An intro to fire service leadership: Influencing with relationships

Chief John Buckman breaks down the leadership characteristics to embrace and those to avoid to lead your firefighters to success


When you are promoted to a leadership position, it's wise to recognize how early you are in the leadership journey and how much you still have to learn.

In the fire service, we have a culture that values titles. What do those titles actually mean? Very little. People who make it their career goal to gain certain titles are not setting themselves up to be the best leaders they can be.

Who you are and what you do is what really matters. If the work you do is significant and adds value to people, then it doesn't need to come with a title.

If you want to become a better leader, you can't focus on the rules and procedures to get things done or keep things going. You must develop relationships. Why? Because the reality is that people get things done, and not because of the playbook they use. People are the power behind any organization and effective leaders. People are a valuable and appreciable asset.

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