Both leadership and management are important and have their place. it is important not to confuse the two as they are different. Leadership is the skill and an attitude that enables one to get others to accomplish the objectives or goals that have been established. Management is the ability or skill of controlling resources, activities or tasks during the accomplishment of a objectives or goals. It is important to realize that these two concepts work synergistically together and that one without the other is not going to be very effective. “leadership is doing the right things, management is doing things right”, according to Doctor Warren Bennis of the University of California.
We can break this down a little further for understanding. We manage resources but you must lead people. The application of leadership and management will vary based upon several components; the resources at hand, the people, the confidence and abilities of the fire officer. Each officer will develop their own style. It is important to have a harmoneous balance between management and leadership. This balance will be dictated by the objectives or goals to be acheived.
There are three basic supervision styles; Autocratic, Democratic, Laissez-Faire.
Autocratic – I Decide
Democratic – We decide
Laissez-Faire – You decide
Effective Company Officers must have a mastery of all three styles and learn through experience which is the best style for every situation. Remember this is a learning process to reach “mastery”. You will make mistakes along the way in choosing the right style for a given situation. That is normal and it becomes a great basis for future decision making. When you make a mistake in choosing a style of supervision it doesn’t hurt to be humble with your personnel and let them know you made a mistake and you recognize it. When they recognize your sincere efforts to improve your supervision, you will gain respect from them. Remember respect is best earned not demanded.