Let Us Be Proud of Our Patch

In leadership, the easiest way to plummet morale and destroy efficiency is to consistently interfere at the operational level.  If you don’t give some latitude for mistakes you’ll just create kinks in the line instead of allowing water to the nozzle.  -LEAD IT

The above quote illustrates a common mistake made by company and chief level officers worldwide.

The bottom line is this:  a thing can only be owned by one entity at a time.

If your supervisor insists that the things that should belong to you instead belong to him, you’ll give up.

If you’re not allowed to make decisions about where your water goes once you pull the line, you don’t own that line.  If you’re not allowed to decide what the treatment plan is for your patient, then you don’t own the patient.  If you’re not allowed to decide what the topic of the training today is, then you don’t own the training.  If you’re not allowed to decide how you manage and lead your company/station/shift, you don’t own it.

When you don’t own it, you don’t care about it.

When your leaders make it clear that they own the organization, and you just work for it, your loyalty, your investment, your ownership evaporates.

When you lose your ownership, your give-a-shitter breaks.

When you look at the patch on your shoulder, you should be able to say “That’s our fire department.  I own some of that.  And I’m damn proud to be a part of it.”

If you’re saying “That patch belongs to the chief.  I’m not attached to it”, something’s broken.

If your leaders want to own the organization, they need to become part of us, and we can own the organization together.  Centralized authority is for the arrogant and weak-minded leader who doesn’t trust anyone enough to delegate authority and push the power down.  These leaders squander our greatest resource, the synergy that is possible when a group of dynamic and energetic warriors dedicates their effort to a common goal, putting the mission above the team, and the team above themselves.

How do we build ownership?

Let it mean something to be here, make me earn it.  Don’t let just anybody in, and don’t let just anybody stay.  Something that anybody can have isn’t valuable.

Let the people on the ground decide how it works on the ground.  If it affects me, I should be able to influence it.  If I’m responsible for it, I should have authority over it.

Let us treat our organization with all the tender care, loving pride, and joyful enthusiasm that we would if it belonged to us.

Let us be proud of our patch.


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