Figure 1. Taiwan Figure 2. England
Percentages of selected leadership styles. (Image by author.) Percentages of selected leadership styles. (Image by author.)
52 FIRERESCUE MAGAZINE JULY 2017 FIREFIGHTERNATION.COM
A QUESTION OF IDENTITY
the two least chosen were laissez-faire followed by authoritarian.
Figure 1 and 2: The most interesting result was that 66.5 percent
of Taiwanese chiefs accurately selected their leadership style while
only 37.75 percent of United Kingdom chiefs correctly chose their
Regarding the particular style of leadership, the majority of chiefs
in both countries chose participative (democratic), that is transformational. Furthermore, this choice represented the highest percentage of accurate styles chosen: 46 percent of the Taiwanese chiefs, of
which 70 percent were correct, and over half, 52 percent, of which 86
percent of the chiefs from England correctly selected the participative
style. This style represented the highest percentages of accuracy for all
the leadership styles. The conclusion is that those who selected this
type of leadership style understood the characteristics of it.
On the contrary, the least chosen leadership style for the Taiwanese
chiefs was laissez-faire, but the least selected style for the English was
authoritarian. Only three percent of the chiefs from Taiwan chose
laissez-faire as their own style and four percent of the English officers
selected authoritarian. The accuracy for both was also low, with 33
percent of the chiefs from Taiwan and 25 percent of those from
England being able to correctly identify their respective styles.
With regard to authoritarian and heroic leadership styles, more
chiefs in Taiwan chose authoritarian (autocratic) ( 39 percent) than
chiefs in the United Kingdom (four percent). On the contrary, more
chiefs in the United Kingdom chose heroic ( 37 percent) than chiefs
in Taiwan ( 12 percent). Again, it appears that the Taiwanese chief
officers had a better understanding of their chosen leadership style,
with 84 percent of the Taiwanese correcting selecting the authoritarian style and 79 percent correctly identifying their choice of the
heroic leadership style. This was not the case for the English chief
officers. Only 25 percent accurately identified their style as authoritarian and 28 percent as heroic.
Figure 3: Pertaining to Figure 3, the upper numbers in each
column represent the percentages of chiefs who self-identified that
particular leadership style. The lower numbers signify the percentages of chiefs who accurately identified their chosen leadership
style. For example, 39 percent of Taiwanese chief officers identified
their own leadership style as authoritarian, of which 84 percent
were correct as a result of their answers in the survey.
Figure 4: As for the last statement in the survey, one that asks the
participant to choose the five most important leadership qualities,
there was one common quality—communication—between the
two countries. Note that only qualities which garnered at least 25
percent among those surveyed appear below. Qualities gathering
less than 25 percent were too numerous to be mentioned here.
• Lead by example ( 40 percent).
• Professional ( 25 percent).
• Communication ( 25 percent).
• Integrity ( 48 percent).
• Vision ( 33 percent).
• Honesty ( 30 percent).
• Communication ( 26 percent).
Also of interest, although only 12 percent of the chief fire officers
from Taiwan selected heroic as their leadership style, “lead by example”
is a characteristic of the heroic leadership style and 40 percent of the
Taiwanese chief officers considered this trait as important in a chief
officer. It was the most popular characteristic chosen by the Taiwanese.
The challenge of this research is problematic. Quantitatively,
the data show the varying accuracy of chief fire officers and their
leadership styles. This is not refutable. The simple conclusion is
that a certain percentage of the chief fire officers cannot accurately
identify their leadership style, which leads to the question why?
In Taiwan, where fire officers possess at least an undergraduate degree, 56. 25 percent of the chief officers participating in the
survey earned a graduate degree. In England, where like the United
States there is no educational requirement (local fire department
requirements notwithstanding), 58. 3 percent of the chiefs surveyed
possessed a graduate degree. The closeness of these percentages
seems to exclude such education as a factor.
Probably the most obvious conclusion of this research is that
chief officers in both countries chose the participative (
transformational) leadership style. Moreover, those correctly identifying this
leadership style represented the highest percentage of accuracy.
One surprising finding is the prominence of the heroic leadership