8 traits every great fire chief has

Great leaders share certain characteristics; to improve your leadership abilities, develop these traits


Name a fire chief living or dead who had an impact on you. What made that fire chief an influencer? What character traits, personality qualities did they possess?

Many great leaders share certain character and personality traits. They also share certain behaviors that make them successful leaders. Here's a look at eight things those top leaders do and why they are important for fire chiefs to possess.

1. Communicate
Share your vision with others. Clearly explain what you are about and what are your core beliefs. Each of our core beliefs may differ, but for the most part they are similar.

2. Delegate
Effectively getting work done with others allows others to expand their capabilities. Delegation is a learned skill. Developing trust in those you delegate specific tasks to will require patience. Leaders must become good at delegating.

3. Resolve conflict
Become good at dealing with conflict situations. This is the biggest part of a leader's tasks and a cornerstone of working effectively with people. The reality is that conflict is going to happen. People think things should be done in different ways.

4. Accept responsibility
When you accept a leadership position, there is an accompanying level of responsibility that comes with it. Are you prepared for that responsibility of leadership?

First, when you are promoted you must accept the responsibility of leadership and not make excuses. You can't blame others for your inability to be effective or successful. The more you accept the responsibility, the more control you will have over situations and yourself.

When you accept responsibility, you demonstrate true leadership. A leader can make excuses or choose to make progress. Instead of complaining about a situation, explain the circumstances that created it and present possible solutions.

Leaders are expected to deal with many situations over which they have no control. Don't become angry or frustrated over situations you have no control over, as it will detract from your ability to present possible solutions.

5. Make timely decisions
Leaders are expected to provide direction and actionable assignments to a given situation based upon experience and expertise.

Leaders should not procrastinate. Putting off decisions will not make the situation better, and in many cases will make it worse.

There is no guarantee of success when making decisions. Trust your instinct when confronting situations that require a proactive decision.

Often, decisions do not have to be made in an expeditious manner. Take your time, take a deep breath and explore the situation to gain as many facts as possible.

6. Address behavior
When dealing with people problems, focus on the behavior. Problems on the job are solved when they are fact based instead of personality based.

Leaders are more successful at addressing situations in a win-win circumstance if they deal with the action rather than with the attitude. A leader will never win the bad-attitude debate with another person.

7. Engage the team
Involve team members in decision-making when the opportunity presents itself. This is a great motivational tool leaders can and should use.

The smartest person in the room is not always the leader. Involving others gives the leader the tools to make the best decisions for the department and community.

8. Know your biases
Beliefs impact your ability to make the correct decision. As a leader you should be aware of how your beliefs may skew your decisions.

Our personnel want a leader to make decisions. Most importantly our personnel expect the leader to make the right decision given the set of facts that are presented.

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