The ICE Spring Break Conference wrapped up earlier this week. Day 3 was another big day of awesome presentations, and I thought that I was all set to share it with my friends in the blogosphere. Then my mobile devices (plural) and laptops (yes, also plural) began dying off from three days of only intermittent recharging. The sad fact was that my hotel room had only enough power outlets for the furnished lamps, television, and perhaps two more devices. What was a traveling tech-nerd to do? My idea of unplugging all the lights and television met with considerable ire from my roommate, so I had to compromise and put my devices on a rotating schedule of recharging. This little geeky misadventure led me to one conclusion. I will have to start traveling with a power strip. I’m not sure if this is the correct conclusion, but I’ll give it a try.
Leaders Make Mistakes Too!!
Chris Cebollero is the EMS Chief for Christian Hospital’s EMS Division in the St. Louis metro area. In this class, he outlined the common pitfalls made by leaders on a daily basis. Besides presenting an appealing a topic, Chris piqued my interest by simultaneously recording his presentation for the EMS Leadership Podcast. Podcasting is like catnip for tech-nerds, so I was downright giddy within the first few minutes of his talk.
Chris outlined a laundry list of mistakes most common to EMS leaders. Some of the most notable are…
- Failing to communicate well
- Failing to delegate
- Failing to develop a vision
- Not setting goals with employees
- Not listening
- Failing to learn
- Not managing change
- Not making time for employees
- Not recognizing employee achievements (even if it’s something as simple as picking up a shift on a holiday)
- Going for quick fix over lasting solutions
- Taking it all too seriously
- Say/Do Conflict (leadership is what you do – not what you say)
- Punishing the many for the sins of the few
- Confusing sameness with fairness (one size does not fit all – acknowledge the individual)
- Not forgetting the paperwork in the desk (if they were written-up last month, fine – leave it in the file and get back to setting them up for success)
I think procrastination was on the list, too. But we can talk about that some other time. Even with the several items I left out, his list is quite long. I could recall times when I had made many of those same mistakes, back in the days of… wait, I think I did most of those last month. Some twice.
His challenge to recognize and correct our mistakes was compelling to say the least. I decided I needed to stay put for his next breakout session.
Getting Things Done Without Getting Done In
In a little over an hour, Chris had managed to help me feel better about my piteous history as a leader. He presented the audience with copies of the workbooks he uses to develop leaders in his organization. The focus of the material is to equip new leaders with the four primary skills of a leader: planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling. Without being able to offer the PDF to you, all I can say is they definitely have their act together at Christian Hospital’s EMS Division. Well done, Chris!
Inspiration and Perspiration
Rommie opened the conference with a rousing keynote lecture, and he also did a great job of sending us on our merry way as the last speaker. Though he is the consummate professional and wouldn’t complain about a job he loves, I couldn’t help thinking that the opening and closing speaker really gets a raw deal. Rommie was either having to wake people up on the morning of the first day or keep them awake on the afternoon of the last day. He was certainly up to the task, though.
He described his role on 9/11/01 at Ground Zero, and the events that later gave him a unique opportunity to comfort a firefighter’s widow and her son. Events such as these often fuel our fires as educators. They inspire us to teach the ones who will be in the field on the next “big one.” The sweat from the brows of the field providers is really where it’s at, but they need inspiration, too. As educators, that’s part of our role in EMS. That’s what it’s all about – Inspiration and Perspiration.
I had a great time at the 2012 ICE Spring Break Conference, and I encourage EMS educators in the midwest to join us there for next year’s event!