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Role of supervisors in firefighter promotion

Listen as Gordon Graham breaks down the responsibility of supervisors in fostering the growth of those they lead

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for fire officers and supervisors and it’s about your role, your very important role, in preparing subordinates for career development. Specifically, promotions.

As an officer, you have a responsibility to take an active role in preparing subordinates to promote. So, what can you do?

First and foremost, set the example. As an officer, pay attention to how you manage the fire station and the company. Know and understand your department’s policies and procedures. Train your personnel on those policies and procedures. Remember: that’s what promotional exams are based on: policy and procedure. Making them a part of your regular station training goes a long way.

Next, give your personnel the practical tools they need to move up. Work with them on radio communications. Help them develop a strong command presence. Encourage them to build their interpersonal skills. Help them master the administrative responsibilities expected of an officer in your department.

You can really shine when it’s time for the hands-on component of the promotional test. Take the time to understand the process. Build real-world exercise scenarios for your personnel. Put together a simulated conflict situation for your personnel to solve. Use an online fire simulation program to help them hone their incident command skills. Coach them through daily administrative tasks like time entry, report writing, and logbook entries.

Hey, here’s an idea: Maybe even consider teaming up with another officer or two. You can each evaluate the other’s personnel. A different perspective is often helpful in the critiquing process.

Remember, you probably didn’t get to your position without some assistance from those who came before you. Pay that favor forward and help your organization gain solid officers.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.
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