Command Presence

Category: 
Leadership
Page Last Modified / Reviewed: 
Sep 2019

 

Leaders often face difficult problems to which there are no simple, clear cut, by-the-book solutions. In these situations, leaders must use their knowledge, skill, experience, education, values, and judgment to make decisions and take or direct action.  Command Presence is one element of a leader’s effectiveness.

Command Presence is how leaders present themselves to others. More than anything else, the leader’s Command Presence sets the tone for the Command Climate within an organization. (Command Climate refers to the environment within the influence of a particular leader and a good command climate is characterized by open communication, mutual trust and respect, freedom to raise issues and engage in debate, clear and attainable goals, and team-work.)     

Character is the foundation of Command Presence.  Leaders reveal their character in every interaction. Leaders must display a combination of personal attributes and behaviors that communicate to others that they are worthy of trust and respect.

Another component of Command Presence—demeanor—speaks volumes to others. Poise and self-assurance play a large part in your ability as a leader to influence the actions of others.

Fire leaders take charge when in charge, lead from the front and act decisively in order to inspire confidence among team members. In times of crisis, a leader’s Command Presence can be the critical factor in determining whether a team succumbs to pressures and dangers or stays focused to seize an opportunity to overcome and succeed.

Discussion Points

  • Can you think of a leader with strong Command Presence?  What were some of the behaviors that they exhibited?
  • Does Command Presence look different for different situations?  Explain.
  • How do we develop Command Presence?
  • Is Command Presence reflected in the 10 Standard Firefighting Orders?

 

Additional Resources

Incident Management Situation Report (IMSR)
Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG), PMS 461
NWCG Standards for Helicopter Operations, PMS 510
RT-130, Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR)
Interagency Standards for Fire and Fire Aviation Operations (Red Book)
Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center

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