Leadership is a Verb, Not a Position of Status

Welcome to the “Front Bumper-Leading from the Front”

I am honored to begin a journey with you and hopefully many others who want to lead the fire service from the front.

There is much to learn, experience and understand about where the fire service needs to be in the future to position itself as a crucial component of public safety. The future is stranger than you think. It is impossible to predict the outcome of today’s action and how they will truly impact the future.

A little bit about me.chiefbuckman2

I have previously served 35 years as Fire Chief of the German Township Volunteer Fire Department in Evansville, IN. I have authored over 100 articles for fire service journals and presented seminars in every State and Canadian Province. I served as President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs in 2001-2002, Chairman of the Volunteer and Combination Officers Section 1988-1996 and Secretary-Treasurer of the National Fire Academy Alumni Association.

I have had the privilege of knowing and working with many of the fire services great leaders on a wide variety of projects.

I see my role here with Fire-Rescue is to stimulate discussion and debate on the hot topics of today that impact the operation/organization of the fire service.

Be Prepared

The old adage that “nice guys finish last” is likely just that–an old adage. Most experts claim that being prepared is your best bet for success. Preparedness comes in many different forms. A firefighter prepares for emergency operations by intense and challenging training. When one’s body and mind are properly prepared, the psychological effect of becoming a winner is greatly enhanced.

chiefbuckman3Without preparation a firefighter chances of injury are increased. The chances of a firefighters missing a critical step in fireground operations increases and may put other firefighters at increased risk.

“There are no secrets to success, It is the result of preparation, hard work and learning from failure”. Colin Powell

The preparation phases of being a firefighter are very diverse and never ending. From recruit school to promotions up into the officer ranks how one continues to prepare themselves will determine their success. Today, it is often said that people are different. So true, people are different today but they are also the same as in the past. People are most often interested in what is best for them versus what is best for the group. When you become a member of the fire service it will be critical that we think about the WE instead of the I.

When someone continually uses the following words be concerned:





WE thinkers are the opposite of I thinkers. You can usually tell the difference within the first 10 minutes of meeting them in how they describe activities. If they use “I” when describing an activity that you realize required more than one person, you can quickly size up the ego of that individual to determine if it is dominant in their discussions. We thinkers cut out the gossip, the negativity and the backstabbing on their team. This starts with each of us, and trust me, your team will follow. Consciously catch yourself if you are comparing, competing with or criticizing your teammates. Nothing ruins the spirit of a team faster.

Instead of being a teammate – that is one who compares, competes and criticizes – I urge you to become an teammate: a person who accepts, acknowledges and appreciates the positive things about their teammates. This attitude will get you a heck of a lot further along in accomplishing your tasks and help you move through these checkpoints a whole lot faster, too. Remember we work with people, and the way we treat them is critical to building a positive relationship to accomplish our assigned tasks. Everyone will work harder for a teammate.

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