Print Story _ 5 Things Great EMS Supervisors Do Differently - EMS1

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<ul><li><p>26/3/2014 Print Story : 5 things great EMS supervisors do differently -</p><p>;vid=1752228 1/2</p><p>Related Article:</p><p>How to develop an accountable organization</p><p>Related content sponsored by:</p><p>The Art of EMSby Steve Whitehead</p><p>03/03/2014</p><p>5 things great EMS supervisors do differently</p><p>Regardless of sizes, genders and personality types, great EMS leaders tend to master these fivetraits</p><p>If youve been in EMS for more than a few years, youve possibly been considered for a supervisory position. In someEMS organizations the opportunities for promotion can come surprisingly fast, especially if you are good at being anEMT or paramedic.</p><p>For some reason we believe that being good at the job is astrong predictor of success at the supervisory level. It isnttrue, but the belief is persistent.</p><p>If you are a standout or strong performer in the back of theambulance, youve probably already been approached withthe suggestion, Have you ever thought of promoting tosupervisor?</p><p>EMS supervision is a tough job. The years I spent as an EMSsupervisor were not my favorite years in EMS. They were oftenlonely and filled with conflict.</p><p>I didnt like being the bearer of bad tidings, or being a sounding board for a seemingly endless stream of gripes andcomplaints about the operation. I wasnt used to people questioning my credibility and worst of all, I missedtransporting patients to the hospital.</p><p>What my years in the supervisor vehicle did give me was a profound respect for people who are good at leadership ingeneral, and EMS leadership in particular. Supervisors are tasked with the continuous monitoring of the system,deployment and resource utilization, while also looking after their employees welfare and well-being.</p><p>Its a tough job.</p><p>Some do it very well and some not so well. Since I left my supervisor vehicle for new horizons, Ive made someobservations about what good EMS leaders do consistently well. There is no single model of leadership that alwaysworks.</p><p>Great leaders come in all sizes, genders and personality types. Regardless of who they are, great EMS leaders tend tomaster these five traits.</p><p>1. Build up the weakest members of the team</p><p>On every EMS supervisors team, there will be several poor performers. Some individuals will be low performersbecause they are burned-out or disengaged.</p><p>Some will have knowledge deficits and some will need skills improvement. Some will lack experience. Some will havetoo many bad habits.</p><p>For many leaders, these individuals will be identified as the problem children, the proverbial thorns in thesupervisors side. Many leaders will decide that the best course of action is to somehow weed these individuals out.</p><p>Great EMS leaders will labor to discover the proper way to build these people up. They will ask themselves, what kindof support does this individual need from me to become better at what he does?</p><p>Great EMS leaders make their charges better at what they do. They build people up.</p><p>2. Listen intently with a desire to understand</p><p>Just about any leadership book will mention the importance of listening. Stephen Covey called it seeking first tounderstand before being understood, and John Maxwell called it the law of connection.</p><p>Its nearly impossible to find a well-known leadership tome that doesnt espouse the importance of listening. But goodleaders dont just listen, they listen differently and people sense the difference.</p><p>When you are frustrated about something or attempting to convey an idea, have you noticed that you can tell thedifference between a person who is listening with the intention of understanding and someone who listens longenough to begin formulation a response? When you are listened to by someone who genuinely is seeking tounderstand you, it feels different.</p><p>Thats the way good leaders listen. When they interrupt, its usually to check their understanding of your words. Whenthey respond, its often with clarifying questions or a rephrasing of your ideas and feelings. Good leaders listencompletely.</p><p>3. Keep private feedback private</p><p>Great supervisors have a way of saving their feedback for the appropriate time. They treat performance feedback assacred ground. Youll never hear a really good supervisor bad-mouth another individual in a public forum, or in aprivate conversation when the individual in question isnt around.</p><p>When folks are recognizing and criticizing another member of the team, its tempting for someone in a leadershipposition to want to affirm that feedback. The temptation is a desire to let people know that you also recognize poorperformers or disengaged members of the team. The desire is to send the message, I know about this. Im on top ofthings.</p><p>;z=578&amp;</p></li><li><p>26/3/2014 Print Story : 5 things great EMS supervisors do differently -</p><p>;vid=1752228 2/2</p><p>things.</p><p>Participating in negative observations only serves to undermine team trust in their leader. Once a leader has crossedthe line and participated in employee bashing (constructive or not) they have sent the message that negativeperformance feedback is not sacred. Team members want to know that, if their turn comes to be the subject of therumor mill, their supervisor isnt going to participate in airing the dirty laundry.</p><p>4. Communicate challenging expectations</p><p>Subordinates dont want to feel that making the right choices is a guessing game. They want leaders who are clearabout their expectations. Most folks will work hard to meet even the most challenging of expectations. But they need tohave those expectations communicated clearly.</p><p>Poor supervisors wait for people to fail to meet expectations and then they point out the failure or they point it out toothers. Great leaders communicate their expectations clearly and then motivate others to perform to a high standard.They do so daily, using the most powerful tool available.</p><p>5. Lead by example</p><p>Leadership by example is the most difficult aspect of leadership. It is difficult because it challenges those inleadership positions to maintain their own high standards every hour of every day. Once a leader falls short of thestandard just once, it gives everyone permission to disregard the standard.</p><p>If a leader expects others to look professional, her uniform needs to be impeccable every day. If she expectssubordinates to show up to work early, she needs to be even earlier.</p><p>If he demands a rig checkout be completed every shift, the supervisor unit needs to be perfectly stocked. If he expectsfast turn out times, he needs to run when the tones go off.</p><p>Leadership by example touches every aspect of an EMS leaders job. Great leaders embody the high standards thatthey demand. And for that reason, they are respected.</p><p>In all areas of human endeavor, there are those who lead well and those who lead poorly. EMS is no exception. Wehave our share of great leaders and poor leaders.</p><p>If you are aspiring to a leadership position or if you are currently in a leadership role in your organization, goodleadership can be learned. Its never too early to begin growing your influence and practicing your leadership skills.</p><p>What things do you feel are essential in an EMS leader? Leave us a comment and let us know.</p><p>About the author</p><p>Steve Whitehead, NREMT-P, is a f irefighter/paramedic w ith the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority in Colo. and the creator of blog The</p><p>EMT Spot. He is a primary instructor for South Metro's EMT program and a lifelong student of emergency medicine. Reach him through</p><p>his blog at or at</p><p> Copyright 2014 - All Rights Reserved.</p><p></p></li></ul>


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