Leadership Styles for Training

One of the most challenging aspects of designing and implementing a training program is the ability to make the training applicable to all of the members who will be participating.

Delegating can be the most rewarding training/leadership style to use. At this point, you are working with and training a group of highly motivated and experiences firefighters (remember - motivation and experience will be related to the expected task). If you think that this style is appropriate for a training session, then consider these steps. First, topic selection should be picked jointly. When delegating, you are expecting the students to deliver the material, therefore, they need to have a strong comfort level with the topic. Once the "student instructor" selects a topic, review it with him/her to assure it meets the current needs of the company. Allow the firefighter to design the training program and provide support for any resources he/she may need. And finally, review the designed program before it is delivered to prevent any surprises or embarrassments. For a job well done, provide some type of award (buy them dinner) and recognition for their efforts.

In review, the success of your training program is contingent upon your ability to identify the level of development for the firefighters for the specified topic. If a new piece of equipment is purchased or a new standard operating procedure is being introduced, almost always, all members will need to be instructed with the directing style. Conversely, the highly motivated and trained firefighter(s) in your company might be the one you can delegate to some of the training responsibility. Your ability to read the student also lends itself to a good outcome. Nobody wants to be "talked down to", and it is human nature not to admit when the material is "over our heads". Your job, as the trainer, is to find the right balance and to be effective!