Don’t Be the Fire Fighter

Photo by Esri Esri on Unsplash

It’s tempting, when the sh*t hits the fan, to jump in and help your team get through it. This is admirable but, as a leader, not always the best decision. In fact most of the time it’s the worst decision.

When firefighters attend a fire, the fire chief sits back and makes decisions. They maintain situational awareness and direct people to where they need to go. They can only do that because of their distance from the actual fire. I’m sure there are times, maybe when the blaze appears to be getting out of control or spreading to a new area, they’re tempted to grab a hose and pitch in but they know this is the worst decision because then no-one has that critical overview of everything that’s happening and making decisions that will ultimately help save lives.

Maybe you’re not a fire chief but as a leader the principle holds. In the work isn’t where you need to be, that’s not where you’re most valuable. Your people need you to be the strategic and tactical visionary, not another person on the hose.