So, you’ve been promoted to officer. Now what?
After rereading From Buddy to Boss: Effective Fire Service Leadership, here’s my top ten guide of things to think about, and do when you’ve been elevated from the rest of the department to now lead them:
- Face the Facts. The sooner you accept that you are no longer one of them, the sooner you’ll be comfortable in your new role and can lead them.
- Make a Deal. Immediately negotiate with your ex-buddies (just yesterday you were one of them) on the ground rules to make it work in your new position. Bring likely problems out in the open and clarify expectations: theirs and yours.
- Be impartial. Outside of work is for friends; inside it’s about the team and the job. Treat everyone fairly and consistently.
- Keep a lid on it. You WILL face challenging processes, difficult situations, and painful people. It can be hard, but emotional outbursts only erode credibility and respect. Save it for the next sporting event you attend.
- Control your ego. Yes, you are good. You just got promoted and it’s difficult to be humble. Get over it. You’re the team leader, not king. Engage your team by listening to their views and welcoming their ideas.
- Hold your tongue. Miss the camaraderie, wild stories, vivid commentary, and critical conversations of how it should be done? Before the ‘chatter’ becomes inappropriate, remind everyone of the position you’re in. And if you have a lose tongue, stop talking and get out!
- Maintain your confidence. It will be challenged often and occasionally damaged. Begin repairs immediately by listing the positive things in your new role. Review this list every now and then to remind and maintain yourself.
- Want the ‘good old days’ again? Don’t look back; look ahead. Make a list of the frustrations from your old role/position and alongside that the benefits of your new role. Remember why you wanted to promote now?
- Celebrate your accomplishment. You are now in this position because you worked hard for it and you deserve it.
- Leadership training might not be mandatory, but the way to become a better leader is to keep learning. Build your soft skills like decision making, communication, and teamwork. The fire service is all about people; learn how to work with them and for them.
So, want to survive and prosper as a leader? Engage your people and build a team.
Visit Kim Fitzsimmons website here to see and purchase her fire service posters.