Are You A One Dimensional Leader?

RescueDigest Rules of Three: Blame, Sympathize, or Fix

The RescueDigest Rules of Three are simple, easy to use rules through which emergency responders can improve themselves, the people they teach or mentor, and the organizations in which they work.
Today’s topic is for current or aspiring leaders in emergency services:
What do you become when a problem arises? BLAMER, SYMPATHIZER, or FIXER. Careful, the right answer may not be the obvious one.

43182When problems arise at work, and in life, we tend to have one of three immediate reactions depending on our personality.

Some people will tend to sympathize, to express empathy for the people affected and to do what they can to make people feel better.

Some people will tend to try to immediately fix the problem, Identify the underlying issue and correct it.

Some people will tend to blame, identify the person responsible and hold them accountable.

As a leader when a problem arises do you seek to blame? Do you seek to sympathize? Do you seek to solve the problem?
What do you tend to do? There is a trap here!
No one choices correct all by itself. Each one has two sides. Seeking to find the root cause is great. Seeking to just be angry at someone doesn’t help anything. Seeking to fix the problem is great. Having all the answers is wrong. Seeking to sympathize lets you understand the problem more deeply can let people know you care. Just listening and nodding your head without actually correcting anything is wrong.

The most effective teachers and leaders don’t just reflexively react to situations.

They go with their gut instinct, but make sure that they are just giving an emotional reaction, but are following through and actually making the situation better.

When a problem arises…

Don’t allow people to just blame someone, focus on working to make sure the issue doesn’t happen again.

Don’t just zoom in on fixing the problem, also acknowledge how the issue is affecting people.
Don’t just sympathize, define what the issue is and try to find the underlying cause.

When issues arise, the best teachers, leaders, and mentors, use this rule of three to make sure they are providing a three dimensional solution, rather than a one dimensional reaction.


About romduck

Rom Duckworth is a dedicated emergency responder, author, and educator with more than thirty years of experience working in career and volunteer fire departments, hospital healthcare systems, and private emergency medical services. Rom is a career fire captain and paramedic EMS Coordinator for the Ridgefield (CT) Fire Department and director of the New England Center for Rescue and Emergency Medicine. Rom holds a master’s degree in public administration, is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer program, and is the recipient of the NAEMT Presidential Award, American Red Cross Hero Award, Sepsis Alliance Sepsis Hero Award, and the EMS 10 Innovators Award. Rom is the author of "Duckworth on Education," as well as chapters in more than a dozen EMS, fire, rescue, and medical textbooks and over 100 published articles in fire and EMS magazines. A member of the NAEMT Board of Directors, as well as other national and international advocacy and advisory boards, Rom continues to work for the advancement of emergency services professions. Contact Rom via