Riding the Right-Front Seat: "Leadership Landmines"

It is critical for those riding the right-front seat to remember that, above all else, you are in a position of leadership. You can never ignore that if you hope to be successful as a tactical leader in your fire department. In line with that...


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The second type is a far more vicious threat to you and your sanity. These are the “conscious button-pushers.” The talent these people possess involves knowing how to get the leader to lose their cool when it suits their needs. The danger with this type of threat is that they also have a knack when it comes to making it look like the leader’s fault when these situations occur. Once you have initiated an improper response to their button-pushing activity, you are done for.

As the leader you must always maintain a rational, level-headed approach to your position. When you lose this, you are in trouble. An angry person is not a reasonable person, and unreasonable responses to any situation are generally bad responses. You must by all means available to you identify the “button-pushers” in your organization.

My advice to you is to minimize your contact with any and all “button-pushers” in your work group. Use forums and situations where you are never one-on-one with them. Always have a witness. And never conduct any non-emergency interactions with them when you are tired, angry, previously frustrated or agitated in any way.

If you have read this column and decided that my words are aimed at keeping you out of trouble on a day-to-day basis, then you have captured the true essence of my intent. It is my hope that these words will help you to travel the straight and narrow road of supervisory success. That is the starting point for all of you who hope to succeed while “riding the right-front seat.”