Wildfire Leadership: Presence of Command


I'm a fan of the 60's TV series Green Acres. In the episode "The Ballad of Molly Turgiss", Oliver and Lisa Douglas learn the curse of Molly Turgiss – a woman whom the city has labeled "ugly" who has sworn in her death to haunt anyone who says her name. She made her presence known in a very tangible way, like throwing objects and stealing vehicles.

So why did I choose this episode to blog? I do not approve of the actions of those who judge someone for his appearance, but I am not naive enough to believe that appearance does not matter. In fact, someone recently commented on a Facebook question that size is an issue that they say affects their presence in command. But the outward appearance of a leader only goes "deeply". When we talk about the appearance of a leader, we have to go further than the physical attributes.

I don't want to downplay the importance of the physical; these attributes are important, especially during initial impressions and interviews. But as long as a person maintains good hygiene, most people will eventually go beyond physical attributes.

What does a leader look like?

The answers are as varied as those that answer the question. In her Forbes & # 39; article "Ten Questions to Strengthen Your Presence in Leadership, Carol Kinsey-Goman asks leaders to reflect on the following questions regarding their presence in command. Do you know who you are

  1. Are you a clear communicator?
  2. Are you a concise communicator?
  3. Do you speak with conviction?
  4. Do you tell stories?
  5. Does your body language predict presence?
  6. Do you dress for leadership success?
  7. Do you adapt your content to different audiences?
  8. Do you stay ready and positive under pressure?
  9. Do you have a self promotion plan?
  10. Are you inspiring?

Now back to Molly Turgiss …

We owe it to the mission and to our team to help each other. We need to create leadership environments where constructive criticism and healthy conflict can be expressed. If someone doesn't look like a leader, these concerns can be raised in a safe and healthy way.

*** Spoiler alert ***

In the case of Molly Turgiss, Lisa befriends her and offers to do a makeover if Molly promises to stop haunting the city. Molly accepts Lisa's offer and loves her new look. I am saddened to say that the people of Hooterville got off easily; I'm not sure they learned their lesson. I hope they saw that Lisa was able to show them the error of their ways and free Molly from an eternity of suffering.

Forest fire leadership challenge: digging a little deeper


Pam McDonald is a writer and editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and a member of the NWCG Leadership Subcommittee. The expressions are those of the author.

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