The service is an organisation with different levels: chief officers, officers and firefighters. The different levels have to collaborate well to achieve good results. Often, work needs to be done in difficult and dangerous circumstances. The fire service can achieve this only if there is good leadership present. However, this is not always the case. In the training curriculum there is little to no time for leadership training.


A good book about leadership is Turn the ship around by David Marquet. It is a must-read for everybody in a leadership position or for those that want to obtain such a position in the future. The fire service needs better leadership. In this book, there are a lot of tips and tricks but moreover there is a complete philosofy about leadership. Surely worth the read!



turn the ship around

David Marquet and his team have a website: There, you can find a lot of material regarding intent-based leadership. You can also subscibe to Leadership nudges. Every week you will receive a link to a YouTube clip in your inbox. Mostly, they take one or two minutes. This is a summary that lasts longer.  





Another good book, written by a top military official, is the autobiography of Colin Powell, who used to be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


He wrote the book "My American Journey" about his life, from his birth until little after his retirment as the boss of the American military.


During his career, he learned a lot about leadership. The lessons are hidden in the chapters.  






five alarm leadership


There are also books that deal with leadership in the fire service. One of these books is Five Alarm Leadership by John Salka and Rick Lasky.

John Salka was a battalion chief with Fire Department New York and Rick Lasky served as the fire chief of Lewisville Fire Department in Texas.


Both chief officers have a very impressive career in two very different fire departments. The book is filled with lots of very interesting suggestions regarding leadership. A true must read!  






Space exploration also provides leadership lessons. Eileen Collins is a female astronaut that when to space with the Space Shuttle multiple times. She gave the lecture with the title: Leadership: lessons learned from the Space Shuttle era. It can be found on YouTube.



startwithwhyleaderseatlastAs a leader, it is very important to know very well where you want to go (with your team).

What is your goal?
Why do you do what you do?


Simon Sinek wrote a bestseller about it: Start with why. Over one million copies were sold. It is a very good book for those that want to become a better leader.


In a second book, Leaders eat last, he discusses leadership. Themes like constructing trust, integrity and dealing with difficulties are discussed. 







General Jim Mattis has had a long career with the US Marines. He made it to four-star general.


A few years after his retirement, he was asked by President-elect Donald Trump to become secretary of Defense. He held that position for two years and directed American defense policy.


In his book Call sign chaos, he describes the course of his career. The lessons he learned as a junior officer are very useful for company officers and batallion chiefs in the fire department. Then there are also very interesting lessons from his time as a general and a secretary.


In other words, it is a very good book for anyone who aspires to good leadership.