Things will be different when I'm in charge.
Early on in my career, I remember uttering something similar when I was riding in the back seat, frustrated with the lack of training, coaching, engagement, and mentoring my current officer was providing me. I couldn't stand how little he seemed to care about this job and the people on our team. I watched as he ignored performance issues with others, afraid to have what might prove a difficult conversation.
I promised myself that when my opportunity came, I'd do the right things for people, the right way, and regardless of whether it upset them. This job demands a high standard, and the citizens expect nothing less than an A-performance from everyone on every run. Eventually, I got my wish, and with my shiny new badge pinned on my officer's shirt, I got to work fixing problems and challenging the status quo.
It doesn't take long to realize that leadership is overglorified.
It turns out I spent less time giving orders on the fireground and way more effort towards sorting through the professional and personal problems showing up in our firehouse. Shortly after that, I learned a tough but necessary lesson--just because your badge says leader on it doesn't mean that people will line up to follow you. I also quickly learned that many of my peers were not as passionate about the opportunity to lead as I was. Instead of support, I watched as other leaders did their best to sabotage our momentum for fear it might raise the standard for all.
After twenty years in public safety, I've learned all too well the reality of leadership--it can be hard, honestly, it can be really hard. Life is messy, and people's problems at home--such as marriage, finances, or a sick loved one--will follow them to the fire station, even when we do our best to keep it from doing so. Also, often from a lack of sleep, stress, or having traumatic experiences, we struggle to reconnect and be present with our families once we get home from the firehouse. It's as if our minds won't let us focus on just the family or the fire service, even though we're told to check our feelings at the door--because our brains don't work that way.
Leading involves a significant investment of time to help when problems arise.
Leading involves moments spent coaching and counseling, as much as it does training and running calls. It's celebrating when the team's performance is excellent but not letting our egos hide from dealing with the mistakes that will inevitably happen--especially our own. Yesterday's leadership training is only concerned with producing a stable availability of people who think they are ready to take on the next lleadership position. But, in reality, it does little to prepare them to to work through the many, often complicated interpersonal issues laying in store for them. In order to lead through the problems facing today's fire service, our training must include a firm understanding of how power is derived through building relationships, displaying empathy, and service to one another. No longer is a shiny badge and the ability to yell, Because I Said So the only requisite to lead .
At Embrace The Resistance (ETR) we understand that a leader's actions, even for the right reasons, will encounter plenty of reactions from critics.
This backpressure is similar to that of a nozzle, which instead of allowing water to haphazardly exit a hoseline to no further benefit, instead creates the ability to use it in a way that has impact and reach to help others. The nozzle has the ability to act as a force multiplier, but we must have techniques and an understanding of how it creates nozzle reaction so as to not grow frustrated enough that we simply refuse to open it. The opportunity to lead, especially from a formal position, offers us the same force-multiplying capabilities. But if leaders do not anticipate the reaction of others, while also lacking techniques to combat or displace it, then they will never have the confidence and inclination to use it well enough to maximize their impact and reach in their organization and on their teams.
On our website you'll find plenty of information, including videos, podcasts, training opportunities, and encouragement designed to help you prepare t maximize your potential leadership influence. We don't waste our time or yours pontificating about leadership theory and what might work. Instead we've chosen to share our own mistakes over the last 20 years in public safety, blending it with the ongoing revalations now available regarding the effects of social and cognitive psychology on leadership. Make sure to get over and like our Facebook Page to stay up to date as in-person classes and workshops roll out in your area.
So, are you ready to get to work?
The Standard/Fit to Fight Fire Episode 025 - Captain Ben Martin joins us again at Firehouse World in San Diego. We let the mics record our conversation as we touched on handling station issues at the lowest level, placing members in positions for which they have no desire, the importance of trust within a crew, and how the job can put stress on home life and a marriage.
Behind the Shield-Episode 473: Benjamin Martin is a veteran firefighter and the man behind "Embrace the Resistance". We discuss his journey into the fire service, shift work, sleep deprivation, leadership mistakes, the importance of humility, tactical fitness and much more.
In this episode of Jumpseat Radio host, Ryan Pennington welcomes Benjamin Martin to the podcast to share his take on Intoxicated Leadership. Benjamin has a GREAT perspective on controlling emotions, conflict resolution, and followership.
Topics Covered: Controlling emotions Managing Conflict How the body reacts to Emotions Takeaways to help you inside the Firehouse Know thy people, know thyself People are the most unpredictable part of the firehouse
Howdy from Due Work! Take a break from being terrified constantly from a virus (and somehow not of fire, building collapse, or getting caught NOT having a probar with you) and check out our conversation with Benjamin Martin! Ben schools us schmucks on communications, leadership, and building positive connections within the FD. A solid relationship with your men starts with understanding how relationships are built to begin with. Moving forward from there may take extra planning and strategy from you officers, but having a well-oiled machine is well worth it! Thanks, as always, for listening.
Firefighter Success--Episodes 40 & 41: Ben is the founder of the popular website and leadership movement EmbraceTheResistance.com which features leadership training for existing and aspiring leaders. In addition to his leadership blogs, he is a contributing author to several leadership books and has published articles in Fire Engineering, FireRescue, Fire Department Training Network (FDTN), International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI), FirefighterToolbox, and FirefighterWife.
This is going to be a fun episode this week. Benjamin is been a pretty, kind of a rising star in some of the areas, with a really unique look at leadership, emotional intelligence, organizational culture. You've had articles across fire engineering, fire rescue, fire department training network, and a bunch of others, and you also run EmbraceTheResistance.com. So, Benjamin, thanks for joining me today, and give me some background on why embrace the resistance and what are you resisting?
When you did your early training, did you make a lot of mistakes? If so, you likely learned more from the screw-ups than anything else. It was valuable experience. And hard to replace effectively. But my guest today says a lot of today’s younger firefighters are short-cutting that training— and missing the point—by using the internet. Benjamin Martin is a Captain with a large metro fire department in Virginia.
The Standard/Fit to Fight Fire--Episode 022 - Introspection. Balance. Intentional Action. These are all good leadership practices for any firefighter, not just a promoted officer. Ben Martin, the man behind Embrace the Resistance discusses these while touching on his class, Intoxicated Leadership. Ben is a Captain with a large metro department in Virginia.
Benjamin provides leadership training workshops and keynotes internationally and throughout the United States. He blends over 18 years of public safety experience with his ongoing Ph.D. study of human behavior and motivation to provide an entertaining and unfiltered view on a variety of leadership topics such as communication, command and control strategies, conflict management, and emotional intelligence. He is the founder of the popular website and leadership movement EmbraceTheResistance.com, which features leadership training for existing and aspiring leaders.
In addition to his leadership blogs, he is a contributing author to several leadership books and has published articles in Fire Engineering, FireRescue, Fire Department Training Network (FDTN), International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI), FirefighterToolbox, and FirefighterWife. He currently serves as a Captain with a large metro fire department in Virginia. You can email him at BMartin@EmbraceTheResistance.com.