a hint from General MacArthur
By Chief Ronald Richards
||The fire service
is a para-military organization. From our mission to our chain of command
we are "first cousins" to the military.
It has often been said that we have many
people in our ranks that are truly sharp at the task level, great in strategy
and tactics, but lack real leadership skills. The real leader in our business,
career or volunteer, is one who can see far beyond the horizon. A leader
in today's fire service needs to have life experience, not just that gained
on the fireground.
|Have you ever interviewed
for a job, thinking that you had a lock on the position only to become
disappointed that another candidate got the slot? Your first reaction....
"How did he get the job? I have more time in. He can't even spell fire....."
Maybe that's the problem. While you were so focussed on strategy
and tactics issues or spending time riding the seat of the wagon, the other
guy was sharpening those skills he knew he'd need to be a true leader.
John Gardner, in his book On Leadership
described Douglas MacArthur as a brilliant strategist, a farsighted administrator,
and flamboyant to his fingertips. MacArthur developed a list of quotes
and questions and to guide him in his leadership duties. These principles
can be applied to any leadership situation.
|About the author: Chief
Ronald Richards has over 28 years of fire service experience, both career
and volunteer. He rose through the ranks in the Forest City Fire Department,
in Forest City, PA and became Fire Chief in 1995 holding that position
through 2000 when he retired. He currently serves as the Chief for Training
and Safety for Browndale Fire Company in Wayne County, PA. Chief Richards
has nearly 25 years of service with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, having
served as a Fire Marshal with the Department of Public Welfare, a Fire
and Safety Specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Currently, he is a Superintendent Assistant within the PA Department
of Corrections, responsible for media relations, litigation coordination,
accreditation, and the writing of policies and procedures. Chief Richards
graduated from the State University of New York with a Bachelor of Science
Degree in Fire Service Administration. Richards is a PA State Fire
Instructor and an instructor with Command
School. He is the founder of WithThecommand.com.