6 Tips For Newly Promoted Officers

6 Tips For Newly Promoted Officers

Perhaps no other time in your career in emergency services more challenging than the transition from “Buddy to Boss” EXCEPT maybe when you are an experienced officer moving to a new group.

Buddy to Boss

Clarify your mission:  Make sure that the central mission of your group is clear. This should be the mission statement for your agency, as long as it is well crafted. Everything that you and your crew do should center around this. This will help you identify, prioritize, select, and achieve.


Define roles and boundaries: Make sure that the necessary roles of your group are defined and filled. You may have limited power in this regard, but it will help you focus on the relationships in your team and your leadership of the crew. Even if you cannot strictly define and fill roles, you must absolutely define and enforce boundaries. This is especially important during your transition from the role of team-mate to team-leader.


 Solicit group member expectations and aspirations: Do not simply wonder or assume what group members expect of you and the group itself. Explicitly ask in preparation for the next step.


Set group expectations: This happens in several stages. Consider the expectations of your crew in line with your own expectations for the group. Revise the expectations that you have of the whole group so that they, wherever possible, align with the expectations and aspirations of individual crew members. While this may not be possible in all cases, it is crucial to make your best effort in order to get your crew members on-board with the goals of the group as a whole. They have to see how their own goals line up with the group goals. Once you have refined these group expectations, make them clear to the entire crew.


Provide positive and negative feedback: For individual group members or for the group as a whole, when they fail to meet, when they meet, or when they exceed defined expectations provide positive and negative feedback (not just verbal) that is immediate, has a clear warning beforehand, is consistent, and impersonal (McGregor’s Red Hot Stove Rule).


Maintain open communications: Don’t fall into the new leader trap of issuing proclamations rather than actively pursuing communications. Even if you are heavily task-focused, proclamations will isolate you from the group whereas the communications will help ensure that you not only receive feedback but also that you foster the relationships necessary to maintain the group.

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 www.romduck.com