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Week in Review 1718

This week was a little different from normal. After the previous weeks poll on the biggest issue that you are having, I put together a five part mini series on treating toxic teammates. How did you like it? Each post is lengthy so I’ll just include parts of them and give you the link to see the whole one if you’d like.
I give you the Week In Review: “Treating Toxic Teammates”
Monday

The number 1 poll response was:

Negativity- Holding a bad attitude and spreading it to younger members of the department.

What to do?

Misery loves company. This is an unfortunate truth.

First things first though. Why does this person have a bad attitude?
The bad attitude came from a frustration.
A frustation in how somethings was done or is currently being done.
The person feels helpless and feels as though they have no control over the situation.

Finish reading the article below:

Treating Toxic Teammates (1 of 5)

Tuesday

The number 2 issue on the poll was:
2.CHANGE a Technique or Task:That’s NOT how I learned it and we DONT do that way here (your New way … the modern way Your showing us)…!
===========================================
Most Dangerous Phrase: We’ve Always Done It That Way.
The real issue here is a person is being required to change instead of wanting to change.
Our job is to be competent in our skills.
When change comes about, guess what?

Finish reading the article below:

Treating Toxic Teammates (2 of 5)


Wednesday

Issue:
3.Complacency- not being prepared physically and mentally and unwilling to do anything about it.
==========================================

Complacency sets in from lack of experience and discipline.

These are typically people who have had very few big calls. You know the ones. They are equipped to handle false alarms and general illnesses. They have not experienced a moment where not being prepared has hurt them.

Finish reading the article below:

Treating Toxic Teammates (3 of 5)

Thursday

4.Lack of professionalism . AKA not knowing equipment on the truck. Not knowing how much hose we carry or what our nozzles are rated at.etc
==========================================

uh oh….

I have a confession to make.

When I first promoted to Engineer. I thought I was good. I knew where all the equipment was and could get the lines charges quickly.

However, looking back now, I was not as professional as I should have been. I pumped everything at 100 psi, I had no idea what GPMs I was giving people. I could start all the equipment but knew little on maintaining or troubleshooting the equipment. I would find problems and create work orders instead of trying to fix it myself first.

Finish reading the article below:

Treating Toxic Teammates (4 of 5)

Friday

5.Lack of self pride/ station pride
===========================

Well lets first ask ourselves “where does pride come from?”

Do you have pride?
Why?

I can tell you that I have pride.
I have pride because I enjoy what I do.
I enjoy what I do, because i’m good at it.

Pride comes from confidence.

Finish reading the article below:

Treating Toxic Teammates (5 of 5)

John Lovato, Jr.

Author, Fix Your Firehouse
Creator, Company Officer Logbook
Founder, Brotherhood Coaching

Week in Review 1718

Treating Toxic Teammates (5 of 5)

5.Lack of self pride/ station pride
===========================

Well lets first ask ourselves “where does pride come from?”

Do you have pride?
Why?

I can tell you that I have pride.
I have pride because I enjoy what I do.
I enjoy what I do, because i’m good at it.

Pride comes from confidence.

Confidence comes from performing well at something time and time again.

So when you see lack of self pride or station pride, theres a confidence issue going on with the person.
A peacock is a proud animal who promptly displays its colors as it struts around.
The peacock attracts attention though.
People with little confidence don’t want attention.

If you really want to work on helping someone increase their pride, help them with their confidence.
Help them be good.
They’re provably shy and don’t want to screw up in front of people.
Help them not screw up.

We learn in conflict resolution that there is always an underlying issue that you can’t see.
I hope you have noticed that the same goes for all of this week’s examples.

We can actually fix a lot of the issues we come across by treating the underlying issues.

We fight fire with water, not more fire.

This is another way of saying, don’t get upset, don’t get angry.

Be the bigger person, Help those who need the helping hand.

Treating Toxic Teammates (5 of 5)

Treating Toxic Teammates (4 of 5)

4.Lack of professionalism . AKA not knowing equipment on the truck. Not knowing how much hose we carry or what our nozzles are rated at.etc
==========================================

uh oh….

I have a confession to make.

When I first promoted to Engineer. I thought I was good. I knew where all the equipment was and could get the lines charges quickly.

However, looking back now, I was not as professional as I should have been. I pumped everything at 100 psi, I had no idea what GPMs I was giving people. I could start all the equipment but knew little on maintaining or troubleshooting the equipment. I would find problems and create work orders instead of trying to fix it myself first.

Was I professional? At the time, I thought I was. I did not realize how much I was lacking until I was assigned to a Senior Captain.

You see the term “Senior” Captain has two meaning to me. The first one means that he had time on as a Captain. The second meaning, which is the most important, is that he took ownership to develop those on his crew.

This Captain would do morning trainings on hydraulic calculations. He made sure every Engineer and Acting Engineer knew how much gpm every nozzle was rated at and what pressure to pump it at to maximize its efficiency.

It did not take long, but I started to have a better understanding of nozzles, gpm, and pump pressures. Soon after I started doing the same type of deeper understanding of all the equipment on the engine.

So how much emphasis is being put on being professional in your firehouse?

When I first got my station as a Captain. We did similar pump operator trainings in the morning. The crew also went on and developed a cheat sheet that was laminated and mounted it to the pump panel for quick reference.

Most people do not realize their lack of knowledge or proficiency until they are educated on the area. Repetition is key for things like this to stick.

Too often, we just expect people to have a certain level of knowledge instead of helping them acquire this knowledge.

Treating Toxic Teammates (4 of 5)

Treating Toxic Teammates (3 of 5)

Issue:
3.Complacency- not being prepared physically and mentally and unwilling to do anything about it.
==========================================

Complacency sets in from lack of experience and discipline.

These are typically people who have had very few big calls. You know the ones. They are equipped to handle false alarms and general illnesses. They have not experienced a moment where not being prepared has hurt them.

Because of this lack of experience, they have no desire to be disciplined in their career. This starts to spiral into always expecting a false alarm and only being prepared for minor calls.

Great. You probably already know this. So how do we deal with this?

First you need to understand that habits of someone who is not complacent. Someone who prepares themselves physically and mentally for the job. This is someone who has been on busy companies throughout their career. They have been challenged routinely both physically and mentally.

Imagine if you caught a working fire every shift?

What would you eat that day? The day before?
What type of physical conditioning would you do?
How much would you study your craft to keep you safer?

Odds are you would take your job more seriously.

To fight complacency, you must create a desire to be disciplined.

How does admin get us to study SOPs, leadership material, or Medical protocols?
They use tests.

Either promotional tests. Tests tied to pay.

Tests are nothing more than DRILLS.

Training is what we do to help prepare us for DRILLS.

People don’t know what they don’t know,
until they know what they don’t know.

Odds are performing at their subpar level has gotten them by. So whats the incentive to perform at a higher level?

Well, you’re going to have to educate them. SELL them.

Perform realistic trainings that will reveal to them how their performance is doing.
Routinely review LODD reports and Close Calls. Quite a few can be linked back to complacency.

Then you can have a TEST/DRILL to show how they have improved.

The thing is, we all have had different experiences in our life and career. This is why our thought process and our level of discipline is where it is at.

STOP thinking everyone has experienced what you have.

START recreating trainings so they can experience it for themselves.

Give them that “aha” moment they are missing.

Theres also a big misconception to being SAFE on this job.

Here’s the truth:

The more you train, the better your skills are which make you SAFER.
The more you workout, the more physical and mental stress you can handle which makes you SAFER.
The more you study your craft, the more you can recognize building construction or fire behavior issues which make you SAFER.

The more SAFE you want to be, the more you need to GET INTO THE JOB.

Treating Toxic Teammates (3 of 5)

Treating Toxic Teammates (2 of 5)

Treating Toxic Teammates (2 of 5)
The number 2 issue on the poll was:
2.CHANGE a Technique or Task:That’s NOT how I learned it and we DONT do that way here (your New way … the modern way Your showing us)…!
===========================================
Most Dangerous Phrase: We’ve Always Done It That Way.
The real issue here is a person is being required to change instead of wanting to change.
Our job is to be competent in our skills.
When change comes about, guess what?
We don’t see ourselves as being competent in something we have never done before.
This is the underlying emotional response to resisting change.
to be competent in a skill, it must be repeated over and over again. we are normally not that good in the beginning and only after a lot of repetitions do we begin to feel confident and competent.
this is always why you tend to see senior members be the last ones to go during training. They don’t want to look incompetent so they watch others go first.
Imagine the possibility if I told you that they are resisting the change due to how it was presented to them…
I’ll share a story with you to help understand.
A couple years ago, we had a handful of members attend the Nozzle Forward program. If you haven’t attended it, you are missing out on some great skill when it comes to hoseline management.
So the class was given over 2 days. Each day consisted of about 10 hours of work. We are talking grips, communication, advancing, and stream application.
A few days after the training, one of the guys who attended it went to our Deputy Chiefs officer to try to implement the learned skill department wide.
He explained to the chief that we have been doing it all wrong, and this way he just learned is better.
What do you think the Deputy Chief heard?
He heard a Firefigher who had about 10 years on the job, tell a Deputy Chief who had over 20 years on the job, that he had been doing it all wrong his whole career and now theres a better way that a guy with half the time on thinks is best.
Did the deputy chief attend the 20 hours of training it took to have the “aha” moment?
No.
The firefighter did.
The “aha” moment is when that light bulb goes off and you understand what is being taught fully. This normally takes a lot of sets and reps if its a hands on skill or a subject being explained multiple different ways to finally grasp it.
The firefighter got the “aha” moment after training on the material for 20 hours with subject matter experts.
The Deputy Chief was given a 5 minute recommendation by a guy who took the training once.
Are you starting to see why the change wasn’t accepted?
If you want to change to happen. It must be presented well and know that it will take time. All those involved have to have the “aha” moment in order for them to WANT to do it.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again…..make sure you try differently each time.
Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results is called insanity not progress.

Treating Toxic Teammates (2 of 5)

Treating Toxic Teammates (1 of 5)

Treating Toxic Teammates (1 of 5)

The number 1 poll response was:
Negativity- Holding a bad attitude and spreading it to younger members of the department.

What to do?

Misery loves company. This is an unfortunate truth.
First things first though. Why does this person have a bad attitude?

The bad attitude came from a frustration.
A frustation in how somethings was done or is currently being done.
The person feels helpless and feels as though they have no control over the situation.

They are not involved.
They are sitting in the cheap seats of the department.
Believe it or not, they want to be part of the solution.
They want to be valued.

They are scared though.
To put themselves out there to be judged.

So instead they sit back. Put on a tough guy persona and spread their negativity on how they would do things different if they were in charge.
Sound familiar?

They are spreading their negativity to build their own team of negative nancy’s.

This makes them feel like they have a belonging without having to put themselves out there to actually make things better.
Something happened though. Somethings that discouraged them to get off the right path.

Maybe they didn’t get that chance to put on a training they saw valuable?
Maybe they were targeted by some toxic leadership in the past?
Either way, they are wearing their scars as an attitude issue.
They want to be good though.

They view themselves as competent in their skills.
This type of person needs direct influence.
Find out what they are good at and EXPLOIT it.
What do I mean?

If they are good with understanding ladder truck operations and positioning.
Have them teach the crew.

Rave about how good they are.

Give them more responsibility in areas they are good at.

This is going to take work on your part.

Too often a company officer or senior man wants a high performing crew but doesn’t want to put the work in.

DO THE WORK.

Treating Toxic Teammates (1 of 5)

Dealing with Criticism and Rumors

Dealing with criticism and rumors, has this ever happened to you? I can tell you right now, it’s happened to me. Odds are if you put yourself out there for anything, try to make an impact with anything, you’ve experienced this. So if this is gonna happen when we put ourselves out there, how can we best deal with it? Well, that’s what I’m gonna talk to you guys about today.

At times, we’re a firehouse full of typically alpha males, there’s some alpha females, and sometimes these stories start happening like an episode of “as the hydrant turns” as I guy I used to work with called it. That’s when some of the drama around the station starts happening, and it starts acting like a bunch of kids, as opposed to a bunch of grown adults.
So why does this happen? Why does criticism happen if what you’re doing is to better something or why do rumors start? Well you have to understand something about people, and we always try to justify when things happen. We make up these stories in our head. Maybe it’s why someone volunteered their time to be on a committee. Maybe that person just wants to make an impact while the other person is making up a story, oh, well they’re just trying to get ahead.

Often times in our personal life, professional life, we make up these stories and the majority of the time, they’re false. They’re exactly what they are, they’re made up stories. They actually have no merit and but we like to believe in them because they make sense. Where do we see these stories happen? We see these made up stories start happening when we get passed up in a promotional exam. Well that person, they’re buddies with admin, so that’s why they got promoted. It had nothing to do with the fact that they studied 40 hours a week for three months. No, not that. It had to do with buddies, because guess what? People can comprehend that and that makes more sense to them. They bite on to anything that’s a more dramatic story. That’s why we see these rumors run rampid in certain shifts, maybe stations, maybe whole departments.

So rumors and criticism is gonna happen. It’s gonna happen if you do good, it’s gonna happen if you screw up. The really only way to not to make it happen, is if you’re gonna do nothing. And if that’s the life you wanna live, that’s fine. But be prepared that if you’re gonna step on that playing field, you’re gonna step on the football field, the baseball field, you get in the arena, you’re gonna get hurt sometimes. You’re gonna get bruised. You gotta take your licks. Professional athletes, they get hurt sometimes when they take on that field. That’s what happens when you’re gonna go out and play ball, right?

It sucks. But guess what? It happens. I use this story in the book and I talked about I can give three people $100 each. One person is going to be very appreciative. The other person’s gonna think that I think I’m better than them, like what am I trying to prove. The other one’s gonna be mad because I didn’t give ’em $120. So you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. So if you’re gonna take something in and harbor it because you can’t control what other people say about you and think about you. You can just control how you interpret it. If it’s hurting ya, why do you think what their saying is true? ‘Cause most likely, it’s false. So you can choose to think about something or not.

Here’s a little something to do. Let’s say you heard a rumor that … you’re just trying to promote quick and so that’s why you’re doing some extra stuff. Whatever, maybe it’s not that bad. Thinking about that pisses you off, right? I’m gonna tell you something. I like pineapples. I also like mangoes. Start thinking about how delicious a pineapple is, or how delicious a mango is, when you get a nice fresh fruit. You just change your mindset. Now you’re not thinking about that bullshit, right? Now you’re thinking about something else and all the sudden, those feelings you had, are gone. So you can get rid of them. It’s the stories we tell ourselves, that we start feeling a certain way.

It’s unfortunate, but a lot of people, they make these stories up because they’re not doing anything. Maybe they see someone doing what they wish they were, and to make themselves feel better, they make up these rumors, or they criticize you. I’ve done it where, not really rumors, but I’ve criticized someone and after I realize it, it was ’cause I was dealing with my own damn ego over the issue and I needed to get over it. There’s no need, ’cause like I said, we make up these stories on why something happened or not.

I’d like to give you guys some resources for dealing with these stories. I grabbed two books from my bookshelf and one is, Change your Questions Change your Life. It walks you through different questions to ask yourself and will help you come up with a more positive outcome as opposed to the made up stories where you just get more and more angry.
The next one is Loving What Is by Byron Katie. Get those two books and start, and it will help you start reframing your thought because what it does is asks more questions instead of going, that person did something wrong, and every situation there’s something that you can do better because you can only control you. You can’t control other people.
It’s hard because you can think you did everything right, but at the end of the day, the person you have control over is yourself, so maybe there’s something you could’ve done a little bit different, made the situation better. Maybe the way you confronted it, maybe the way you explained it, whatever it may be.

I’d like to give you another example, a little over a year ago, we got an acquired structure. My goal was to have a live burn at the end but in the meantime I wanted to set up some obstacles in the house. So the house was laid out, we put a burn barrel outside one window, to actually put real smoke inside ’cause we wanted to layer correctly. In the fire room was some cones. The crews had to stretch the front door, they had to come in through the front door, they had to come in about 10 feet, make a 90 degree right turn, down the hallway about 15 feet, and the fire room was on their left. Pretty simple, right? We went and had everyone go through it and we timed everybody to give feedback because at the end of the day, some people maybe took seven minutes, some took two. Who do you want showing up? And the whole goal was to give feedback to the crews. There was no repercussions, nothing like that. I still caught some flack for it because people didn’t like their times being put out there. End of the day, times are results, right?
Either you did a good time or you didn’t. If you don’t like it, go train. So even though I was doing something that was good, I still caught flack. It is what it is, right?

Don’t always get worked up at other people’s opinions. They’re opinions. They’re entitled to them, it doesn’t mean they’re right. It doesn’t mean you gotta dwell on it because the more you dwell on it, it’s gonna make you miserable. So get that thought out of your head. Work on doing better things. But definitely check out those two books. I think they could help with it. And at the end of the day, if you’re gonna do anything, say anything, be anybody, you’re gonna encounter criticism and rumors. Talk to anybody out there teaching, speaking, doing whatever … they get criticized for it. Like I said, people wanna justify why someone’s doing something so they make up stories that makes them feel better.

One of my guys says this … people wanna know you’re doing good, but not better than them.

Dealing with Criticism and Rumors

Week in Review 1717

What a week!  We had a lot of engagement with the poll that was done on Wednesday in our Facebook Group.  As a result there will be a mini series of posts all next week on “Treating Toxic Teammates”.  Be sure to check it out.  Below is a recap of our posts this week from the group.

I give you the Week In Review:
MondayHow come when it comes to the fireground, we don’t make excuses and make shit happen?

All the while, we make excuses not to step up and make things happen around our firehouse or fire dept?

What’s holding you back?

Permission?

Fine. You have my permission. Now make shit happen.

Stop limiting yourself.

Right now. Do whatever it is you e been wanting to do. Don’t worry about being perfect. Just make it happen.

Tuesday
Question….

Is it possible that my 2 year old daughter and 1 month old son are conspiring against my wife and I?

Just as we get one settle down and asleep, the other starts fussing.

Honestly it has gotten to the point that it’s comical…

Anyways, the point of the story is that 8 am now feels like 4 am. I took my shot (double) of espresso and pushed through today’s workout.

And low and behold, I feel accomplished and actually energetic.

What I learned today was pushing through what you know you need to do will give you what you want.

Do the work.
Reap the benefits.

Wednesday
***Pain in the Ass***
What is the biggest frustration you are having?
If fixed, would make life much easier for you.

Top 3 Responses:

  1. Cancerous individuals
  2. Cancerous station/department culture
  3. Lack of focus on operational readiness
Thursday
*Winner*

Well looks like the #1 Pain in the Ass is “Cancerous Individuals”.

How would you all like a series of posts next week on dealing with cancerous individuals?

If you do, what specific issues are these people causing you?

Friday

Do you want to treat toxic teammates?

Then share with me what pain points you are having that is caused by a toxic teammate/cancerous individual.
I want to make sure I touch on pain points to make this mini series valuable to you.

The goal is to have a pain point explained each day, so lets shoot for at least 5 pain points caused by a toxic teammate/cancerous individual.

As a BONUS,
Everyone who submits a pain point, not just submitting a vote for a point point, will be entered into a raffle this evening to receive their choice of:

– signed copy of Fix Your Firehouse or
– a Company Officer Logbook or
– Short Sleeve or Long Sleeve Brotherhood coaching Shirt (size L or XL only)

Top responses in order:

  1. Negativity- Holding a bad attitude and spreading it to younger members of the department,
  2. CHANGE a Technique or Task:That’s NOT how I learned it and we DONT do that way here (your New way … the modern way Your showing us)…!
  3. Lack of professionalism . AKA not knowing equipment on the truck. Not knowing how much hose we carry or what our nozzles are rated at.etc
  4. Complacency- not being prepared physically and mentally and unwilling to do anything about it.
  5. Lack of self pride/ station pride
  6. Breeders of complacency
  7. Lack of professionalism which breeds disrespectful attitudes and defiance due to entitlement issues
  8. Double standards
  9. Lack of love for the craft. I.e not caring to know why our history is relevant to our job today.
  10. Focus on minor infractions, such as facial hair or untucked shirt, but then not be able to throw a ladder or stretch a line
  11. Micromanagement; failure to delegate and then complaining that nobody will get anything done.

John Lovato, Jr.

Author, Fix Your Firehouse
Creator, Company Officer Logbook
Founder, Brotherhood Coaching

Week in Review 1717

A Culture that Works!

What is culture? Basically, the customary beliefs or social norms of a group. This is why some fire department’s culture can be the same as others or different. You can walk through doors, and just there’s something different. A lot of times, it comes down to the culture. It’s what they consider is routine. This is normal. This is how we always act.

I’ve got a couple of different stories that I’ve read about, and they’ve really just dawned on me for this. They’re about rescue or squad companies. If you’re in the Northeast, a rescue company is like FDNY. It’s heavy rescue. In the Midwest and Chicago, we call them squads.

First story is from Chicago Squad 2. “When I was Squad 2’s captain, I asked another officer to cover my tour one night so I could go to a family event. Catching up with him later, I asked him how the night treated him. He told me, “Pat, we got crushed. We’re going to our third or fourth fire at 3:00 A.M. All I want to do is go back home and go to bed. When I look back at the men, though, they were motivated. They look like they’re ready to go to the ballgame.”

The covering officer learned what I already knew. The men of Squad 2 would fight fire all day and all night and still be ready to go. That had nothing to do with their skill or experience and everything to do with their attitude. I’ve known a lot of firemen from all over the country, and the great ones all have one thing in common. They love this job, and they aren’t afraid to show it.” That quote is from Battalion Chief Pat Maloney from the Chicago Fire Department.

Story number two. This is what was noticed while observing Lt. Pete Lund on Rescue 2. If you guys have ever read 25 To Survive. The story was in there. It was talking about their combat ready concept, which came from Lt. Pete Lund. Something that was noticed was how the attitude of his crew always being combat ready for every run. In the fire service, we tend to idolize these guys assigned to the squad companies or the heavy rescue companies. The similarities between both stories was, it wasn’t necessarily skill. It was their attitude that they displayed and the discipline that they had to do what was right.

Both those are personal choices. You don’t need to go to a fire every day to have those. You can go to maybe one call a shift and you can still have the right attitude and the right discipline. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice of our attitude and our discipline that we’re going to have to go to these calls.

The more you’re into this job, the more fun you’re going to have. You’re going to be here 20, 25, 30 years. Make it the best. Give it your all out effort with it. A culture that works is the one that’s going to have the right attitude and you’re going to have the discipline to do what’s right because hey, we’ve all had those 3:00 AM calls for the fire alarm, and we’ve been there four times that shift. This could be the one, though, where it’s going to light up on you. Are you going to be the one looking like an ass clown, or are you going to be the hero, save the day, leading an army behind you of guys ready to work? That’s going to be your choice this week. It’s Sunday, we got a whole week ahead of us, work on attitude and discipline.

A Culture that Works!

Week in Review 1716

Brotherhood Coaching Live Audio continues to be well received by you, the listeners, and so I thank you for listening to these daily journal entries that I broadcast out to the public.

I give you the Week In Review:

 

In the end, We all have a choice.

You see we all face obstacles.

Some of the most miserable people I’ve met have been weak.

Some of the happiest people I’ve met have been strong where others would’ve have quit.

Your mood right now is your CHOICE.

Everything that happens brings a positive side and a negative side.

Depending on your perspective is how you see what happened.

Do you always see things for their heartaches or lessons you learned?

Top 10 most ridiculous argument I’ve had…..

How ridiculous?

So ridiculous, that I knew it was ridiculous half way through the argument.

Are you able to recognize when you are being dumb?

What is your response afterwards?

Pout? Apologize? Stay angry?

What we call traditions now,
Was once change.Be curious of new ways.Sometimes they may be better than your existing traditions.

Listen to my story 

https://www.facebook.com/brotherhoodcoaching/videos/1614585165253920/

“I’m better than I was, but not as good as I would like to be”

You see
Every day is a new day
A clean slate to be just a little bit better than the day before

This of course is only if you want to be

?

https://www.facebook.com/brotherhoodcoaching/videos/1615992468446523/

All of these episodes and more can be found on the Brotherhood Coaching Facebook Page.

John Lovato, Jr.

Author, Fix Your Firehouse
Creator, Company Officer Logbook
Founder, Brotherhood Coaching

Week in Review 1716