Fire Politics: Increasing the Fire Department’s Influence

It’s easy to find articles these days (electronic and hard copy) written about fire chiefs who are trying to sustain the capability of their fire departments to provide services to their communities. As I’ve said many times before, there is no...


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Influence is a reflection of leadership capability, and addressing these seven focus areas will enhance the political and operational influence of the fire chief. If any of the seven areas are weakened or ignored, it can negatively impact a chief’s ability to lead the organization. Fire chiefs should do a personal assessment of how they measure up in each of these seven focus areas, and then make ongoing adjustments where necessary and possible. This is not a one-time assessment, but should occur periodically throughout a chief’s career.

Helping future chief officers become aware of these focus areas can also help with their own professional and personal development. Take the time to do the assessment for yourself and encourage future chief officers to do the same. Bottom line, doing this can strengthen the current and future political and operational capability of the fire department – in good times as well as in the more difficult times.