Are you aware of…. you?

What do you see?

Authentic leadership evasively hides, getting harder and harder to find everyday.  So many so-called leaders just manage day-to-day expecting great results to fall into their laps.  If you “lead” in any fashion you need to evaluate your interaction and influence. You alone possess the power to make people feel worth while in their jobs. Even if you do not have direct oversight, your daily interaction will exert influence in your co-workers.

Awareness of your presence and impact is necessary. (me)

Can you change processes or procedures that have become so integrated in the daily grind they are never evaluated? It becomes easy and somewhat habitual to go to work and do the same thing over and over. Read the book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business You will discover we are controlled by our daily habits and environment. Small changes reinforce huge shifts in our lives and the lives of our co-workers and friends.

Next question, what have you done recently to improve your professional abilities? Are you really done learning your job?  A true professional practices and works to get better at their craft every day. Just like the center on a football team (American NFL) who will snap the ball over and over and over again each and every day; you too should consider perfecting the small skills that make you a professional. Take a class, attend a seminar, read a book, teach a class, or just practice. No one knows it all or performs flawlessly without practice.

The quality of a man’s life is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence, regardless of his chosen field of endeavor.
(Vince Lombardi)

The only way to get better is to objectively look at your performance and seek outside evaluation for how you’re doing.  We use 360 degree surveys that are unfiltered, raw unloading of the department’s observations as they see them.  These evaluations are truly anonymous and sometimes brutal in content. Really good stuff. The results then can be categorized to look for trends and even be used to personally self-evaluate how you are perceived. CAUTION: Use these with care. Learn how to take raw feedback..

If you are not passionate about your work, read the book Turning Pro and evaluate your path.  If you are just in a rut, look for ways to break the habits around you that are pulling you down. If you are passionate, then look for ways to communicate that passion to those around you so that they understand. Everyone hears the message differently thus personalities abound with diverse opinions.  Craft your passion into a message that is personal to each one of your co-workers.  Talk their language and see if your passion is contagious.

Change is not as difficult as we all think. It is as easy as changing simple mundane habits and embracing our passion. Also remember to be personal with those around you as the message you speak may be in a foreign tongue if not delivered in their native personality.

Parting Shot: Be vain, look into the mirror often enough to know how others see you.


5 thoughts on “Are you aware of…. you?

  1. Great stuff. It seems that we shouldn’t have to keep coming back to that sports analogy but why do so many in the fire service, as athletes, think that our “seniority” means that we no longer need to practice and participate until game day? That wouldn’t be tolerated for 2 seconds on any major (or even minor) league team of ANY sport.

    I like your promotion of 360 feedback. I’d instituted that when I was training director at a regional hospital and, as you say, sometimes the feedback is brutal. Yet even when it is highly subjective and even nasty, it still gives you great information. Ok, so they say things that are highly biased and personal and at least partially untrue. But why are they saying them? How did this relationship form this way? How do we manage (or, better yet, correct) this situation?

    Again, good stuff. Keep it coming.

  2. The them and they always seem to refer to the persons percieved to be making life harder for a group or individual. Discussions do sometimes become personal, I find it helps to develop a thicker skin but the questions from rommie are good ones why does an individual feel the way they do? why is there such a yawning chasm between views when a goal needs to be achieved? Is the burden of that goal sometimes so large that balancing all those balls in the air knocks your hat over your eyes and you can no longer see the road forward clearly!
    I think your comments about being big enough to accept differing views and accepting that brutal feedback from actions undertaken is invalluable to review your actions and learn from the people around you, because a course of action is correct at the time you make the decision does not make it correct for all time!
    To liberate a well known saying ” the road to faluire is paved with good intentions” I’ll leave you with a question.
    What would you say are the most looked for qualities in leaders from all levels of management?

    • Great observations Nigel. The most sought after qualities in a leader would have to be the ability to influence and lead the masses with a calming presence. A strong leader doesn’t need to command with thunder, but rather with his ability to communicate to each member individually. When City Managers are polled to what attributes they seek in a fire chief, each survey I’ve seen returns with “Leadership” at the top. When you probe further to what leadership means to them, they will respond “the ability to influence direction”.

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