Welcome to my series on thoughtful leadership and personnel management. It is my wish to pass along my thoughts, ideas, and firefighter personnel management theory with the hope that you’ll employ these concepts to create a level of thoughtful harmony within your shift or your department. While mainly geared towards career fire service employee management, the ideas and concepts I present will certainly apply, in spirit, and in execution to our volunteer brothers and sisters.
Unlike most professions, personnel management in the fire service requires special considerations. These considerations are driven by the dynamics created in fire department shift scheduling as well as the life-saving and dangerous activities firefighters must face as a cohesive team.
The reality of the commitment required for firefighters can be apparent when compared to an eight-hour per day office worker. The daily work activities of firefighters vary so much that no other work environment can compare in scope, pace, sensory, or knowledge requirements.
The average non-fire service job within the civilian workforce does not require employees to: sleep in relatively close quarters with each other, share shower, and personnel hygiene space, prepare and eat meals together, while depending on one-another for survival, protection, and trust.
The variables within the career fire service routine possess a complex environment with which to manage personnel and likewise will require a tailored personnel management plan.
The average corporate personnel management template is not well suited for a fire service application. This series will cover topics that highlight issues and solutions related to fire service personnel management. The immediate topics in this series (among others) will include, the physical and mental well-being of the firefighter employee, employee health and safety in the fire service, professional development opportunities, fire certification system, performance reviews, and disciplinary action. Individually, some of these topics relate and interlace with others but together represent a solid portion of a fire department personnel manager’s responsibilities. Each of these topics requires specific attention designed for firefighters.
We have all sat in the corporate sexual harassment training class, we have all cringed through diversity training, inclusion training, cultural sensitivity training. It’s long passed time for a tailored personnel management education plan designed for firefighters who live, work, and risk everything, together.
Thoughtful Leadership- Part 1 Preview
The physical and mental well-being of the firefighter is a topic that must be considered when handling any other personnel management function. Firefighters bear witness to and experience some of the worst things humanity has to offer. The frequent and sometimes prolonged exposure to critical incidents begs to question the physical and mental well-being of the firefighter at all times.