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Company Officer Leadership: Building Up Your Team

As leaders, we have to work with a variety of internal personnel, from fire department ranks to intergovernmental department agencies (such as the water authority, municipal councils, law enforcement, and streets and parks, to name a few). We also interact with external customers we provide service to every day in the form of emergency response to residences or businesses, property inspection, plan reviews and public education about fire prevention.

So how do you as a leader bring a team together? How do you decide what role is most suitable for the results or goals in mind?

Identifying the desired outcomes or characteristics of those involved will help you select who best fits a task or position. Those in the ranks, from officers to firefighters, must want to be engaged with others on the team. Commitment and accountability to the greater goals and focusing on their own roles while continuing to share information with others involved is vital for a plan to come to fruition.

However, to achieve the desired outcomes, relationships must be developed with both internal and external customers. This takes a sincere approach towards others and being attentive to those individuals' strengths and resource capabilities.

Additionally, know how your teams' investment will impact your audience; be mindful of the return on investment with the outcome in mind.

When the team's objectives are determined and individuals participating have the ability and desire to reach these objectives, you'll be better positioned to reach those goals. The outcome may be a project success your team members find rewarding because of the impact it has on public safety and the team's shared effort to finalize the project.

As a leader, you have an opportunity to grow individuals and a successful team that can overwhelmingly accomplish more than one individual can. Building up your team is about staying on task with those involved, but it's also allowing creativity, differences and credit to be given to others who are contributing team members.

In the end, a team consisting of individuals with a variety of ideas and expertise will fare more successfully than isolating ideas and efforts to the team leader only. A strong team leader facilitates the team's work and remains on task. The team should have the latitude and autonomy to function to the best of their capabilities.

Build your team with great excitement and expectations about what the group can accomplish! As Henry Ford said, "Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."

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