What's in a name? Boss? LO7445

Dr. Ivan Blanco (BLANCO@BU4090.BARRY.EDU)
Wed, 15 May 1996 17:09:49 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO7154 --

> Date: Fri, 03 May 1996 07:37:34 -0700
> From: "Michael D. Townes, Organizational Consultant" <MDTownes@premier.net>
> Keith Cowan wrote:
> > ... Some settings demand a hard ass style (fire fighters, literally
> > and figuratively, for example) while others will work better with
> > the leadership & empowerment style...
> Keith, I'd like to build on your comments. It has been my experience that
> some people believe that some settings demand a hard ass style... It has
> also been my experience that some situations require a very directive
> style, e.g., on the 'fire field' fighting an actual blaze and in other
> situations where life and limb are endangered.

I have to express my opinion on this one for more than one reason.
My background includes some more than 25 years of volunteer and full paid
interaction with the Fire Department in teh Federal District (Caracas),
Venezuela. This institution follows a military discipline, where orders
are followed, etc...

The HAStyle (this looks better than hard ass style), is present in
the fire department but not for the reasons given or in the situations you
think it applies the most. The most boring and structured situation in
the fire service are when you are waiting for an emergency to happen.
Then you have to apply the HAStyle to get some things done. I reached the
rank of Captain which in Venezuela is a lot more prestigious and respected
than it is here in the U.S., because it is very hard to get there... I am
bragging a little here.

In actual emergencies the style changes completely. No officer or
cammander in a fire situation can prentend to control all the information
necessary tpo centralize the decision making process. What they do is to
coordinate actions, but the smaller units and individuals are making a lot
of the decisions on their own in the scene. The basic factor that forces
this is response time. You don't for an officer to alert you of certain
things, or to react in some particular way to something else. You just do
it and then inform the guy in charge.

> To paraphrase an article that appeared in the WSJ some years ago, "When
> was the first time you ever heard people cry out for management?...
> People want and need leadership... machines need managment... "
> I think that a lot of people learned the hard ass style in another era and
> the fact that they are still making money seduces them into believing that
> they're doing the right thing. Perhaps they are, but one must ask, "In
> order to what?" Seems to me that reaching full human potential -- and
> that is what I believe is required to both attain high stock prices and
> some modicum (sp?) of job security -- requires a more humanistic style
> that changes and adapts with the situation, yet never fails to maintain
> human dignity.
> Are we saying the same thing, Keith?

In the fire service, during the emergencies there is a
consultative process that takes place. Of course, there some basic "ways"
of doing things that will be observed mos of the time. If you have see
some of the movies about this particular organization, most of the time
the command post is somewhat away from the scene. They collect
information and give directives (I took additional training on his here in
the U.S.). But the people actually doing the job have some discretion to
change the orders as they see fit, or as a friend of mine used to say "as
they feel the heat."

In most fire departments, there is a practice of holding a meeting
right after the units are back in their stations. Here they discuss all
the events, including the orders that were not followed, etc. They use
this information to make adjustments to the procedures...

Enough of fire stuff..

-- Ivan,


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