Leadership Traits

Adaptability is one of the core traits that is necessary for a leader in the fire service. Being adaptable means you are able to quickly adjust to rapidly changing conditions. This trait is paramount for all firefighters because situations escalate quickly on the fire ground. A “routine” fire can turn into a life-threatening situation in seconds, which is why there is no such thing as a “routine” fire. Your ability to evaluate and revise your strategies on the fly is imperative. An adaptable firefighter is resourceful and can skillfully, safely, and promptly navigate his/her way through a variety of situations, regardless of the tools, staffing, and resources that are – or aren’t – available at any given moment.

Suggestions for Improvement: Never stop educating yourself. The more you know, the better equipped you will be to react and adjust. Practice being proactive, not reactive. The more capable you are at seeing problems before they happen, the more effective you will be as a firefighter. To adapt, you must learn to think outside of the box. Don’t get tunnel vision. There are always alternative ways to accomplish a task. To be able to make tough decisions quickly, you must also work on staying mentally and physically alert.

That is just one core leadership trait. What other traits do you think a fire service leader should possess?

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