Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Leadership in Blue Light Services

I've been to hear Roy Wilsher, Chief Fire Officer in Hertfordshire speak today and thought I'd share his views on leadership with you.
  • Decisiveness, make decisions the worst decision is no decision -- and then take responsibility for them
  • Personal Resilience - he had what amounted to a campaign to personal abuse when he proposed shutting two stations.... even the Brownies were campaigning!
  • Visibility- leaders behind desks don't lead..he went personally to see those Brownies
  • Integrity and honesty
  • Compassion and understanding - his staff risk their lives and sometimes lose them, others still have issues that require compassion...
  • Calm- 'officers never run', model the behaviours
  • Direction - know where you are taking people
  • Don't be afraid to ask... never get so up yourself that you can't ask

Throughout his talk the need for al of those characteristics was really clear; from Buncefield, to Euro wide exercises, to LiFE courses, to budget constraints and cuts......
YES his service operates in an environment where directive leadership is appropriate but use of that style is balanced by involving staff... everyperson had a one to one to come up with suggestions for savings/efficiency.

And his final tip.... keep them fed... firefighters need lots of food.... and if that had been a metaphor rather then literal.. it would still be true! let your staff know how much you value them... in whatever the currency of your organisation is.....

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