I’m not too far off

Everytime I post about leadership, I wonder if I sound like a complete idiot. Sharing how I feel I try to manage things isn’t easy. What if I’ve got it totally wrong? When if the people I work with really just hate my guts? I will just sound like a fool.

 I know I’m not a perfect leader and I don’t meet all the best qualities like I should. But I don’t think any of us do.

One thing I know for certain is that the only way to become better at ANYTHING you do, is to first be open to the fact that there may be a better way.

As I scroll through Google and read leadership articles I begin to realize that my style isn’t so bad. I also read things that stand out to me…things I need to improve on…things I need to try. Self awareness is the key to doing just that. 

The following article from Fire Rescue Magazine lays out some key characteristics for successful leadership. Do you possess any of these? 

http://www.firerescuemagazine.com/articles/print/volume-4/issue-5/command-leadership/key-characteristics-of-successful-leaders.html

Teamwork 

While I was skimming through Pinterest I saw this quote posted by hhtp://hyplyrikz.com and it immediately jumped out at me. 

Looking back over my years as a middle manager I feel like this quote encompasses the route I tried to take when I made this rank. It hasn’t been easy, but I feel like my team and I have accomplished and continue to “tweak” coming together, keeping together, and working together.

Here some things I found to be helpful when I became a supervisor of a large team  made up of smaller teams that work together in life and death situations. Teams that work, live, eat, and sleep together.

-Take the “we work together” approach. I despise saying my co-workers work under me or for me. I know all to well what it is like to feel insufficient simply because I was a lower rank. So when I took this supervisor position I decided to observe more at first than go in blazing with my shiny extra bugle on display saying “I’m the damn boss!!”

They already know I’m the boss. 

I was fortunate to take a position in a familiar area. I actually became a supervisor of men who had supervised me at one point. Talk about ackward! (That could make a whole separate blog!)

But that ackward was an advantage. I knew how they operated. I knew their triggers. I was ahead of the game coming together with them.

The ones I hadn’t worked with I observed. I let them do their thing. See how they operate. See how they handle their people. See how they handle chaos.

How long did I observe? Long enough to figure out what changes we needed to make for all of us to come together as a cehosive group. That time line could be different in other circumstances.

-Understand different management styles. Understand different methods of conflict resolution. Know when to use ANY of them. 

Policies, procedures, and laws aside, everyone has a different style of management. Your way might not be the right way in certain circumstances. Hell, it might just flat out suck for those you supervisor. Meanwhile your walking around like a cock. 🐓

Do you need to be an expert in all styles? No. You just have to be open to the FACT that there are other styles and that they might just work better than yours.

-Ask what they need in a supervisor. Most of my officers said they just wanted to be able to do their job and not be micromanaged. I completely get that because I don’t want to be micromanaged either. Especially after 20 years at the job.

It’s not hard to let people do their job if you have the mind set that you aren’t the “all knowing”. It’s not hard if you don’t have an ego the size and force of a freight train.

You don’t need to remind them or scold them on EVERY little thing. If all the little things become consistent problems then let them have it. But until then, have some confidence in your people.
-Have over all goals and make them clear to your team.

My goal: We all go home physically and mentally in tact. Instead of using dumb luck, let’s work safer and more efficiently. We need to share the work load.

I cut out some things that were breaking up our numbers and our crew integrity. I simply reiterated that operating safely and efficiently was my main focus. The more working hands, the better. And I kept it as consistent as possible. 
Some people who wanted to operate at the bare minimum just because that’s how it had always been done. But once they saw consistency and they saw the burden lifted off even their own shoulders, they understood and accepted it.

-Be a guide and a sounding board.

 When a crew is having issues amongst itself it is important to listen and guide the officer. Not immediately step in and take over unless it’s a safety issue. 

Don’t take power away from your officers. And don’t step in and do everything for them. Help them figure it out. Be open minded to how they may deal with something or someone. 

Who knows…They may be better at it than you. And you could learn something. 

-Last but not least, keep your mouth shut. Don’t go running your mouth about what someone asked or told you. Don’t share the issues with everyone else. That is the FASTEST way to destroy crew and team intergrity and make you look like nothing but an asshole.

Be aware that when you are constantly talking about things you don’t need to behind people’s backs, they eventually find out. And then all the trust and respect goes out the window.

_____________________________
Thanks for taking time to read my post. Like and share for me if any of it made sense to you. Ha!

Fire Service question: Fog nozzle or Smoothbore 

There have been a recent changes to how things are done that effect a department and city. I am curious to other opinions from firefighters and Operations level officers who work and make decisions on aerial apparatus deployment in a variety of incidents.

So here are my questions:

-Do you think an aerial truck should have a fog nozzle attached for immediate deployment? Or do you think an aerial truck should have a smoothbore nozzle on it? 

-Do you feel it should be standard across an entire department? Or do you feel it should be dependent on primary district needs?

I would like to say that I don’t believe there is a right or wrong answer that will cover ever incident. We work in an unpredictable profession. I do, however feel that one of these choices is better than another. 

With that being said, I’m not here to debate or argue. I don’t even plan to reveal which  I personally think is better. I simply want some feedback on how departments across the country do things. This is just out of my personal interest.

Thanks for stopping by and thank you for any feedback.

And most importantly…Stay safe, brothers and sisters.

My mom tip

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Some of you may know where I’m going to with this photo. But for those who don’t, this is a picture of a recent “mom tip” I collected.

A recent mom tip. All $1.30 of it.

Years and years ago, my husband sacrificed his truck to help our finances. For those years and years he drove old, beat up, hand-me-down vehicles. The last one didn’t even go in reverse anymore.

So the other day he finally went and got himself a very nice used truck. I can’t express how truly happy I for him. Our family vehicle, an Armada, is on it’s last leg and drives him nuts when he works on it. (I will just get to take it to a mechanic. Haha!) And I get to drive back and forth to work in an F-250….a truck that was brand new when they issued it to me.

I have always felt so bad that he didn’t get to drive it and had to ride around with no heat or air when he went to work. So I am overjoyed that he will now be, not only comfortable, but safe when he’s on the road.

Now…. to talk about the Armada….

I like it. I don’t mind driving the vehicle itself. But holy shit. A nasty car is a pet peeve of mine. Yet ours has gotten NASTY!!!

Why you ask? Because we got into the mindset that it was going to fall apart soon. So we failed to take care of it. We are going, going, going all the time. We live out of it. And I gave up on keeping it clean or expecting anyone else to help keep it clean. My bad and I know it.

So…..here is where the mom tip comes in….

I am cleaning out the Armada today. It is time for the food between the seats (enough to sustain us for at least 3 days!) to go. No more bullcrap garbage, food, socks, pencils, toys, lollipop sticks, etc!!

While cleaning I will find money. Guaranteed. Coins everywhere! And I will keep the money (after washing it, of course.). Because FINDERS KEEPERS!

$1.52

MY MOM TIP.

Garden Therapy: Peppermint

It’s finally warmed up enough to get outside and garden. Gardening is therapy!

I’ve piddled with gardening for a long time. It’s a constant learning experience. And there is a ton of failure…also known as dead plants and rotten produce.

For the past 2 years I didn’t do much gardening. Depression and apathy are such bitches that can rob you of motivation to do things you love to do.

One season I skipped gardening all together. But not this year! We all need sunshine in our lives….and peppermint!

Through thick, thin, no attention, to much attention, plucking, picking, and cutting, peppermint and strawberries have stuck with me. Recently I decided to share my peppermint. There is no way I can use it all because it gets so abundant.

The picture below doesn’t quite show that abundance because it is early in the season. But don’t have doubt in my peppermint!

This little bit has been split. And now I’m working on getting my transplants to set some decent roots so I can share.

I wanted something other than galvanized tubs to plant my herbs and strawberries in. The tubs have been my best gardening friends for a long time. They were originally tubs used to hold cold beer at our wedding reception. So they have some age! They’ve housed all sorts of different species of plant. But the peppermint and strawberries are the ones who always come back.

So…the decision to transplant them was not easy. I don’t want to kill my faithful plants!! First I had to research other ways to grow each of them.

While skimming through Amazon Prime for different planter options I found this product that looked pretty cool. This Mr Stacky Tower came 2 days after I ordered it through Amazon Prime and out I went with it to dig up my old faithfuls.

This compact garden stand turns into the awesome tower to plant all sorts of goodies in!

Check out www.mrstacky.com for all sorts of awesome ideas on how to utilize their towers. I’ve already found that I’m going to need way more Mr Stacky!
And what’s even better? They are a small business. I always feel more connected to a product when I purchase something from a small, original business.

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So, back to the peppermint….

Peppermint is SO EASY to transplant. As you can see below, the roots are hardy and plentiful. The peppermint spreads because what I call “vines” extend out and the roots grow down into the dirt. The peppermint leaves are attached to the vine, not the roots themselves.

So….follow the easy-to-read Mr Stacky instructions included in the box and get to work!

I don’t like buying new soil so I find as much as I can from other sources. The tub of soil the peppermint was in is seasoned just right. I also keep old pots of soil that once has live plants in them. Yes, I have killed plants too. This year it was a planter that had mums in it once.

So…fill to the line with soil and then….

Transplant. You and cut or just pull apart those “vines” or extenders between the plants. Then set them on the soil.

You don’t have to bury the peppermint very deep. You really only need to lay it on the soil, then cover the vines/roots with more soil. A thin layer is enough. Lightly press the dirt so the plants stays in place.

Stack the next layer, and repeat.

For my peppermint I decided to just use only two layers of the Stacky. Peppermint spreads out, down, up, around…so I want it by itself so that it doesn’t grow into another plant in the stack.

Two days after I transplanted the peppermint it is doing great! Soon I will be transplanting these into individual pots to give to friends and family. I want the small, single plants to establish good roots and start to spread before I do.

When it was all done I had separated my clump of peppermint into at least 30 separate plants!

I had 3 stacks left so I moved and separated my strawberries into two and then planted some herb seeds in the last one.

So…during the process, this happened. I don’t recommend letting your cat fertilize your plants in this fashion. Hahaha!!

Don’t worry. None of your peppermint got transplanted into cat pee. Your welcome!

Go check out www.mrstacky.com.

It can be purchased on www.amazon.com as well.

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Thanks for stopping by!