If you’re a firefighter thinking about a promotion, you need to know about the LQs. You’ve heard of the PQAs but the LQs might be new to you.
So what are the LQs?
The LQs are Leadership Qualities set out by the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) in the Leadership Framework. This framework defines the leadership behaviours required at each level in the Fire and Rescue Service and aims to identify, support and develop future leaders.
There are four distinct Leadership Qualities: Personal Impact, Outstanding Leadership, Service Delivery and Organisational Effectiveness.
Personal Impact – ‘ensures we value, respect and promote equality and diversity. It’s about being a positive presence on others, having personal integrity and an ability to self-manage. The focus is on self and how a manager uses leadership to create a positive, open-working environment focusing on ethics and wellbeing.’
Outstanding Leadership – ‘is about building high-performing teams and developing people to their full potential. It’s about communicating with integrity, being open and honest to foster trust and building collaborative working partnerships. An ambassador and role model for the Fire and Rescue Service. The focus is on others and how a manager uses leadership to create high performance teams.’
Service Delivery – ‘is about delivering high quality services now and into the future. It’s about intelligent problem-solving with an outcome-focused approach, continuous improvement and value for money to our customers. The focus is on task and how a manager uses leadership to produce outcome-focused results which meet customer needs.’
Organisational Effectiveness -‘is ensuring everything we do is linked to organisational plans and values. It’s driving the mission and ensuring decisions and actions are beneficial to the customer. The focus is on the organisation and how a manager uses leadership to continuously improve, innovate and change.’
LQs and Firefighter Career Progression
The LQs apply to all levels within the Fire Service and are measured in the same way. However, as you progress in your firefighter career, expectations will be higher and you will have to go further to demonstrate your ability to lead yourself, others, the function and the service.
For example, for Personal Impact, at Crew Manager level, you might be expected to address unethical or discriminatory comments by highlighting them and asking questions. As a Group Manager, you would need to demonstrate a more specific action plan to show your integrity and your strategy for influencing future behaviour across your team.
Outstanding Leadership for Crew Managers might mean establishing standards and priorities clearly. At Area Manager level you’d need to outline agendas as well as seek input and develop a defined direction in a consultative way.
Service Delivery often focuses on risks and consequences and analysing evidence. As you progress to more senior leadership positions you’ll be expected to generate a wider range of solutions and identify where action needs to be taken and how to mitigate risk.
Organisational Effectiveness involves looking at the bigger picture. Crew Managers might have to think about organisational priorities and how actions help communities and customers. Area Managers might think more broadly about environmental, economic or political factors and how actions taken will impact their teams in the future in a wider context.
What’s the difference between PQAs and LQs?
The LQs have a much clearer focus on service delivery and efficiency than the PQAs. The emphasis is on different approaches to learning outside of traditional training solutions i.e. creative approaches and a bigger focus on making the best use of team skills and experience through mentoring or coaching.
LQs are also focused on working with communities, listening to their needs and collaborating with other agencies or partners to share resources and objectives. This could be a joint initiative between the police and fire services, for example, which satisfies both agendas.
Importance is placed on supporting wellbeing, behaving ethically, collaborating, listening, involving and sharing best practice.