Forest Fire Direction: Challenge # 2

Easel and logo with challenge. (Lily

Art of leadership

Leaders deeply affect people and organizations, both positively and negatively. Accidental leaders, uninterested or enthusiastic about leadership responsibilities or personal progress, can hinder people's growth and reduce the effectiveness of their organizations.

Conversely, committed leaders, avid students of leadership art, can inspire others and make a huge difference in people's lives, team results and organizational progress.

The art of leadership requires a constant exchange of theory and application. Art also includes the ability to display an overview – to discern how to turn a weakness into a force, by measuring what is and is not under our control. Leaders constantly balance the known and the unknown, the danger and the opportunity to find ways to take advantage.

In the end, the art of leadership requires finding a good balance between many factors in the real world, depending on the situation, to get a positive result.

On occasion, leaders may be asked to give an authoritarian, autocratic and tightly controlled leadership that requires immediate obedience. But most of the time, leaders inspire, guide and support their subordinates, thus gaining their commitment to the vision and mission and encouraging them, within established limits, to practice their craft creatively.

The challenge of leadership in the forest fire service is to encourage people to perform tasks and achieve goals in confused, dangerous and ambiguous conditions. Leaders balance the risks and potential gains of any decision and action. Because of the inherent complexity of this world, they often have to make difficult moral decisions – with enormous consequences – alone, unable to be guided by a chain of command.