The Fire Chief as Artistic Leader

Issue 8 and Volume 164.

BY TONY C. NIELSEN Ask people who have been fire service leaders for any length of time, and they will tell you that fire departments, like most other organizations, are pretty complex. In fact, if they’ve spent time in more than one organization, they will probably tell you that the same problems and types of people are everywhere: They just look a little different as you go from one organization to the next. One of the best ways for fire service leaders to sort through organizational issues and make sense of it all is to become an artistic leader—a leader who is able to creatively view organizations through different frames of reference. (Notice I didn’t say “think outside the box,” because I think we’re all tired of hearing that phrase.) In fact, as a leader, you can trip up when you look at your organization from a single frame of…

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