Author Topic: Assignment - 3  (Read 2525 times)

Offline NUrban

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Assignment - 3
« on: November 30, 2018, 09:33:05 AM »
1)   Read this article https://www.firerescuemagazine.com/articles/print/volume-6/issue-1/command-leadership/4-common-personnel-problems.html (the article can also be found in pdf form in the 2018 training folder).

2)   Post an example of a problem employee situation that you have had (let’s leave names out of this one) by December 15th. 
•   Describe the situation.
•   Mention how you handled the problem with the employee.
•   Write about what you learned.
  Your post should be at least 200 words and no more than 400 words.

3)   Reply to two other posts after December 15th and before December 30th.  Your reply should be at least 50 words and no more than 150 words.

 Directions: To make your initial post select "reply" under the last written post.  Write your post and select "save".  When replying to two other posts, select  "quote" on the post that you wish to reply to.  You will see the persons initial post appear, you then write your reply and select "save".


« Last Edit: December 10, 2018, 01:31:54 PM by NUrban »

Offline brian.petry

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2018, 10:07:41 AM »
The problem inattention to detail. Which I am at fault for myself from time to time.
Description- Not putting gear away properly which was the order at the time. I had an employee that was not placing his gear in his gear bag at the end of shift.
How the situation was handled- a counseling session was had with the employee and he was advised that if there no compliance that further action in the form of discipline would occur. This happened twice up to the point of the counseling session. It happened again a few shifts later, which I took care of it then had another discussion with the employee emphasizing the importance of putting his gear away in the gear bag per practice at the time. Again a few shift later it happened again, at which point I pulled the employee into my office his following shift and administered a verbal reprimand for not performing his duties as assigned.
Outcome- The employee began to assure that his gear was put away at the end of shift, and has since taken on the responsibility to assure that his other crew members have put their gear away as well.
Lesson learned- Make sure that employees understand completely my expectation and that of our superiors. Also, if they have questions or need clarification they are responsible for making it known that they do not grasp the concept completely.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2018, 10:10:26 AM by brian.petry »

Offline michael.toothman

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2018, 08:12:00 AM »
The problem:  under performer.
When I was a first line supervisor at another department the job performance of a 3rd year firefighter was brought into question.  His performance was described as slow and unenergetic.  He required to be told when, where and how to preform day to day tasks.  Now his fire and EMS skills were on par with his peers and as a person he was a good guy.  The Chiefs were considering terminating his employment but first wanted to give him a chance to improve.  At the time I was not his supervisor, so I volunteered to take him as my firefighter.  I called him in to my office and had a very frank discussion on how the Chiefs felt and what could happen if things didn’t change.  At the end of our meeting he told me he had no idea that he was doing anything wrong, or was in need of any improvement.  He was honest in his regret and wanted to work towards positive change. 
The solution: 
He and I worked on forming a 90 day improvement plan.  He was given small goals each shift to meet and larger goals to meet by the end of each 30 days.   Before the end of the 90 days he had made great improvements and was taken off the plan early. 

What I learned:
While I was working with him it became very clear that no one had ever informed him of the department’s expectations.  He came to work and took calls, and that was it.  He felt if something needed done, someone would tell him.  He wasn’t undermanaged, he was over managed.  He had his hand held and was never encouraged to take the initiative.   

Offline Kevin Stevens

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2018, 02:21:46 PM »
Early in my career here we had a Firefighter that wasn't meeting expectations and was close to being let go. My self and another FF took this employee and worked with him every day for a month or more until he was well trained in his job. It wasn't difficult, This person just had no fire experience and needed help with the basic things. He was good in the EMS side of things. So we just started from scratch and worked our way through the packet. It took a little longer than most people but we got it done and he did well from then on except he had this thing we called " Tone Terror", whenever the tones would go off he would almost go into SVT. There was nothing we could do about that. Sometimes it's good for all of us to not overlook the basic things and to refresh our selves on them. I know we will get the stair chair out and work with it from time to time cause if you don't, it can make you look pretty silly on a scene. Just things like that to make life a bit easier.
Kevin Stevens

Offline astafford

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2018, 07:52:07 AM »
Problem: Senioritis 
Description: As a newly promoted supervisor I struggled with trying to figure out the guys on my shift.  During this time I did notice one of the crew members seemed to be more relaxed and really didn’t fulfill the Senior Firefighter role on shift.  My supervisor came to me and mentioning that he had noticed it too.  As a new supervisor I truly struggled of how to approach the situation and address my concerns with the crew member. I latterly thought about it for days. It that time of the year for the department’s evaluations, so I figured I would address it then.

How I handled the situation:  During the crew members evaluation I spoke of how myself and my supervisor has noticed his behavior. The crew member agreed that he needed to step up and lead and that he wasn’t aware of his behavior until it being addressed in this setting. The crew member has since proven himself many times and has become a true Senior Firefighter on shift. 

What I Learned:  I learned a few lessons during this situation. I could have pulled the crew member aside any time before the yearly evaluation and addressed the issue. Note, that His behavior did not play a role on his evaluation.  He met all expectations. I believed that he could have exceeded in some areas.  I learned that allowing some time to think of how to address the situation and not having a shotgun reaction helped in the two of us getting on the same page.  I learned that sometimes the employee just needed a reminder of the expectations in his role.

As a supervisor I have had to learn the difference between a so called problem employee and an employee with a different personality than myself. What I may think is a problem employee could be just that our personalities don’t align and that shouldn’t count against the employee.  Just because they do something different than I would, doesn’t make them a bad employee.  As long as we reach our expectation of each other, there should be no problem.

A Stafford

Offline NUrban

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2018, 10:32:33 AM »
When I was a station lieutenant I supervised an individual that was an inherently lazy employee.  Laziness was something that extremely irritated me.  I would passively and jokingly comment to the employee about their laziness in hopes they would get the hint.  One day, we were loading supply line after hose testing and this employee was nowhere to be found.  I found the employee talking on his cell phone and I blew up.  I yelled irrationally at the employee.  After my temper tantrum, I found out that the employee was having a small family emergency that they needed to attend to.  Talk about feeling like an ass.

This employee situation was handled inappropriately by me.  I have learned through higher education and experience that supervisors and managers should not have a one size fits all approach to handling personnel problems.  My passive approach may have worked with a different individual; however, it didn’t work with this particular person.  Instead, it led to me acting unprofessional.   In this situation, I should have had a formal coaching approach with this individual.  The employee did perform better after we had a conversation, I apologized for my behavior.  However, it is unknown to me if I breached trust and respect from that employee.   
« Last Edit: December 04, 2018, 02:47:49 PM by NUrban »

Offline Tony

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2018, 10:50:51 AM »
Excuse Meister

Over the years, I've heard the craziest excuses and lies come from grown men!!  I have raised 3 children and haven't heard excuses so elaborate.
I could go into great detail discussing one employee, but I'm only allowed max of 500 words.  In short concerning that grown man, I hope his hands someday grow bigger so he can hold the set of irons (Excuses!!!) .

I will focus on another individual that had an excuse that is definitely at the top of my crazy excuse list.

Engine was called for area coverage to Franklin Fire Station. Crew of 3 traveling routine to the station, around 20:00.  It was dark and began to rain during our response.  After a couple minutes of waiting, I told the driver to turn the windshield wipers on so WE can see.
After using what I call the  " feeling up the dash" method, I finally told him to stop the engine.  His immediate response after stopping the engine was " I'm telling on you, your delaying our response"  I informed him that we have to safely arrive and at this moment we are traveling unsafely.
I then asked him again to turn on the wipers, still feeling up the dash, our jump seat FF attempted to help, I asked him to let the driver figure it out. 
After a minute or so, the driver replied "I don't think this engine was ordered with windshield wipers".
The driver was switched out with my jump seat FF.
At the Franklin Station, I had the FF explain to me why he doesn't know where the wiper switch is.  His reply was " its never been raining during my morning truck checks, so I never gave it any thought).

I didn't allow him the privilege of driving back to CCFD.  I immediately took action and through our Captain, requested that he no longer be the FAO until he knows the engine thoroughly.  That didn't sit well with the FF.  In the end, not only was his knowledge improved, but my confidence in the FF improved.
I used that crazy night as a WOW moment as an officer, its always assumed that a grown man is and should be responsible enough to be the best he can be in this profession. From that point on, random quizzes occurred with other FAO's on various Engine operation  or location of equipment. 
 

Offline jlogsdon

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2018, 09:43:11 AM »
The scenario I am writing about deals with a combination of excuses and laziness. I do believe they were temporary issues, as the employee typically does outstanding work. On numerous occasions I followed behind a specific employee where I found issues with the equipment. Specifically I found the SCBA empty on one occasion and several weeks later found the regulator not hooked up with the thread cover still on the bottle. At this point I contacted the person to make them aware. His response to me was that he would talk to his FAO to make sure he would do a better check next time. I am definitely not the truck check police, but there are a couple things that are unacceptable and I believe this falls into that category. The issue was handled with a simple conversation. The interesting thing that came out of this scenario was the difference of opinion regarding who is responsible for "YOUR" SCBA. He felt it was the responsibility of the FAO, everybody else in the world thinks that you are responsible for your own SCBA.

Offline sagenbroad

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2018, 02:09:26 PM »
The problem:  under performer.
When I was a first line supervisor at another department the job performance of a 3rd year firefighter was brought into question.  His performance was described as slow and unenergetic.  He required to be told when, where and how to preform day to day tasks.  Now his fire and EMS skills were on par with his peers and as a person he was a good guy.  The Chiefs were considering terminating his employment but first wanted to give him a chance to improve.  At the time I was not his supervisor, so I volunteered to take him as my firefighter.  I called him in to my office and had a very frank discussion on how the Chiefs felt and what could happen if things didn’t change.  At the end of our meeting he told me he had no idea that he was doing anything wrong, or was in need of any improvement.  He was honest in his regret and wanted to work towards positive change. 
The solution: 
He and I worked on forming a 90 day improvement plan.  He was given small goals each shift to meet and larger goals to meet by the end of each 30 days.   Before the end of the 90 days he had made great improvements and was taken off the plan early. 

What I learned:
While I was working with him it became very clear that no one had ever informed him of the department’s expectations.  He came to work and took calls, and that was it.  He felt if something needed done, someone would tell him.  He wasn’t undermanaged, he was over managed.  He had his hand held and was never encouraged to take the initiative.

I really like how you described this person as over managed in the past by having his hand held and not being taught how to take initiative. This is something that is so common in the fire service. I've seen it a number of times where new people (and sometimes not so new) firefighters seem lazy when in fact they're just scared they're going to make a mistake. Don't get me wrong, I've seen lazy and it does exist, but I believe it's rare. It seem counter-intuitive to me that someone would go through 240hrs of FF training, 2 years of EMT/Paramedic school, fill out a 30 page applications packet, do a psychological test, 2 polygraphs, background, physical, etc., to walk into the fire department and say "I'm going to be the worst FF/PM you've ever seen. I'm just gonna sit around on my ass and do nothing".

With this in mind, it's a big challenge as a supervisor to know exactly how much "attention" to pay your subordinates. It really does come down to knowing your people and treating them accordingly. Over the past few years I've seen a number of people come out of their shells and perform to a higher standard because they are being mentored similar to what you did in your example. Additionally, this concept is what the entire professional development program is about.

I used to follow the Golden Rule (treat people like you want to be treated) when dealing with people. However, I've found that the Platinum Rule (treat people how they want to be treated) works better. The example I would use is, there are three shift captains that I supervise. While they do the same job, they are 3 very different people and I treat all three of them differently. Now, all three are held to the same high standard of expectation to do their job well, but I understand they may take different paths to get to that destination. An example is, I may assign certain projects to one over the other based on individual strengths.

Offline steve.cox

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2018, 02:23:21 PM »
First I want to make clear, this is prior to the Fire Service and in a food service field.

I was a supervisor of about 30 people when a restructure/relocation project took place within the organization.  I went from the supervisor to one of the grunts being supervised.  I had an employee that fit into most of the categories the article mentioned.  As his supervisor, he caused me more heart ache than any one else.  After the restructure we were considered equals.  I was driving into work one day and noticed him in front of me.  He was smoking weed on his way in.  It was obvious and when we reached the parking lot, it was even more clear.  I had him dead to rights, this problem was now gone.  All I had to do is let him in the back door and open my mouth.  Instead, I grabbed him prior to reaching the back door.  I said "it looks like your not feeling well and that you just need to go home for the day".  He looked at me with this blank stare, and I said "that is what I am going to tell them when I get inside, that way I don't have to tell them the truth about what I saw on the way in".  He simple got into his car and drove a way. 

I thought at the time he would return the next day and be thankful to me for helping him to see the light of day.  Not the case, he simple showed up sober and continued his normal behavior for the next week, then he continued more of the same just not with the sober part.  The truth is, you rarely can change attitude and lifestyle like that with a single encounter.  I followed the golden rule.  I stand by my decision.  However, I learned that doing the right thing doesn't always work out the way you want.  That's OK, keep doing it,  you will always outweigh the bad with good, by far.

Side Note:  when I was renamed the manager again, I FIRED him first chance I got>>>>

Offline dgerspacher

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2018, 09:45:47 AM »
Several years ago I was responsible for an employee with a horrible attitude. They were competent at their duties but only wanted to do something on their terms. The situation was made more difficult as this person had several past supervisors that did nothing about the problem. Everybody complained about this person but nothing was ever done so this employee felt I was just picking on them and did not like them. It was very frustrating and I admit at times I did not handle the issues properly as they were very good at drawing me into arguing with them. No paper trail existed on this person so I was even questioned by my supervisor if I was treating them unfairly.
This situation was difficult because it involved their attitude (especially towards me) and not performance. Poor performance would have been much easier to address and deal with. It was not easy but I stuck to what I felt was right.
It has been several years since I dealt with this issue and to this day this person still "trashes" me as they truly believe I was unfair to them since it seemed no other supervisor had an issue with them.
What I learned most from this is if a problem employee gets passed from supervisor to supervisor they get harder to fix.
 

Offline Ron Bell

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2018, 12:46:29 PM »
My narrative is not necessarily with a specific person or directly relating to a problem employee. This is more about outside influence and previous experience not matching CCFD expectations leading to excuse being made “ That’s not what we do at….”

Problem: Inherited Poor Performer/Excuse Meister Combo.
Description: Previous experience and conflict while conforming to CCFD procedures.

As a career member in our organization I found myself routinely being assigned to equipment with new part-time members. The new members would come to our organization with a wide range of experience. The range spanned from brand new never worked a day in the fire service to guys with over a decade of all part-time service.

The inexperienced members would not resist CCFDs expectations, while the long time part-time from other places would reluctantly comply to our higher expectations. Often times followed by the statement “that’s not how we do it at my other job.” The first couple of times I heard that it was just noise to me, I paid no attention to that statement. After a few times I started to be annoyed with that statement. I would point out that our medics and fire trucks don’t say “JEMS” or “Washington Township” on the side. My reply was deliberately snarky and short.

None of the resistance to conform was malicious or poorly intended. The common operating procedures simply varied from the expectations from a lackadaisical and low accountability system. Our organization has higher standards that needed to be explained, coached and practiced. Examples being: Gear set out and tagged in at the start of shift, truck checks done early, EMS restocked while at hospital and house duties performed without being directed to do so. Other tasks would include dressing a hydrant, pulling and reloading triple load attack lines and apparatus placement. These all seem natural to most of us. Other less organized departments lack daily routine, training and accountability. We have all worked at a department with a lower bar of expectation.

These employee “issues” provided me an opportunity to develop a new employee with our procedures.
Coaching the new employees with our procedures was beneficial for me with constant review of how we operate, where we keep things and what we do with them.

Outcome: Leading someone to success is accomplished with proper coaching. Setting expectations, explaining rationale and practice to reinforce procedure comprehension will lead to better performance.
Failing to do this in advance of an issue is poor management.

When preparation meets opportunity success is achievable.

Offline Ron Bell

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2018, 02:04:54 PM »
Stafford:

Communicating clear expectations of the roles for a senior firefighter is vital in your success as a supervisor.

I believe in the concept of coaching the job and technique as you want them completed.
Coaching will prepare them for success and prevent future failures in that specific area. Practice the activities and confirm success periodically for review.

A properly coached employee will be ready to handle a wide range of tasks varying from the mundane daily activities to complex EMS, fire or rescue skills. Your successful employee will make you look great as a supervisor.

Conversely, A poorly coached employee will not handle tasks well and lead to discipline for a failure you could have help him avoid.

Occasional shit will still happen, but through proper guidance you and your team will have great success along the way.

Keep up the good work!

Offline blykins

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2018, 11:39:09 AM »
Lazy Lump description is very accurate.  Over the years have also learned that an employee that has been determined by others to be lazy, may in fact not be lazy at all. 
My narrative is based on previous employment as a production supervisor building new homes.
New home construction finding general maintenance type of people is hard to find.  We were going thru interviews in search of people experienced in handy man type of work that encompassed having knowledge in various aspects of home building and the ability to make repairs as needed.  At this particular time we needed someone that can do interior trim, cabinets, drywall, labor work etc.  After interviews hired a gentleman that met the objectives we needed based off resume and experience. 

First few weeks everything seemed ok.  He was given list of work that needed done, naturally the task were more labor to see his work ethic,  then getting into more detailed jobs as he proved he wanted to work and seemed competent to do the jobs given.  Over time kept noticing jobs not getting complete they way they should and everything taking longer than should take.  This is know giving the impression he is becoming lazy.  After talking to this employee about his progress it became more evident his experience did not match his resume.  That explained why he seemed to be lazy, but in fact he was trying but did not know how to do certain things. 

Fortunately the number of houses under construction slowed down and I had more time to spend with him and was able to teach him and because he was actually not lazy, he put more effort into learning and made a valuable employee.     

I learned that expectations are different for everyone although the same people have the overall general expectation.     

Offline NBaldridge

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Re: Assignment - 3
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2018, 06:11:52 PM »
The personnel situation that comes to mind for me is an example of at first glimpse was a "Lazy Lump" employee.  This employee came to us as a part timer and had worked for a few years at other fire departments as a part timer as well.  Being that this person had some experience I expected him to know how to handle day to day activities and some on scene situations.

After a few shifts of having to be prompted to complete assignments both in house and on scene I knew that I had to dig a little deeper into this person.  I sat down with him and quickly I realized that even though this person has some experience, that experience has been without direction and expectations on how to perform.  During the conversation he had the desire and drive to be a solid employee just did not know how to be and up until now has just gone off of what he has learned from his past experiences.  With some direction this Firefighter became a guy that could be counted on to get things completed without direction an like many, he moved on to become a Career Firefighter at another department.

What I learned from this was not to let the first impressions be the complete basis for my thoughts and views of a person.