Fire and emergency service officers at all levels face an increasing number of challenges every day. And as they advance through the ranks, these challenges increase, both in number and complexity. But emerging leaders don’t have to face these challenges alone. Now more than ever, there are opportunities to connect with peers and reach out to those who have already navigated the same waters.
Level by Level
Today’s company officers face a very dynamic work environment filled with myriad pressures from those they supervise as well as from their own bosses, and an expanding scope of responsibilities that now includes fire suppression and prevention, EMS, technical rescue, hazmat and terrorism prevention and response, just to name a few. These forces often combine to distract the company officer from their primary responsibility: maintaining crew discipline and preparedness.
Company officers making the move up the promotional ladder to the chief officer rank must handle daily operations, staffing issues, employee performance reviews, disciplinary action and policy issues. They’re not only confronted with a new set of professional challenges, but they often face the personal and political challenges of now supervising friends and former co-workers.
Executive chief officers oversee each of these operations and encounter additional political issues. Plus, they deal with financial matters, labor/management relations, reports to city councils and elected oversight boards, and a meeting schedule that can rival that of any Fortune 500 CEO.
Company officer, chief officer or executive chief officer: At whatever leadership level you find yourself now or aspire to in the future, your success depends on your decision-making ability and the information (education, training, the counsel of a network of peers or mentors, etc.) you bring to the job. Fortunately, Fire-Rescue International (FRI) allows us to better understand our challenges through professional and leadership education in the classroom and to broaden our ability to share our experiences and, therefore, learn from a greater network of peers who have “been there, done that.”
Global Forum for Leadership
Recognizing the challenges faced by company officers transitioning to chief officer and chief officers to executive chief officer, the IAFC began development of the Global Forum for Leadership. This program has three divisions: The Company Officer Leadership Symposium, the Chief Officer Leadership Symposium and the Executive Chief Officer Leadership Symposium. Each of these symposia have three components that follow NFPA 1021–Fire Officer I and II (Company Officer), NFPA 1021–Fire Officer III and IV (Chief Officer) and identified competencies for Executive Chief Officer. The third year of the Company Officer and Chief Officer symposia are viewed as the beginning of the transitional process to the next level.
FRI is the Global Forum for Leadership, providing its attendees with the technical skills and leadership tools to tackle the tough challenges faced at any rank. The IAFC Program Planning Committee has been reviewing job performance elements and requirements to continue to enhance all three levels of training in the Company Officer Leadership Symposium that has grown in popularity since its inception in 2007. The committee then began to formulate specific objectives and identified competencies for the new Chief Officer Leadership Symposium, which begins this year in Chicago. The Executive Chief Officer program is currently in development.
These exciting programs run Aug. 24 through Aug. 26. Attendees will also have access to all of the educational workshops offered at FRI as well as the exhibit floor, a great, one-stop shopping opportunity, especially for those navigating their new recommendation and/or purchasing responsibilities.
Today’s limited training dollars go further at FRI. The Global Forum for Leadership provides a wealth of education, networking, product demonstrations and special events in just 3 days. If you’re an emerging leader, now is the time to make an investment in your future. If you’re a seasoned chief, make an investment in your team by bringing at least one company officer and one chief officer with you to the show.
FRI is the only place where your entire leadership team can get the education, training and networking you want and need in one place.
See you in Chicago!