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Command And Leadership Qualities Of A Firefighter

Posted by Feld Fire on 8/29/2014 to Fire Fighting

Assertiveness and Communicating Effectively

A leader must understand when to stand up and say something and when to sit down and listen. Able to show displeasure or pleasure by the words and tone of voice in the actions of subordinates. You have to be able to speak your point without much ado. When seconds count, long winded discussions and instructions are killers. You have to make sure you are quick, to the point, and that your followers understand your objectives.


Understanding the goal and what objectives are necessary to obtain that goal. Realizing the goal and ensuring buy-in by your subordinates. It is also important to have clear and concise rules and guidelines for your followers. They must understand their role, your expectations of them, and their benchmarks for success.

Being Decisive

Leaders cannot be afraid to make a decision. In our jobs, we are not always afforded the opportunity to sit down and layout the risks vs. benefits of certain decisions. We must act on instinct, education, experience, and lessons learned. Likewise, we must be able to live with the decisions we make and admit mistakes when we make. If you aren’t making any mistakes you are not doing your job correctly. I know some very indecisive fire officers. Plain and simple, they suck. If you can’t make a decision get out of the way and follow someone who can.

Help Others Succeed

Helping others reach their full potential. When you are leading it isn’t about you, it is about your followers. Success might be a promotion for a subordinate or might mean your crew going home in the morning.


Dedicated to the team, to the cause, to the goal, to their subordinates. Dedicated to learning, to teaching, and to understanding. Understands the goals and works towards completion and accomplishment.


What you see is what you get. No hidden agendas or deceitfulness. Your moral fiber is more important than popularity. Things that come to mind when building integrity are honesty, orderly, clean, ethical, trustworthy, dependable, competent, consistent, caring, reliable, and authentic.

Being Humble

Don’t be arrogant. I know this is hard for many firefighters, but arrogance is unbecoming. In firefighting terms…don’t be a prick and throw around your position. We all know an officer who is always quick to make sure everyone know they are in charge. There is no I in team. Understands that the team is as strong as the weakest link. Does not use their leadership position as a weapon.

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