What is Your Definition of Leadership?

Defining Leadership

Fireground Leadership

How often do we discuss leadership issues?  In the fire service you will find yourself pulled into conversations about leadership capabilities on a regular basis.  You can read books, take courses, and study well known leaders but until you decide what type of leader you will be then you cannot move forward.

I believe there are many types of leaders each of which have their own personalities.  These leadership types, or styles, provide the leaders with a direction to move forward.  When you are struggling with finding an identity as a leader you must first ask yourself what your own definition of leadership will be.

Many years ago I heard this definition of leadership, “Leadership is taking someone to a place they normally wouldn’t go to by themselves”.  That message solidified what came to be my own leadership identity.  We become firefighters to serve others and if you follow a servant style leadership path you will serve other firefighters in order to ultimately provide the citizens you protect with the best service possible.  I have chosen a path in my fire service career to emphasize training other firefighters in order to ultimately serve my community as best I can.  I have to continue to remind myself to focus on this definition of leadership I have chosen.  This definition drives me to perform in the classroom, the training grounds and on the fire scene.

Once you identify your leadership definition you will be able to focus on refining your skills as a leader.  There are many lessons I learn everyday that help guide me to become a better leader.  I constantly analyze other firefighter’s leadership styles looking for traits that I gravitate toward.  I can only hope that one day in my fire service career someone else will find a leadership trait of mine that they gravitate toward.



About Matt Hinkle

Matt Hinkle is a Staff Instructor at the Mississippi State Fire Academy. He has over twelve years of experience in the fire service and has served in many positions throughout his career including; Firefighter, Lieutenant, Captain, Training Officer and Instructor. He has designed local and state training curriculums, coordinated regional training events, and assisted in the development of national training programs. During his service Matt has received several awards including: Firefighter of the Year (Lafayette County Fire Department), Fire Officer of the Year Finalist (MS Burn Association), Medal of Valor (MS Burn Association), and a Letter of Commendation (City of Oxford). Matt has received over 2,000 hours of technical training in many disciplines including: NFPA 1001-I-II (Firefighter I-II), NFPA 1002 (Driver/Operator), NFPA 1041-I-II (Instructor), Hazardous Materials Technician I-II, Rope Rescue Technician I-II, Confined Space Rescue Technician, Trench Rescue Technician, Vehicle Extrication I-II, Search and Rescue Technician I-II-III, EMT-B, and Cave Rescue I-II.

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