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7 Things Firefighters Should Never Say

7 Things Firefighters Should Never Say

By Dr. George J. Thompson


Any newbie to the deparment has heard this one before. If ever there was a phrase that irritates people and makes you look weak, this is it!

If you are enforcing rules or laws that exist for good reason, don’t be afraid to explain that. Your audience may not agree with or like it, but at least they have been honored with an explanation. Note: a true sign of respect is to tell people ‘why’, which generates voluntary compliance.

When you tell people ‘why’, you establish a ground to stand on, and one for them as well! Your declaration of ‘why’ defines the limits of the issue at hand, defines your real authority, but also gives the other good reason for complying. Tactically, telling people ‘why’ gets your ego out of it and put in its place a solid, professional reason for action.

Even at home, if all you can do is repeat, “those are the rules,” you sound and look weak because you apparently cannot support your order/request with logic or good reason. Indeed, if you can put rules or policies into context and explain how the rules or policies are good for everyone, you not only help people understand, you help them save face. Hence, you are much more likely to generate voluntary compliance, which is your goal!

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