Does Poor Leadership Kill First Responders?

By Sean Riley – President & Founder, Safe Call Now

Indecisive, the ability to not make a decision.  Ahhh but there’s more included in the definition.  Putting a decision off or can’t make an effective one.  That’s important to note.  I work with many people in the public sector (agencies) as well as private companies.  One thing I’ve noticed on my travels around the country are the management styles of leadership.  There are incredible leaders of people out there and then I see managers.  People wanting to be leaders but fit the definition of indecisiveness.

Indecision or being indecisive is killing first responders and I watch it every day and have seen it with my own eyes.  I’ve finally had enough of it.  I’ve worked for many great leaders in my career and some very poor ones.  The difference between them were that the true leaders could make decisions based off of people and not agendas, they were effective decisions because the put the individual first.  Yeah they may have had some errors in them but they were open minded enough to make changes that benefited all.  When a leader puts off a decision, seeks committee, wants meetings to go along with meetings…  You’re telling us we’re not worth much because your agenda is more important.

In today’s world of leadership it appears to me to be about covering your ass or limiting liability.  When did doing the right thing go out the door?  I also scoff at the leader that tells you what you want to hear and then never follows through.  Now you’re just placating me.  I really admire the many outstanding leaders out there that I meet and I know which ones they are.  I remember dealing with a Chief who was trying to help his employee in a crisis.  In the room with him was the City Attorney who was advising the Chief that he could not do what I was requesting to save the officer’s life.  The Chief stood up and said I’m doing it anyways, this is about my officer.  That my people… is a leader.  The message he sent to his troops was clear and resounding.  Guess what, the officer is thriving, the department is thriving because of a strong leader who cares about people.  He lets them do their jobs, supports them and values them as individuals.

How have I seen leadership kill first responders or put them in a position of “no return?”  A crisis arises within a department or private company.  Leadership goes into an immediate “huddle”, not for the benefit of the employee rather for the benefit of the agency.  The decision gets pushed back after multiple meetings, consultation with executive staff and attorneys.  Reviews, meetings on the reviews, reviews on the meetings (you get the idea) and enough time has passed and the first responder has gone into a crisis where there is no point of return or has killed themselves.  Unacceptable!!!

If you lead an agency or private company that deals with first responders, for God’s sake please be a leader of people.  Make decisions, if politics drives your decisions maybe it’s time to find another career.  When it comes to the life and death of our first responders they deserve to be lead in the direction of complete health and wellness.

If you, someone you love or know needs help, call:

Safe Call Now:  24 Hour Confidential Hotline:  206-459-3020

For more information on the First Responders program:  Click here

Or call Shannon Clairemont at 661-466-6352 or Vanessa Stapleton at 304-651-3008