Establishing Trust Is Job One
BY RICHARD WILSON, BRIAN COLELLA AND TIM HOLMES
WHEN DEFINING LEADERSHIP, many of us immediately think of a person from our past who either directly or indirectly
made a positive impact on our lives. We think
about a fire chief we admired, a teacher who
made us feel as though we could take on the
world, or a coach who encouraged us to step
outside of our comfort zone and reach beyond
our own expectations.
Now that we have an image of what a leader
looks like, the next question is, what is one
trait they have in common? Our answer is
simple and holds true in all effective relationships. The answer is trust. Whether your
leader was a coach, teacher, boss or fire chief,
one common trait he or she had was the ability
to build mutual trust. With trust comes respect
for a person’s character and level of integrity.
In addition, leaders have an ability to clearly
define expectations, demonstrate the value
they have in their team and share a vision that
others want to follow.
Respect for our leaders causes us to be
receptive and perform, delivering any task or
assignment they ask of us. This is not to say
that we always are in complete agreement with
what a leader asks of us. However, because we
trust, respect and believe in his or her vision,
we are willing to perform and able to achieve
results. These foundations of mutual trust and
respect continue to build the relationship, as
well as many positive experiences. Without
either one of these two key components, there
cannot be an effective team, relationship or
well-executed vision. Without them, an effective leader will not exist.
This article’s discussion of leadership is
based on experiences of leaders in the fire
fighting industry and on the recent evolution
of leadership in ARFF. As the technology and
science of ARFF continues to evolve, the leadership culture in our industry needs to adapt
as well and be receptive to change.
As stated earlier, establishing trust is the
first step in forming effective leadership.
Without trust, the organization may
continue to exist but tasks and orders will
be completed to the bare minimum standard