LLC. They discuss GLUE (Growing Leaders Using Empowerment) and why this personal leadership development program is essential for the future firefighter. Larry Conley is the founder and president of Leadership Development Concepts, LLC. He has been empowering firefighters i...

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Lead Where You Are

Lead Where You Are

Host Chris Baker talks to guests Phoenix (AZ) Battalion Chief Rayne Gray, Fairfax County (VA) Fire Captain Marc Davidson, and Prince William County (VA) Fire Lieutenant Nick Baskerville about leadership and why it's important to lead where you are.  Prince William County (VA) Fire Lieutenant Nick Baskerville, Chris Baker, Fairfax County (VA) F...

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Fire Chief Dennis Rubin

Fire Chief Dennis Rubin

Host Chris Baker discusses Rube's Rules for the Future Firefighter with his guest and mentor Fire Chief Dennis Rubin.  Listen to this Episode https://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireengineeringpodcast/2019/09/24/the-future-firefighter Podcast: The Future Firefighter | Fire Engineering https://www.fireengineering.com/leadership/podcast-the-future-fir...

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Deputy Chief Frank Viscuso

Deputy Chief Frank Viscuso

Host Chris Baker discusses mentoring in the fire service with Deputy Chief Frank Viscuso. Listen to this Episode https://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireengineeringpodcast/2019/04/02/the-future-firefighter Resources:  Common Valor http://www.commonvalor.com Author - Frank Viscuso https://fireengineeringbooks.com/frank-viscuso/ Flashpoint: The F...

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Fire Chief Reggie Freeman

Fire Chief Reggie Freeman

Host Chris Baker discusses the topic of community service with Fire Chief Reggie Freeman. "Values and beliefs make up organizational culture. Exercising authentic leadership within that same organization makes a difference."  – Fire Chief Reggie Freeman Listen to this Episode https://www.blogtalkradio.com/fireengineeringpodcast/2018/...

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Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski

Deputy Chief Steve Prziborowski

Host Chris Baker discusses the entry-level firefighter interview process with guest and mentor Deputy Chief (Retired) Steve Prziborowski. Steve Prziborowski is a 29-year fire service veteran currently recently serving as a Deputy Chief for the Santa Clara County (CA) Fire Department. He received the 2020 Ronny Jack Coleman Leadership Lega...

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Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 6

Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 6

The stage is set. Family members, friends and mentors are in the audience, patiently watching you on stage for your pinning ceremony. Few milestones in life are held in such high regard. The moment when you find the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and marry to become your significant other. The birth of a child is also a moment that you will truly treasure and never ever forget. And this day, when your dream career profession came true, and you were pinned with the badge of a public servant.

The oath of a public servant is an oath of dedication to a lifetime of customer service. Remember this moment when you committed to serving your community. The work of a public servant is never-ending in the pursuit of service. At the end of every call is an opportunity to engage members of our community positively. There is no greater reward than a lifetime of service.

My challenge is for you to find an inspiring mentor in this profession. Allow yourself the opportunity to become his or her mentee. Develop into the Firefighter and leader that you desire to become. Accept constructive criticism in stride and strive to become a better person daily. Respect their wisdom with grace and listen to their feedback with enthusiasm. Leaders lead by effectively developing future leaders from within their ranks.

The role of every Firefighter should be to help the future Firefighter receive their dream career position. Pay it forward and give back daily to the future of the fire service. Find those golden opportunities to inspire the members of your community also to become future public servants. The future of our profession requires all of us to actively engage these future members in a positive and meaningful way.

Your experiences throughout your career are yours and yours alone to mold. Be sure to make the most out of each experience to elevate your future success. As a public servant, it is up to you to continue this lifetime commitment of service beyond self. The future of the fire service rests firmly on your shoulders.

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Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 5

Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 5

As previously mentioned in this article, we covered two fundamental character traits: maintaining a strong work ethic and taking the proper initiative. Now we are going to cover two more equally essential character traits that will help you achieve success throughout your fire service career:

  • You must maintain a positive attitude, and
  • Have the mindset of sharing this with others while on duty.

The academy and the probationary period can be compared to a pressure cooker. You will be pushed beyond your physical and mental limits. However, having a positive attitude with the correct mindset will enable you to overcome this pressure.

There will be bad days. There will be days where you will be completely broken down. You will find out what you are made of and what your limits are during this process. It is essential to know what your pain threshold is and what you can achieve under pressure. This is a profession where you will be under pressure your entire public safety career. Therefore, learning how to improvise, adapt and overcome in this stressful environment is essential. Remember, this is the best job in the world. Every day we are on duty is an opportunity to help someone that needs us to mitigate his or her emergency.

Passion is contagious and so is negativity. One is motivating and the other is a disease. Stay out of "Negative Town" city limits. Don't allow yourself to be consumed with negative energy. Instead, focus all of your energy on building positive, meaningful relationships with your fellow academy classmates. Lead your mindset and don't allow yourself to be a victim of the mental trap of negativity. You are in control of your thoughts and you have the ability to overcome any mental obstacle. Rise above the negative environment and be aggressively positive.

It takes leadership to be a follower. First, you have to lead yourself. Everyone can be a leader by first leading themselves. Followership is leadership. Remember this concept while in the academy and beyond in the probationary period. Be the best follower that you are capable of being for your fire officers and senior firefighters. When you are at your best, your leadership can be at their best. It takes a team effort to be effective on the fire-ground. Remember, it is our citizen's worst day in their lives when they place the call to 911. We have to be at our best for them.

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Are you a Change Magnet?

Do you embrace change or do you resist it?  Do you approach a conversation with an open mind or do you approach the discussion with a closed mind?  Are you willing to accept technological advances or discredit them?  Are you willing to pull up a chair at the table and join the conversation?

I am a humble public servant.  My ultimate goal and purpose, in my position in the fire service, is to serve the public.  Our customers expect a highly competent professional that will arrive in an effective and efficient manner to mitigate their emergency.  Are you willing to be a change magnet?

The fire service is rapidly approaching the age of discovery in the realm of scientific information.  This scientific data is at the forefront of many conversations and discussions around the firehouse kitchen table.  The application of this scientific data is very difficult to apply, digest and even comprehend.  Are you willing to embrace this information?

In this age of discovery, this scientific information is highlighting information that has already been discovered in the past.  However, in this current age of information, several are reconsidering this preexisting information.  This age of technology is integrated with almost every aspect of the society of today.  For example, smartphones, smart televisions and now even smart refrigerators.  You can see this advancement of technology by attending national fire/ems conferences and walking the exposition floor.  Are you willing to attend these conferences and become familiar with the advancement of this technology in the fire service?

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