Congratulations, you’ve been promoted to supervisor or beyond. You have a gold badge now, perhaps an office and maybe even your name on the door and preferred parking. Sorry to burst your bubble, but you haven’t arrived, or reached a destination where you can sit back on your laurels and finally coast. You actually just started a new chapter that requires MORE work than what you were doing before…it’s much more than a pin, plaque or title.
Leadership is an ongoing, never ending, continuous process of learning…if you want to do it right. The day you accept the position, you should add an entry onto your perpetual TO DO list to begin searching for your replacement. You should always be on the lookout for talent, encouraging and mentoring the next generation of leadership…you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.
The two biggest Achilles heels that I see in our industry are a lack of proper succession planning and a reluctance to engage in professional development. Many in the leadership ranks hang on to their ‘insider information’ like it was the kings gold thinking that if they are the only ones who know the information then only they have the power…making them indispensable. Actually this way of thinking breeds resentment in the short term, and usually leads to a overthrow coup in the long run. Dictators rule for a while but history proves over and over that they are all eventually assassinated or overthrown. If you suddenly see a flurry of activity, a huge upsurge in morale, and the delivery of a surprise load of lumber, you may want to look over your shoulder, the teambuilding exercise they’re planning might be the erection of a scaffold to hang you from.
You actually gain more power, prestige and respect by becoming the source of information, the go to person for mentoring and by having a mentality that by enhancing the capabilities of your team you can achieve more.
On the personal development front, how many books do you read each month? How many periodicals and journals do you read that are from OUTSIDE the emergency service industry…often the best ideas are adopted from other industries. Vehicle tracking didn’t originate in EMS, it came from air traffic control, railroad logistics and the trucking industry.
I urge you to learn something new every week, schedule time to read, join a coaching or mastermind group to share ideas with others and keep growing. I typically have 2-3 books going at one time, I read probably 8 books a month plus industry journals in healthcare, EMS, general business and marketing. Also invest in your education. Go to seminars and not just industry ones.
In September we’ll be launching the EMS Leadership Institute which will quickly become the place where both industry and non-industry topic experts will bring game-changing information to our members to help them not only think outside the box but to actually crush the box and step over the wreckage. If you’re interested, you can join the pre-launch email list @ www.WeLeadEMS.com.
Whether you join the Institute or not is a personal choice but please give yourself and your staff a huge advantage by plugging into a power source of information somewhere and growing as a professional a little bit every day.