Emergency service leaders generally lack an education in the science of management. Although the topic of leadership is commonly taught in the emergency service training regiment, true management courses are far less common. Although
there is value in the topic of leadership, leadership is not “
management,” nor does leadership alone foster a successful organization.
Our agencies simply cannot thrive without proper management.
Many fire service leaders will shy away from learning about
management. At first, understanding the science of management
may not seem exciting or challenging. We would rather speak of
the heroics of leadership instead of the principals of management.
We spend our time educating our future “leaders” but rarely discuss training our future “managers.” Organizations need managers
perhaps more than individuals need leaders.
Management is a science whereas leadership is an art. Manage-
ment can be studied, learned, implemented, evaluated for its
effectiveness, redesigned, and evaluated again. The effects of proper
and improper management are measurable both quantitatively
and qualitatively. The fire service must begin to train its managers,
and we must improve the management of our emergency service
Unfortunately, there are very few management courses available
to those who have no time to seek a degree with a foundation in
management, and the fire service has too few fire service instruc-
tors who have studied and understand the principals of manage-
ment. Even the Executive Fire Officer series at the National Fire
Academy fails to provide any real background in the science of
management, and its pre-class reading list is wrought with books
about leadership but not management. National Fire Protection
Association (NFPA) 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional
Qualifications, contains management-related job performance
requirements for varying officer positions, and the fire officer
courses generally attempt to include some management lessons,
but they are glossed over at best. The fire service is simply failing to
train managers, and we are suffering as a result. It is time that our
fire service organizations are managed like successful businesses.
Management techniques for the modern
emergency service organization
BY BRADLEY M. PINSKY
Management vs. Leadership
Emergency service organizations need to
break the cycle of managing by rank and
instead start managing by talent. (Photo
courtesy of Wyoming Army National
Guard, Sgt. 1st Class Jimmy McGuire.)