The will to lead: three speakers at FIRE's upcoming Centennial Conference on leadership (see opposite) speak on what they feel makes an effective leader.(Learning & Development)(Kent Fire and Rescue Service)(Interview)

Charlie Hendry, Chief Fire Officer, Kent Fire and Rescue Service

FIRE: What does a great leader need above all else?

CH: The ability to interpret the world in which they operate, and to inspire a view about how it can change for the better. Communicating that view in a way that provokes people to respond positively, and maintaining the energy and commitment to see it through. And yes, I know that's four things but sometimes leaders can be greedy too!

FIRE: If you were to create the perfect leader, with which attributes would you imbue her/him?

CH: In addition to the above a leader needs stamina, intellect and a healthy dose of what a writer once referred to as 'strategic opportunism'. The world moves very fast and long-term strategies very often can't withstand future uncertainties. Maintaining an ethical and coherent approach, based on values, combined with a shrewd eye for opportunities as they arise--and being agile enough to change tack to exploit them--seems to me to be a recipe for success. The other key thing is to develop other leaders; to give others the confidence and the opportunities to become leaders and to explore new approaches. …

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