Company Motivation: The Key To Success

The topic of motivation in the fire service is not as easy to address as some might think. Some people will never have to be motivated, as they are self-motivated and hard charging.

When your troops show initiative, motivate them by supporting them and encouraging them. If they want to set up a company or battalion drill on a particular topic, let them run with it. If they want to branch out and set up a drill with other agencies, by all means, let them. Empowerment can be an excellent motivator. If they want to teach a class for the company or battalion (or the entire Department for that matter) do all you can to assist them. The feeling that one gets after getting a "Job Well Done" after tackling a project like this is priceless. Knowing that it was all made possible by a supportive Company Officer will motivate the individual to take on similar projects in the future.

One of the best ways to motivate your troops is to support them in their career development. If a firefighter tells you that they would like to make Company Officer or Driver, do everything in your power to get them ready for the next promotional process. Assign them to an Acting Position if you or the regular Driver happen to be off. Try to find the time to allow them to study while on duty, particularly as the Promotional Exam approaches. If another firefighter tells you they would like to transfer to the Hazardous Materials Team or a Technical Rescue Team, do anything you can to prepare them for the move. Make arrangements for them to ride with that Team for a few shifts. Help them get the prerequisite training that they will need in order to be considered for transfer to that Team. If you know ahead of time that a particular Team has a drill scheduled see if your firefighter can attend and assist. Never stand in the way of your crew's career aspirations. To do so lowers productivity and kills morale. It is also a disservice to your crew and your Department.

Never be afraid to stand up for your crew. A good crew will always be motivated by a Company Officer who is not afraid to take a stand for his crew. Once the crew realizes that you have their best interests in mind, they will go the extra mile for you. This increases the combat effectiveness of the unit and promotes cohesiveness among the crew. This is motivation at its simplest. The crew is motivated to come to work every day because they want to.

There several ways to motivate your crew and several sources available to you in order to get this information. It is ultimately the responsibility of the Company Officer to motivate the crew to the point where they are hard charging, effective, knowledgeable and make it a point to come to work every day because they want to be a part of the crew and a part of the Department.