Leadership

Continuing Leadership Problems in a Fire Department

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer This is the title of a recent post from my fire service colleague and attorney, Curt Varone, on his blog, Fire Law: Fairfax County’s Highest Female Officer Resigns From Women’s Program Officer Position WOW! There’s no other word that even comes close to describing my thoughts after reading Chief Stanley’s letter of resignation. After ...

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Role Model Qualities for an Effective Company Officer

In today’s blog, I’m going to discuss what I believe is the fundamental role for any company officer: Being an effective role model. Every single day. Why do I believe that? My experience has shown me that a company officer’s success in any of their other roles, e.g., supervisor, teacher, mentor, fire ground commander, is predicated on the level of respect and confidence that they’ve developed with their firefighters.

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Barriers to Inclusion: A Case Study

By Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Bringing more women into your fire department is not going to add value or capabilities to your organization unless your department’s leadership recognizes and addresses its barriers to inclusion. In a recent piece for FireRescue1’s on-line trade journal, 7 steps to an inclusive fire department culture, I wrote: Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion ...

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Diversity and Inclusion: What’s Your Fire Department’s Plan?

Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion is about making people count. Diversity is about the ingredients, the mix of people and perspectives. Inclusion is about the container – the place that allows employees to feel they belong, to feel both accepted and different. To achieve success today and tomorrow in meeting the challenges it faces, a fire department needs a group of people who think differently – in a place that's safe to share those differences.

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Pregnant Firefighters: What Men and Women Need to Know

By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer All fire chiefs and their officers SHOULD BE REQUIRED to read up on this case. Chicago Fire’s Nursing Mother Case Moves Forward Women have a right to become firefighters and paramedics. They have a right to become pregnant and start a family. And they have legal rights to protect them and their jobs and ...

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Clan Behavior and it’s Influence on Fire Service Culture

I submit for your consideration that fire department leaders will not find the “fix” until they recognize that those new members (outsiders) are being exposed to the behaviors and expectations of the firehouse clan from Day #1 with a department. Who’s teaching them in those entry-level training programs? Who’s working with them at the firehouse when they come on board?

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Bullying and Harassment in the Fire Service: A Video Misses the Mark

Bullying and harassment in the fire service, as those behaviors are in the general population, are about power and control. Those individuals who engage in bullying or harassment do so because they want to maintain the status quo or they're seeking to elevate their status among their peers or they're insecure in their position of official power (officers). In my opinion, these elements are inter-related just as fuel, heat, and oxygen are critical elements necessary for combustion. If we can successfully remove these elements in our organizations, we can make the fire (bullying and harassment) go out for good.

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