If You Want To Get Promoted…

The best thing you can probably do is not read this post.

Nothing will change and promotional dreams will continue to breed mediocrity and butt-kissing to new heights…then again, maybe you will indulge me for a minute and see what I have to say.

Just last night, I heard it again…those 6 famous words (If You Want To Get Promoted) followed with guidelines which have nothing to do with “Doing The Right Thing” and everything to do with “Not  Making Waves”. Nothing to do with bringing your own skills, assets, and knowledge to a position of leadership and everything to do with making sure you “Don’t make anyone think you are capable of having an opinion”. Nothing to do with becoming a leader others will want to follow and everything to do with becoming a leader with no followers.

06fd472526991ed5ec77ab1d4da9852a06e003620c171a97ba7b6ca966459ce1I am here to tell you that it is possible to DTRT without making waves. It is also possible to get promoted without kissing the Chief’s butt every chance you get.

Some of us are great at talking about issues, complaining about problems, and blaming those above them…yet, when the Chief is around they turn into church mice.

Furthermore, it has almost become a competition to see who can kiss the most butt AND then complain about others kissing butt. Like there is a trophy at the end or something.

What if we all just did what was right and felt good about it.

What if we all were able to air our concerns without fear of retaliation.

What if we all could utilize the grievance process and it worked judiciously no matter the outcome.

We have some great firefighters, great leaders, and great potential. The water gets cloudy when some rise while others falter.

I would love to see the day we have positive, unbiased, fair, and equitable promotions/promotional processes. Then, and only then would this need to throw others under the bus, kiss butt, and overcompensate remove itself from our culture. Is it possible? Sure it is.

But here is the thing…

If you care and others respect you then you probably have people willing to take note of how you handle yourself. Those same firefighters who learned butt-kissing from the butt-kissing Captain could have learned about hard-work, dedication, and motivation. They could have learned what firefighters really need in a true leader/officer…compassion, leadership, fairness, strength, pride, duty, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a fine line between being an active and positive team member and a butt-kissing screw-off. Learn the difference.

As for my past which still follows me to this day, you can read about it in the article “Creating My Own Norm”, and no I was not a butt-kisser. The article also links to an article by Brian Brush which offers insight on other issues in how you are viewed by your peers “Knowing Who You are and Who You’re Not”.

Whatever you do, do not misunderstand jealousy. I have seen jealousy by some to create disdain for someone by many. It isn’t fair. Get to know your fellow firefighters for who they are and who they aren’t. It is up to you to give everyone a fair shake. You don’t have to like everyone, but don’t dislike someone for other people’s reasons.

One thing I learned a long time ago was that standing up for myself was up to me. Not only that, but I had to stand up for the guys/gals I worked with if the opportunity arose. Not too many others were going to REALLY stand up for others because it wasn’t worth it…It is worth it to me.

And if by doing the right thing meant that I was going to sleep well at night, I am good with that.

– Rhett Fleitz (The Fire Critic)

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