Leadership

DEALING WITH PROBLEMATIC VOLUNTEERS

Issue 2 and Volume 155.

PROBLEM VOLUNTEERS DRAIN YOUR TIME AND ENERGY AND CAUSE YOU TO IGNORE THE 98 PERCENT OF VOLUNTEERS WHO ARE DOING A GREAT JOB. BY JOHN M. BUCKMAN The following concerns the unspeakable; the unthinkable; and, for many volunteer fire departments, the undoable: dealing with volunteers who cause real trouble. Turkeys, spoiled brats, meanies-we all have those types of people in our departments. In our general society, previously taboo discussion topics have come out of the closet and have become fodder for media exploration and often exploitation. Examples of incest, extreme self-serving behavior, abuse, corruption, brutality, ineptitude, and all manners of dysfunctional behavior are now commonplace in television and other media. Although not as sensational as the above, the volunteer fire service has its own closet topic-the problematic volunteer. Some people would rather avoid talking about it because it seems too harsh to be part of our image of effective, caring…

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