I’m afraid my strategy for capturing the interest of the uninitiated has fallen through, so I’m going to have to return to preaching to the choir. I guess it’s just as well; I’m not sure I want the lunatic fringe stalking around on my site anyway. It just so happens that I’m in the heart of Texas as I write this, talking about leadership to a class of firefighters at Canyon Lake Fire and EMS. There are also a few from the Bulverde and Spring Branch departments and they seem like a great bunch.
I have had the opportunity to speak a little about what we should be doing as leaders, as well as what we shouldn’t be. But regardless of how impressive our team is, we are probably all cursed with at least one individual on our team who simply doesn’t get it. By saying they are “on the team”, it’s really only in the sense that they are assigned to your team and you haven’t found the way to move them along yet.
There are people out there who are surprisingly reluctant to get with the program. Its as if they have some delusion that if they buck the system long enough, regardless of their piss-poor attitude, archaic methodologies, or lousy work ethic, some sea change will sweep down and save them from the rest of us.
While in my early days I was not the officer that I am today, I still have always said, if you stay off my radar, we can get along just fine. While that may be an invitation to the slackers to do what they do best, in fact, the slackers find ways to get right up there in my sights and hoist a billboard pretty much saying, “Come and get me.”
I believe that if we give people our expectations, provide them the resources necessary, and provide feedback as they move along, we can get excellent results. There are those, however, who are more interested in seeing how far they can push the boundaries.
If we (that is, the team) have a shared vision of excellence and we have a good plan to get there, and doing so is for the benefit of those we serve, and we have the approval of those people as well, what on God’s green earth would make anyone otherwise think that it is okay to steer the team in another direction. My take on it is that if you are that unhappy, just go. Find some other idiots who want to sit around and be negative and hang out with them. I can think of plenty of places to find people like that, if you are looking.
I realize that I don’t have the greatest ideas and to some, they might even sound crazy, but at least I HAVE ideas. I think, therefore, I am. Those of us who, instead of sitting around bitching, come up with ways to solve problems, while we may always be chasing at things, we are at least moving forward to do so.
This group here in Texas is very fortunate. Chief Wherry and his staff seem engaged and professional. They have a bunch of attentive people who are polite and respectful. The Canyon Lake department is a relatively young department and they don’t have a lot of baggage. That being said, they are a department with a lot of growing to do and while the foundation seemed to be intact before we got here and will hopefully be strengthened by the time we are gone, it really comes down to what they do with what we have now given them. From the best I can tell, I think they will be just fine.