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Functional Leadership - Going Beyond the Motivation!


5-years ago, I sat in my office and thought about my journey as a firefighter to a Battalion Chief. It was a new year, and I needed to focus on developing leaders at all levels within the department. Inspired by quotes from famous persons in and out of the fire service, I began putting my thoughts and ideas on the whiteboard. As a youth soccer coach, I always taught the kids to look back at the "great ones" and the journey they took to climb the ladder of success, so I captured Pele's quote and put it on the board. And just like that, the quotes just filled the board. Quotes from Henry Ford and Stephen Covey were easy to put on my whiteboard, but the one that stood out the most was a quote from James Donald Walters.


J. Donald Walters was a spiritual leader and an incredible author. His quote was paraphrased on the whiteboard, "Leadership means action, not merely good ideas for action.". In my thirty years in the fire service, I worked with all types of leaders, but only a few became mentors and true masters of the craft. Many leaders were inspiring or great firefighters, but they needed more elements of leadership to make those things happen. Returning to Mr. Walters, his quote reads, "Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others' success, and then standing back and letting them shine.".


Five years later, I see many motivational concepts driven into the fire service. It has a purpose and merit and needs to be part of the fire service culture, but the fire service also needs direction. They need the "how" to make fundamental changes in leadership. The fire service needs to understand mentorship above and below the lines of rank or title. As a company, mid-level, and executive officers, you must help each other regardless of title or position. It isn't about you; it is about them and the quality of leadership that reflects the organization and services delivered to the community.


As the Owner of Battalion 1 Consultants, I am proud to offer leadership training that develops individual leaders with an organizational focus that improves the continuity of service delivery to both internal and external stakeholders. This program provides leadership theories of motivation and performance management to effectively strengthen organizations' human capital. Students will apply their knowledge, skills, and abilities to develop functional leadership skills. Industry professionals, experienced with over 250 years of fire service deliver theoretical concepts and practical applications that structure real-world experiences, including mentorship programs.

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