Something we are facing in the fire service more and more is not only the decline of pride and traditions but also the morale of the average firefighter. Why is this the case? The blame can be placed on many people from officers, to old timers and even new guys. But has anyone stopped to think the problem might be themselves? I used to be one of those people that would place the blame on anyone or anything other than myself. But with time and maturity I’ve seen that department, station and firefighter morale starts with you.
It doesn’t matter if you are new, young, old or deadheaded; morale starts with a few good men that have goals and objectives for themselves, the station and their crew! It only takes one bad apple to ruin it for everyone. But time and time again we place the blame elsewhere, why is this? Are we negative about something in our department? Have we seen something we don’t like and have tried to fix it only to be put off and left alone?
“Well, I’ve tried to be the bigger person and try to boost morale but it’s just not working”. Start small you can’t change everyone and you can’t change a department over night! It will take time and hard work to get morale back. Start out by talking with some of the officers and see what they think of having some ole fashioned department cook-outs or maybe even building something to better the look of the station. “Well the reason morale is low is due to our leadership.” How can you fix that? Kill them with kindness! Now don’t be a smart ass but be respectful and work on building a better relationship with those who don’t see eye to eye with you! I don’t know how many people I have not seen eye to eye with but we are here to work together not against each other!
Here are some successful ways that work toward building better morale in the firehouse!
Lead by example. You don’t need rank to be a leader. Hold members to the same standard; don’t do something that you would reprimand someone else for. Build and develop teamwork as well as teaching that if you have a goal or task at hand that it is easier when two or more members work together to complete the goal faster and better than if it was done by one person. Praise those who work hard and show that they want to be there. In return, motivate those that have the bad attitudes and sour mentalities. These are just a few things to lift morale. I hope this helps your days in the firehouse
Photo Credit:Paul Combs