After a long day, we sat quietly in my office at the firehouse just staring at each other. It had been an usually busy first half of a 24-hour shift that was filled with the typical calls for help from the community, combined with some very unique personnel issues that had caused lots of friction in a couple of our firehouses. We were refereeing conflicts; solving people problems.Leadership guru Seth Godin says, “The future belongs to those who can do two things: Lead and solve interesting problems.”
The greatest thing we do as leaders is to find solutions to unique problems. We should expect to encounter the occasional broken system, ineffective team, or personnel conflict in our fire department. That’s why we are the leaders. That’s what leaders do!
While much of our day is spent on managing our tasks list, the first item in our leader’s job description should be “solving problems.” We are problem-solvers, both on the fireground and in the firehouse.