3 fire chiefs walk into a bar …

Understand the three types of chiefs – the Bully, Boss and Teacher – and how they can manifest in each of us


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Three fire chiefs walk into a bar.

Relax, it’s not the start of a joke (although there are many possibilities for one); it’s the start of a discussion of three types of chiefs – the Bully, the Boss and the Teacher – and how each type can manifest in any one of us.

Back to our setup: Three chiefs walk into a bar. The Boss makes sure everyone in their party gets in, directs them to a side room, makes sure no one’s wearing a uniform shirt or identifying clothing, and closes the door. The Bully muscles up to the bar in their soul-crusher Maltese/skeleton T-shirt and belittles the ones who don’t follow their lead. The Teacher turns around and walks out when they realize they’re in a bar. In other words, the Boss checks the boxes, the Bully doesn’t care about the boxes, and the Teacher makes sure everyone knows how to do what needs to be done, to complete what the boxes represent.

Despite the reference to an age-old joke, I hope the premise challenges you to think about not only your own presentation, but the perceptions we make and leave for our members as well as the citizens who are watching our actions, whether in a bar or not.

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