Wandering Lessons of Leadership

THE FULL TITLE:
Lessons Learned from a Couple of Happy Wanderers and the People they Wandered Into.

I read with great interest this related tale of two foreign firefighters who recently came to “The States” to learn more about our fire service culture while hoping to raise some much needed funds for their pet projects across the pond.

Read “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Fire Service” by my friend Janet Wilmoth, editorial director for Fire Chief Magazine and stop back here to finish the journey.

INSERT LONG PAUSE HERE………………………………………………….

Welcome back from your side trip. What did you take away from her story?

I was intrigued not only by the firefighters’ journey itself, but also by Janet’s comment on how she was so enthralled by their stories. There’s that word again: STORIES!

I wasn’t surprised by Janet’s reaction as she is who I credit with planting a seed and inspiring me to create this story-sharing site. It’s our stories that link us across the fire service, across the states and even across ‘a pond.”

Then, what really excited me was the lesson she shared in effective leadership as demonstrated by Chief Frank Trout of the Westmont IL Fire Department who talked about turning their organization on its head.

That got the other half of my brain thinking (the part that dreams about effective organizational leadership all day). It reminded me of an idea that I had a few years ago to implement a platoon program in our firehouse, promoting the concept that while we operate in a top-down chain-of-command on the incident scene— operating as a bottom-up organizational model back in the firehouse empowers the people at the bottom (now at the top when we flip our pyramid) to build their own successful organization.

It also frees up the leadership to do what we elected them to do: LEAD!

What a concept…

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