Fire Chief Jason Ford is a consummate professional. I had the opportunity to work for Chief Ford while in Iraq. Talk about a tough environment. I can tell you, if you need someone to lead, inspire, and learn from, Jason Ford is the best candidate I can think of. I asked Chief Ford to contribute, with the intention of putting this all in an eBook. But after reading what he sent, I couldn’t wait to add it for all to consume. Enjoy. Be sure to sign-up for email updates. Don’t miss any of this fantastic information.
3 things that I feel are the best ways to inspire and lead people…that is fairly easy, the first is COMMUNICATION!!!! You must talk with the people you are meant to lead, supervise, or manage, and talk with them frequently. Gain a report with them and a level of trust. There is a fine line between the buddy and being the boss, but nothing says you can’t be a friendly boss. And if the time comes when you have to have those hard conversations for discipline or reprimand then you have to be equally as strong in how you communicate. Yelling and screaming and cursing are not good communication techniques. Try to remember the adage that most times you get more with honey than with sour grapes.
The second aspect is trust. If you have communicated well, then you must also trust your people to go out and do the things you want them to do. Micro-managing is one of the worst things you can do. I truly believe that if I have to micro-manage you, then why exactly do I need you. Allow your people to perform and get the job done. Let them know the parameters for what you want accomplished and then set them free to get it done. In most cases you will be pleasantly surprised at the outcome.
And the third aspect to inspire and lead people is professionalism. Look the part and act the part. An old Chief of mine from years past said that 80% of what the public and our customers think we do in the fire service is from first impressions. If you look like a slob, and act like you don’t care, then it is going to show and the people we are intended to help will not have confidence in what we do. As a leader you have to set the tone. Look professional. Clean shaven, clean and crisp uniform, and a pleasant demeanor goes a long way when you are leading people. Also, know your job. If you are a Chief and you are talking to a subordinate, you better know his/her job better than they do. If not, then your credibility goes out the window and you end up looking stupid to your folks. Educate yourself and keep up your skills. Get out from behind the desk and be a part of the department. Don’t just hover at the top like a God, lest you not have any followers.
Take a moment and comment on Chief Ford’s tips. Also, I’ll do a “Round-Up” to condense things for quick review.