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July 25, 2013
By Les Karpluk

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July 25, 2013, Prince Albert, Sask. – Attitude is everything, attitude is everything, attitude is everything: that is how I introduce attitude when presenting it as one of my seven guiding principles of leadership. (You can see my previous blogs on the seven principles here.)

July 25, 2013, Prince Albert, Sask. – Attitude is everything, attitude is everything, attitude is everything: that is how I introduce attitude when presenting it as one of my seven guiding principles of leadership. (You can see my previous blogs on the seven principles here.)

We all have a responsibility to bring a positive attitude into our stations. It is my belief that we in the fire service are privileged to serve our communities. I have always believed that when you join the fire service you have three responsibilities: to serve your community and do the best job you can as a firefighter; to get along with your fellow firefighters; and to bring a positive attitude to the station every day. It’s a straightforward model and it follows the KISS (keep it simple stupid) principle, which may be why it has stuck with me for so long.

Our attitudes define how we view things in life – either positively or negatively. Great leaders move us and have positive attitudes that not only attract followers, but encourage followers to go over and above, because they believe in what their leaders are doing. A positive attitude is important because it makes a difference.

For me, studying leadership and meeting people in leadership positions is a passion. I have learned from these individuals that the big difference between those who succeed and those who fail is attitude.

I smiled when I read a re-working of the story of David and Goliath. When Goliath came up against the Israelites and challenged the entire army, all the soldiers thought he was so big that they could never kill him. Then, through the army came a shepherd boy with a different perspective and, more importantly, a positive attitude. David looked at the giant and thought, he is so big I can’t miss.

We all have good days and bad days, and we all face obstacles. As I sat at a Rotary Club lunch a couple of months ago, I listened to Harold the grocery-store owner – a man I deeply respect – tell the audience about his journey as a grocer and his challenges. I wondered if I would have had that same positive attitude, and the staying power to see my dream come to fruition, had I been in a similar position. Harold had been in the game for a long time and even though he is retired, it was clear to me that he continuously displayed a passion for his business. What an inspiration!

I then had the pleasure of enjoying a Tim Hortons coffee with Harold and discovered that you just never know what you will learn from a successful leader.

What I learned from Harold is that authentic leaders understand that attitude impacts the organization, and having a positive attitude is a key to good leadership.

Thank-you, Harold, for taking the time to have a Timmys and passing along some of your wisdom and passion of service to this fire chief.

Until next time, lead from within and grow.

Les Karpluk is fire chief of the Prince Albert Fire Department in Saskatchewan. He is a graduate of the Lakeland College Bachelor of Business in Emergency Services program and Dalhousie University’s Fire Administration program. Follow Les on Twitter at @GenesisLes.


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