Developing leaders within the fire department is both a challenging and rewarding process. While we can all agree that we need to be identifying and developing these people, the practice of doing it can be daunting. Leaders are retiring at a healthy rate and many of the potential leaders within the ranks seem to be disinterested in being a chief officer.
Our obligation as fire chiefs is to do everything we can to develop, encourage and support future leaders.
Many leadership success stories in the fire service usually involve a mentor who helped steer a more junior member in the right direction. Use the IAFC as a catalyst in developing the next generation of officers within your department.
From company officers to newly promoted chief officers, the resources at our association can make a profound difference in the abilities of leaders—regardless of rank—to facilitate change within their departments.
The Company Officers Section is a great place for new or aspiring company officers. The fact that the IAFC has this section within its organization signals the importance of mentoring and succession planning.
Consider signing up all your company officers for membership with the IAFC and this section or target those company officers who have expressed an interest in advancement.
Much like attending at the National Fire Academy, visiting one of our IAFC conferences is more than just education and classroom time. Developing connections with other colleagues across the globe is one of the primary benefits. These connections can make all the difference during the first few years wearing chiefs’ bugles.
Make it a goal to bring along a new face anytime a member of your department attends a conference.
We can’t rely on luck to steer the direction of our departments. We must identify talent and do our best to mentor it, using the tools and resources available. Consider all the IAFC has to offer for developing the next generation of your department and make sure the next chief on deck is more prepared than ever.
Fire Chief Thomas C. Jenkins V
President and Chairman of the Board