The question I have is how do you get two LT's to get along? They cant even talk to each other. When one hears the other one on certain calls he wont even come out on certain calls. Both of them are good officers with a lot to teach the younger members but for some reason they just cant seem to get it together. Is there anything that can be done as a friend to both of them without causing more problems?
Okay I guess i should say they were good officers but this problem has a bad effect on them. One of them thinks he knows everything, and the other one cant stand it. They both have good ideas but the just cant work together anuymore. They used to be best friends but it wasnt a promotion or a woman they just cant get along.
[This message has been edited by mediator (edited 06-24-2001).]
mediator: you said;
a) "They can't even talk to each other."
b) " ... he wont even come out on certain calls."
c) " ... they just cant seem to get along."
d) "Both of them are good officers ... "
a + b + c DOES NOT = d
Personally, I'd suspend them both until they got their acts together. Should that fail I'd bring them both up on formal charges for conduct unbecoming of an officer and for putting fire department operations and firefighter safety in jeopardy.
You MUST act to replace them both because the behavior you described is unacceptable for leadership roles.
Sounds like you need to get a "Conflict Resolution Board" put into your bylaws or SOP.
We have one, and it's comprised of 5 members; a former chief, a present line officer, the chaplain, and two active members. So far, it's been a good thing.
The matter may be presented to the board by one of the participants in the dispute, or by any other concerned member or officer.
Attendance at the informal hearing is mandatory; and the terms and conditions set forth for the resolution of the conflict must be followed, or the matter is forwarded to the displinary board where probation, fines, suspensions, and expulsion may be possible.
We had a similar situation. They weren't officers, but they grew to hate each other over the assignments they were being given. Both were key people but their muted antagonism and lack of cooperation with each other adversly affected ops so the matter was referred to and resolved by the board.
Maybe the Conflict Resolution Board sounds silly - we're all 'adults' - but you got to do something, especially before someone else suffers.
This is the "playground mentality" at work.
On the playground, nobody gets killed by it. On the fireground, it can and will kill and injure someone someday.
There will always be disagreements among firefighters, but once the tones go off, all the arguements have to be put aside...doing the job is job 1.
Where is the Chief of the Department on this issue?
Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
"They have a lot to teach" seems like the lessons have been learned. I would recommend as mentioned earlier a conflict resolution board. What is the root of the problem. Did one get appointed before the other, did one get a better assignment, did one want meatloaf for dinner and the other make spaghetti? Come on folks, we are the ones who want to serve our communities wheter it be for pride OR a paycheck. A lot of the glory days are behind us. Fire Departments are now a business that must be well managed. If the management team cannot cooperate and act professionally amongst each other, the business is jeopardized. Find out what the real beef is betyween these two and fix it for the betterment of the officers involved and the department.
At least they're competent...or so you say...try having an Officer that can barely read or write. Can you say "it's who you know"?
Talk about being on your own on the fireground.
Gee Cappy, glad you aren't Chief of a department I work for. Doesn't sound like they are fist-fighting on the fireground. While they should be able to at least function together professionally, there comes a point when it might be best for them to avoid each other. Also, it depends what calls they are avoiding. If it is a call needing only 1 Lt, then what is the problem?
If it gets to the point where it is definitely impacting effectiveness on a call, then whoever is above them on the Chain-of-command should take them aside and deal with the situation. Should not use the Queen-of-Hearts method suggested by Cappy. You know .... "Off with their heads!!"
I've only been doing this firefighting stuff since '68 and I will admit that I still have a lot to learn, but problems are like fires - you got to hit them hard and hit them fast before they get bigger.
If those two "officers" (and I use that term loosely) were on my department they would have exactly two minutes to become best friends or they'd be lying out on the street with my size 12 stuck between their cheeks.
In MY fire department ALL officers (and ALL firefighters too) WILL communicate and WILL work together or they will be shown the door.
My first and only duty is to my firefighters. I refuse to risk having any member of MY department hurt or killed because two "officers" can't get it together.
I think that the solution to any member conflict depends on the personalities of those involved. If they are the type that are willing to talk AND listen then a sit down with a superior or a trained mediation officer should be enough. If they won't talk and/or won't listen then the conflict resolution board might work. If that won't work, or if there isn't a board like that in your department, then the suspension route is necessary. The threat of suspension can turn bad attitudes into good ones fast.
WHOA! Save the nasty emails .... I'm not the ruthless SOB you think I am.
FYI: I was the one that fought for and finally initiated my department's MAP (Member Assistance Program) that assists members (and families) with alcohol, drug, money, marital, employment, chronic illness, incident stress, and problem mediation.
MAP's a nice chunck out of my budget BUT worth every penny if it helps a firefighter stay on as a firefighter or helps get a firefighter's life in order.
My stance on THIS issue brought up by "mediator" is what it is because it involves two officers - OFFICERS who should: a) act like officers, b) have an officers thick skin, c) have enough experience and knowledge to know better, and d) who should put their firefighters' needs before their own.
If you agree that it takes a whole lot of hard work, determination, and sacrifice to earn that one-of-a-kind title of firefighter, what goes into becoming an officer? The first thing is leading by example - are these two Lieutenants doing that?
No. They need the Ranger treatment - a size 12 right where the sun don't shine.
It is good to know someone out there has the same problem that we have. Here at our station we have a similar situation with two of our Line Officers (we have no lieutenants, but I guess they are similar). They both have equal authority and both have an ego problem. Like you stated, they do not see eye to eye on anything. This really has not become a problem on the fireground as both seem to concentrate on the task at hand, but it seems to me it is a problem that could bleed over onto the fireground.
I have tried to talk to both, but they are both Ironheads. Like ecappy stated...they both need my big foot up their rear!!!
I really do not know what to tell you. This problem has affected the morale of our department, but our chief does not believe me when I try to explain to him that it is a real issue.
Good luck with your issues.
Give 'em both a set of boxing gloves, take 'em out behind the house and let 'em have at it. Promote the winner tpo Captain and that should resolve the issue.
JUST KIDDING !!!!!!
I thing the matter should be addressed by the Chief and someone from the Board and attempt to determine what is the causing this issue and try to reolve it.
After this is done, give them a time period to stop this unprofessional and dangerous behavior, if they don't conform to this, then I agree with "ecappy" some type of disciplinary action MUST take place. This could and maybe should include suspension or removal from office.
This type of behavior must not happen in any manner and MUST be stopped early. To allow this to continue, to me shows that the Admin of the dept is weak or has blinders on.
eCappy is right...you have to handle this as a serious matter. We have a very similar situation at my fire house and the problem is that not much has been done about it even though everyone is well aware of the problem. We have an outstanding Chief and Asst. Chief but they have chosen to ignore the childish behavior of these two rather than deal with it because the more they deal with it the worse it seems to get - the tattle talling gets worse, the name calling gets more frequent, etc. I am friends with both LTs and it puts me in a bad situation as it does for many of the other FFs. I believe that your Chief and the Trustees/Disciplinary Board need to sit down with both LTs and tell them how it is, how it will be, and give them exactly two weeks to show improvement or someone else will replace them. And officer should be someone we look to for guidance, someone we trust with our lives, and someone that leads in all areas of FF. Not someone who acts like a five year old on a playground that just had his toy taken away. The only thing these two can do is prove that they are not ready to be officers and that they have a lot of growing up to do. Nip it in the bud and move on.
There is an old saying....never make an example out of anyone unless it is a good example. These two officers are making asses out themselves and your department. They should do their jobs, and not worry about the other one. I am sure your Chief is not thrilled about having to babysit at the firehouse every day.
I agree with eCappy on this one. Company officers are the backbone of the department. Chiefs rely on COs to keep the place running smoothly and the FFs rely on COs for guidance and leadership. It seems like the two aren't doing either. These guys may need a reminder of why they are where they are.
On a lighter note: I know a captain who carries around a pacifier for such occasions.