Leadership Is...Damn Hard Work
“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”—Thomas Alva Edison
There are literally tens of thousands of books on leadership readily available to us, all with a simple point and click. Several hundred of these books are geared specifically toward the fire service. Numerous YouTube videos and TedTalks are available to us at any moment, right in our pockets, packs, and purses. Every fire academy in the world dedicates a significant portion of its training curriculum to teaching leadership. Officer development is at the top of every fire chief’s “to do” list. And yet, virtually every survey of firefighters and fire officers reveals that there is a leadership vacuum and that we all struggle with how to fill it. Why is this so? Perhaps we focus too much on looking for inspiration and motivation (very necessary indeed) and neglect the perspiration (i.e., the damn hard work) that effective leadership requires. What does the work of leadership look like? How does it feel? How do you know when you are doing good work? Let us look at the hard work of leadership and try to discover some ways to put that plethora of inspiration and motivation to good use.