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If your department has a core value of “respect,” but members of your command staff constantly talk down to people or yell at them publicly, you’re going to have a real credibility problem. The core values of your department will mean nothing to your firefighters if the management team is not consistently modeling the core values in their daily behavior. Start at the top and begin examining how your fire department approaches your core values.
This discussion on values is so important to the future success of your fire department that I will be continuing this focus in the next two columns as I discuss values clarity and values evaluations.