May 2013 Issue Number 154
Is a monthly electronic newsletter which links current events and issues to the daily challenges faced by fire and emergency services managers. Current topics in the areas of leadership development, workplace diversity, change management, and conflict resolution will be discussed.
We hope that you find the information here useful and provocative.
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Missouri Valley Division IAFC Annual Conference July 10-12, 2013 in Colorado Springs, CO. Linda Willing will be making a presentation at this conference. Go to www.iafc.org for more information.
Leading Tomorrow: 2013 Leadership Conference August 13-14, 2013 Chicago, IL. Leadership event for fire service women, co-located with FRI. Linda Willing will be presenting the workshop Command Presence at this conference. Go to www.i-women.org for more information.
Fire-Rescue International Chicago, IL August 13-17, 2013. Linda Willing will be presenting two workshops at this conference on August 14: Leading Diverse Teams and Professionalism in the Fire Service: New Challenges and Solutions. Go to www.iafc.org for updates.
Firewomen 2013 Frisco, CO October 3-6, 2013. Sponsored by Colorado Division of Fire Safety. Go to www.firewomen.org for updates and registration information.
Now available! On
the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories by Linda
F. Willing. This book features interviews with over 35 women
firefighters from the United States and Canada. The book is available
from major online booksellers, and signed copies may be ordered here.
Rethinking Recruitment: Notes from a day-long workshop held in Keystone, CO in November 2012.
360 Degree Evaluation
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, recently announced a new military initiative that will increase professional development programs for more senior officers, including generals and admirals. Among other programs, for the first time generals and admirals will be evaluated by their peers and those they command, a 360 degree evaluation process.
In the past, the military has resisted using this type of evaluation process that is common in the corporate world. Concern focused on potential damage to the hierarchical command system that is based on discipline and strict adherence to orders from above. The change comes in part due to a series of scandals involving high ranking officers. According to General Dempsey, "We need to assess both competence and character in a richer way."
Can this type of evaluation process work in very traditionally structured organizations like the military? Will subordinates feel safe enough to say what they really think about a high ranking officer? Will some people use the opportunity to be unfairly retaliatory? Will the information gathered be genuinely useful?
Not all 360 degree evaluation processes work well, but there are things that can be done to improve the outcome. First, designing a clear process for gathering information is critical. Second, all organizational members must be trained on the underlying goals of the system as well as specific skills on how to give feedback.
This new evaluation process is just one of several steps being taken to improve professional development opportunities for senior military officers. The demands of repeated combat deployments have diminished opportunities for educational programs in this area. Add to that the higher profile of military officers since 9/11 and some bad outcomes have occurred.
As General Dempsey said, "In my 39 years in the military I have learned that you are not a profession just because you say you are. You have to earn it and re-earn it and re-evaluate it from time to time."
These are words to live by that apply far beyond the military.
Source: The New York Times, April 13, 2013