There are some funny role models about. People famous for being on TV, people famous for being, well, famous, or even celebrities with fairly dubious credentials can all be seen as role models to some. But what about you- who are you a role model for? If you are a parent then that’s pretty easy- like it or not, your kids are learning who and how to be from you. Even more reason to make sure you are striving to be the best you can and go to work to a fulfilling job each day, right?
Firefighters are role models in the community, due to the visibility of their role and the trust which is placed in their hands. You wouldn’t want someone with a ‘flexible’ approach to honesty or integrity in your home, or supporting you when you are most vulnerable, would you? So it stands to reason that recruitment focuses on the personal character and strengths of applicants. You can be taught how to put out a fire or deal with an RTA, but training someone to be the right sort of person, well that’s a challenge too far!
When you are looking to progress your career, who should your role models be? Taking a look at people actually doing the role you want is a good place to start. Be discerning, some may do it in a way you would like to copy, others may have standards which fall short of your own. Make an effort to model the good stuff and learn from the rest. It is much more useful to make a study of good practice in real life than to try to work out on your own what makes a good firefighter or what makes a good manager. Many a candidate going for promotion comes unstuck from taking a ‘managerial’ approach in their assessments i.e. they try to act like they think a manager should (worryingly this often seems to be authoritarian, overly assertive and uncompromising!) They forget the managers who actually support, nurture, encourage and listen to them, making them feel valued and involved, and instead put in a performance emulating their worst nightmare of a manager, the one who will make them feel like a naughty child who can’t be trusted to get their job right. Not good.
Whether you are being assessed to become a manager or start your firefighter career, think back to your role models. Think about how you would like to be treated if you were on the other end of the situation. Models the best bits of other peoples’ behaviour and in time you will find yourself in a role other people will be looking up to.