Public Safety Insights Newsletter: Ingredients for Success: Notes from the iWomen and FRI 2015 Conferences

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September 2, 2015 VOLUME 3, ISSUE 15
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Ingredients for Success: Notes from the iWomen and
FRI 2015 Conferences
Public Safety Insight: Speakers at the iWomen and FRI 2015 conferences identified a myriad of noteworthy characteristics of successful leaders.

Although the topics at the annual conferences of the International Association of Women in Fire and Emergency Services (iWomen Leadership) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (FRI 2015) in Atlanta were wide-ranging, they all had a common theme: helping fire and rescue professionals lead effectively at the individual, team, agency, and community levels. Below are twenty ingredients for success that I took away from these two events.

Successful leaders are those who:

  • serve with humility, purpose, and compassion, and lead from the heart.
  • pro-actively set and guide the public safety conversation and agenda.
  • enlist everyone in the organization in the “work” of leadership.
  • are proficient in navigating the political environment in which they operate.
  • build capacity throughout the organization.
  • are “authentic chameleons” – i.e., adapt effectively to the environment while remaining true to themselves.
  • educate stakeholders about the realities of what it takes to create and maintain a safe, healthy, economically viable community.
  • have the courage to take action and stand up for what’s right.
  • engage in difficult conversations, and teach others how to do so.
  • develop long-term, trusting relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • make professional development a life-long priority.
  • support others’ commitment to continuous learning.
  • are able to influence others ethically.
  • become proficient in using versatility skills – i.e., role-shifting, personal style-shifting, skill-shifting, and perspective-shifting.
  • grow by regularly stepping outside their comfort zones.
  • are adept at changing the public safety conversation by changing the questions.
  • choose to view the proverbial glass as half full because they understand that their mindset profoundly affects the way they live their lives.
  • “get off the island” to discover and adopt best practices and research results that benefit their communities.
  • work to keep both fire and rescue professionals and their communities safe by engaging in the political process at the national level as well as at the state and local levels.
  • have the courage to step down when they no longer are willing or able to be the effective leaders their agencies and communities need.

How many of these characteristics describe you as a leader? Where are your opportunities for growth?

On a related note, in Atlanta the IAFC Board “walked its talk” about building capacity by approving the formation of the new Company Officers Section. The purposes of this new Section are to increase company officer engagement within the IAFC, and to help company officers develop the leadership skills necessary to meet the challenges they face today as well as those they will encounter in the future as they promote to chief officer. I encourage you to let your company officers know of this professional development opportunity, endorse their membership, and support their active participation. Click here to learn more about this Section and the resources it offers.

To read leadership-related articles and resources that may be of value to you, I invite you to visit my web site at

Public Safety Insights is a concise, bi-weekly newsletter written specifically to help first responders maximize their performance. Your e-mail address is never shared with anyone for any reason. You may unsubscribe by clicking the link on the bottom of this e-mail.


©2015 Pat Lynch | Public Safety Insights

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