In my last article “The Toxicity Within” I talked about the toxicity of the negative attitude that can be seen by any member of any department and at any time. This time we’ll talk about members of the department who do not lead… but control. This is a common problem that I have seen any member of the department. This is not just a possible issue with officers or Sr. FF. This is a subject matter that is very touchy with some, but it is something that I feel needs to be talked about. I am in no way trying to disrespect or take anything away from anyone.
Did I say to do that?
This is something that we have probably all heard at some point in time in our careers. This question can be asked in response to something good or bad. Don’t get me wrong if you messed up something needs to be said; but if you made a decision to do something and got the job done then what is the issue. At the end of the day if the job got done right and no one got hurt what is the issue.
Well, that’s not the way I do it.
I know there are several officers or Sr. FF that want things done there way and there way only where nothing else is acceptable. This can become a real issue. If I complete the task at hand safely but it wasn’t the way you would do it. Was I wrong? How can we expect to be competent FF if we are constantly nitpicked and micromanaged by the decisions we make. This can especially be a serious issue in a small department where you could come off your rookie year and be put in a leadership position. How can we be expected to be able to possibly run day-to-day operations or even a scene if we have never been given the opportunity to make our own decisions? And if we are not allowed to make out on decisions it can cause the crew to feel as if they are not trusted by their officers.
If you read the first article of “The Toxicity Within” I talked about the snowball effect and how it is much easier to build a snowball by rolling it downhill versus rolling it uphill. This is a classic example of the snow ball effect. It starts with those above us and spreads down the chain from there, and over time it will become “the way its always been”. Then the next person to take over will treat his people the same way he was. The same way he watched how an officer acts and that’s all he knows. Then it becomes a constant cycle until someone stands up to challenge the status quo.
This is a very touchy subject in the aspect you are dealing with officers and Sr. members. There are many ways that you could approach this situation. You can once again try calling the said person, but this move is very risky depending on who you are dealing with. I know some officers that want to be called out and I know others that would lose it. Another option that you have is getting with your crew and if you all have the same concern approach said person and talk about the concerns you have. Do not attack them for what has been going on some don’t realize what they are doing. They don’t realize the damage that they are causing to the shift or possibly the department. At the end of the day, I do believe that just about all of us are here to better our community, our department, and ourselves. I do not believe for a minute that we are purposely trying to cause these toxic acts. Together we can help stop this toxicity that affects all of us.
Please feel free to share some experiences you have had with toxicity among your shift or department.