(Photo Credits: B Shifter Magazine).
I recently attended a train-the-trainer class for a new Everyone Goes Home® program course titled ‘Attributes of Leading’ created by Dr. Brian Crandell of the Crandell Research Group, Battalion Chief Kevin Conant (Retired) of Command Coaching, and videographer/editor Captain Jake Pelk, of FD Training Solutions. This course was an integral part of the 2018 National Everyone Goes Home® Advocate / Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors workshop.
Weaving together a tapestry of different perspectives, the content of this course showcases fire department members across the country sharing in a discussion of the key attributes of leading, from the foggy San Francisco Bay to the frozen lakes of Minnesota. Volunteer, career, and combination departments participated in this training course from Boone County Fire District in Columbia, Missouri to the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Loveland, Ohio. Attributes of Leading focuses on several key attributes of leading including: Developing Competence, Building Grit, Being Well, Exercising Self-Regulation, Demonstrating Humility, and Developing Trust. Notice they are all verbs, action words, because leading is an action, not a subject.
From the opening introductions in the ‘Being Well’ segment, I was reminded of the impact and legacy of Chief Alan V. Brunacini as his voice echoes over the audio speakers from the projector.
“We laugh about it, but we say somedays you are a peacock and somedays you are a feather duster. And when you are a peacock, man you are riding high and when you are a feather duster you are laying low. And when you are laying low, you will figure out who your friends are.” -Chief Alan V. Brunacini
I was instantly drawn in by a poignant video of the late Chief Alan V. Brunacini discussing the importance of being well. For those in the fire service, the term “Mrs. Smith” is synonymous with “customer” and Chief Bruno reminded all of us that we need to take care of Mrs. Smith. First, Fire Captain Smith has to take care of their firefighters, in order for them to be able to take care of Mrs. Smith. Being Well is an appropriate introduction into this course on the attributes of leading. There is a sense of responsibility of those who lead, to assess their personnel and ensure that they are both physically and emotional well, it’s a holistic responsibility. How can department members in turn take care of someone else, if their own well is empty and they are truly drained?
In the early history of the fire service, the morning roll call was the start of the shift, where the company officer has the opportunity to evaluate their personnel. How does the company officer of today perform this task? The Attributes of Leading class answers this question in a twelve-minute vignette. This video clip highlights various fire department members discussing the topic of being well physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, etc. Their own testimonies tell the story.
During one of his many classes he taught around the country, Chief Brunacini would sometimes say “The answers are in the room.” He couldn’t have been more spot-on with this statement. Yes, Chief Bruno, the answers are evident, and they were amongst all of us in the room. During this train-the-trainer course, I could have mistaken that the Chief was actually in the room. It just felt like he was there, participating in our discussion on how we can take care of each other. I am not sure how someone can transcend the video in this course however; Chief Bruno found a way to reach me during this class.
Who is going to take care of Mrs. Smith now? Who is going to teach Captain Smith the importance of teaching their firefighters to take care of Mrs. Smith? This video series on the ‘Attributes of Leading’ is a simple and meaningful way for the next generation of firefighters to learn why it is essential to take care of not only Mrs. Smith, but also each other. Take the time to attend this Everyone Goes Home® Program course and learn about these key attributes of leading. I am very thankful and genuinely appreciative of Dr. Crandell, BC Conant and Captain Pelk for creating this video series for the fire service, and reminding all of us the attributes of leading.
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Chris Baker has over 10 years of experience in volunteer, combination and career fire departments in California. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command Company Officer. He is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator. Chris is a Fire Science Instructor in the California Community College System. He is a member and educator with the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. Chris is a Volunteer Advocate Regional Manager, Region IX (CA, NV, AZ, HI) for the Everyone Goes Home Program through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.