“Hurricane of Egos and Failure”
Here we go again, talking about egos and the fire service…blah, blah, blah, blah! I know it’s quite disturbing right? But why do so many of us have to bring it up…seemingly on a weekly basis?
Interestingly enough, I had a conversation on the phone tonight with a friend of mine, discussing some issues that are facing the ever so changing fire service. It is no secret that changes are occurring, as we look around and talk to people in our business…we are still seeing departments being led by the illicit, departments not getting along, dictators mandating how we will do business, and meetings where we get nothing accomplished.
I like many others, have worked my ass off to get where I am at today! It has not been an easy road as I had to shed blood, sweat, and tears, proving to the memberships and committees I have what it takes to lead in all aspects of the business.
However, we tend to come in contact with those that have ridden the coat tails of other leaders, finding themselves in positions they shouldnâ€™t be in. Specifically, volunteer organizations see this scenario play out more and more by the years. We have witnessed a decline in volunteers as well as qualified people capable of leading an organization. The fact that these â€˜egoâ€™ mentalities are occupying leadership positions is simply based off quality leaders vacating positions.
Does it make it right, people holding positions because nobody else is qualified? Truthfully, those that are unanimously elected into positions because of no competition, reflect a sense of failure in the organization.
When this scenario plays out in our organizations, we find those people creating more problems as the days go by. It gets harder and harder to face positive growth when all that happens from your leaders is based off negativity. Your members are human beings, and the more you treat them like shit, the less members you are going to have.
We form committees in organizations to prioritize our mission, plan for future growth, set benchmarks for operational effectiveness, or so we should be…right? So why is it necessary to stand in front of our membership month after month, and speak about the situation of disaster looming over our organization, and the need to make change? If you are at this tipping point, it is too little too late. The day you start to see a negative impact on your organization, you must wake up and face the facts of life, and recognize that you might be the problem.
So, when we fill a room full of so called leaders…why must we continue to throw our ego’s around and never come to terms of working together? Why do we allow so many good people walk away? I understand that some of your out there have great chief’s and company officers, and I applaud them.
We must not forget that labor / management is no different in the volunteer sector vs. career sector. The more you accomplish in respect to operational effectiveness and efficiency will drive your reward in the long run.
About the author:
Jeremy Rebok is the Assistant Fire Chief of Operations and Prevention at the United States Military Academy, NY. Â He has previously held the position of Captain, Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chief in both volunteer and career capacities. Jeremy holds an Associate of Arts Degree in Building Construction Technology from the Pennsylvania College of Technology and currently finishing up Bachelor of Science Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University.