2021 Wildland Fire National Leadership Campaign - Sharpening Your Tools

2021 campaign banner - Sharpening Your Tools


The theme for the 2021 Wildland Fire Leadership Campaign is “Sharpening Your Tools”


The campaign is an opportunity for personnel at the local level - whether collectively or through self-development - to focus on leadership development activities relating to the national campaign theme.


  • To promote leadership development across the wildland fire community disciplines.
  • To provide an opportunity and resources that can be used for leadership development at the local unit level.
  • To collect innovative leadership development efforts and share those efforts across the community.

End State:

A culture that creates and shares innovative leadership development efforts in order to maintain superior leadership in the fire community.

Dates of Campaign:

Any time between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2021.


All wildland fire personnel - line-going and support.


The campaign is flexible. Local units or teams may use or adapt any or all materials found on this website or posted on our social media platforms or develop a program or activity of your own spotlighting the campaign theme. Campaign coordinators are encouraged to craft the campaign to the needs of the local unit and team. Innovation should fuel your campaign delivery: workshops or tailgate sessions, to kick off staff meetings, as a team activity or self-directed, etc.

2021 Campaign Activities

Challenge #1

Leaders are readers and students of fire.

Challenge #2

Leaders seek to understand.

Challenge #3

Leaders appreciate constructive criticism.

Challenge #4

Leaders make their organizations better.

Challenge #5

Wildland fire leaders follow a defined set of values and principles.

Challenge #6

Leaders contribute to the greater good.

Challenge #7

Leaders know themselves and seek improvement.

Challenge #8

Leaders value learning.

  • Read “The Pillars and Tenets of Learning” section in Learning in the Wildland Fire Service.
  • As a leader, how can you help your organization improve on implementing these pillars and tenants?

Challenge #9

Leaders are readers.

  • Pick a book from the Professional Reading Program list that you’re going to read in in 2021 (doesn’t have to be from the 2021 list, can be from previous years). 
  • Tell us which one it is and why you want to read it.

Challenge #10

Leaders are students of leadership.

  • What is your favorite leadership book? 
  • What’s the leadership book you got the most out of personally? 
  • Are they the same or different books?

Challenge #11

Leaders seek to make themselves better through research and collaboration.

Challenge #12

Leaders communicate and interact with other leaders and followers.

Challenge #13

Leaders read and write.

Challenge #14

Leaders engage with their people and their peers.

Challenge #15

Leaders develop themselves and their people.

Challenge #16

Leaders read, watch, and follow.

Challenge #17

Good leaders are not afraid to have the difficult conversations.

  • Learn more about having difficult conversations by listening to Simon Sinek’s interview with David Harris

Challenge #18

Leaders help their people establish strong staff value systems, team cultures, and command presence.

Challenge #19

Leaders challenge the status quo. Contemplate the following in your journal.

  • How would you describe your organizational culture?
    • Is it a place that welcome new employees from day one?
    • Is your organization a place that leverages everyone's diverse backgrounds and thinking?
  • How are you influencing change or enhancing the culture of your organization?
    • Is this the senior leader’s primary job?

Challenge #20

Leaders share our history with their people.

  • Share your staff ride stories in the comments or your journal.
    • Name and location of the staff ride.
    • Who were you honoring by attending this staff ride?
    • What were the lessons from this tragedy?
    • How did you implement the lessons you learned?

Challenge #21

Leaders learn from tragedies of the past.

  • Visit the Staff Ride Library.
  • Select at least one tragedy from the Staff Ride Library to review.
    • Take notes in your journal about the tragedy.
    • What behavior will you change because of this event?

Challenge #22

Leaders provide briefings with clear leader's intent

  • Review the “Briefing Checklist” on the inside back cover of the Incident Response Pocket Guide (IRPG).
    • Volunteer to give a briefing to your team.

Challenge #23

Fire leaders walk the talk of the learning organization by scheduling routine debriefings to evaluate performance and apply the lessons learned.

  • Watch the AAR video at https://youtu.be/HN483rIRaWU.

    Time: 3:06
    • Take note of the specific recommendations on facilitating an AAR.
    • Identify a specific issue or upcoming event within your organization and arrange (volunteer) to facilitate the AAR and put the practices into action.

Challenge #24

Leaders use innovative ways to develop their people.

  • Become familiar with the Leadership Media webpage. 
  • Watch/listen to a leadership-themed video or podcast from the library or pick one of your own to share with your team.
  • If you picked the media, develop and submit your lesson plan to BLM_FA_Leadership_Feedback@blm.gov.

Challenge #25

Leaders learn from outside their organization.

Challenge #26

Leaders honor their fallen by learning.

  • In your journal, reflect upon the first three days of #WOR2021.
    • Create a tribute page to our fallen.
    • Draw pictures or words displaying your emotions/lessons learned or cut out/write findings from reports.
    • Refer to this page throughout the year.

Challenge #27

Leaders take care of their people and their families.

Honoring our fallen during #WOR2021 may have exposed the residue left from years of pain.

  • Check in with one another and the families of those lost in the line of duty.
  • Seek peer support and/or professional assistance.
  • Listen to Mike West talk about his journey. https://share.transistor.fm/s/55fdd3eb

Challenge #28

Leaders develop their people for the future.

Challenge #29

Leaders establish a sense of order in the leadership environment.

Challenge #30

Leaders acknowledge what right looks like.

Challenge #31

Leaders take time to develop leadership.

Challenge #32

Good leaders acknowledge those who contribute to the growth of self, the team, and the organization.

Challenge #33

Good leaders celebrate team success with their people.

  • Brainstorm the successes your team has experienced this year.
  • Host a way to celebrate these accomplishments.

Challenge #34

Good leaders work with their team to shape the future.

  • Host a team-building session to discuss where the team would like to be in five years.
  • Develop a strategy to bring the vision to fruition.

Challenge #35

Effective leaders create an atmosphere that fosters resilient teams.

Challenge #36

Good leaders hone their critical thinking skills.

  • Read Albert Rutherford’s book "How to Think Critically."
  • Watch “The Man Who Saved the World” at

    Time: 6:19
  • Discuss with your team how critical thinking and courage can bring to chaos.

Challenge #37

Effective leaders are active listeners.

Challenge #38

Good leaders intentionally work on being good communicators.

  • In your journal, construct a plan to develop your oral communication skills.
    • Volunteer to conduct a briefing/debriefing. Consider being filmed.
    • Ask for constructive feedback from a coach and your peers.
    • Join a professional public speaking group, such as Toastmasters.
    • Practice, practice, practice!

Challenge #39

Leaders know themselves and what they believe.

  • In your leadership journal, write "This I believe..." at the top of a page and then list all the things you believe about yourself and the way you see others and the world around you.
  • Do you feel comfortable sharing your beliefs with others?

Challenge #40

Leaders employ their people in accordance with each person’s capabilities; they also help their people build new skills.

  • Visit the “Skills You Need” website for coaching tools.
  • Devote a few pages in your leadership journal to “Coaching Tools.”
    • Transfer tips on coaching to these pages.


Campaign Archives

2018 campaign bannerNo 2018 Reference Guide - No awards given for 2018


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