Leading with Character, Competence and Vision

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Course Description

Envision Leadership is a two-semester course that provides an analytic and strategic foundation for leadership practices. It is designed to bring two primary leadership concentrations- The Leadership Journey and The Leadership Encounter together to sharpen, or bring focus, to one’s leadership knowledge, skills, and abilities. The purpose of the course is to increase one’s capacity to lead and to have a greater understanding of the art and science of leadership. The course is designed, mainly, for those in the early stages of their own leadership journey, or those aspiring to become leaders. However, those in a discovery process to learn more about leadership will benefit from the course, regardless of how long they have been on their own leadership journey.  Envision Leadership derives its name from the concept of imagining the future possibilities of what leadership can and should be like.

The course draws from several disciplines and applications and is built around two semesters of study, utilizing a class schedule of one 3 ½ hour class per week. The first semester is titled The Leadership Journey where a concentration of the focus will be on the leadership basics and the essentials of leadership (Character, Competence, and Vision). It is accompanied by a series of video lessons from The Band of Brothers; the focus being on Major Dick Winters of the 101st Airborne, Easy Company, during World War II. The videos are utilized to help demonstrate what good leadership looks like; it also addresses many of the affective dimensions of leadership. This semester is designed to give the student grounding in the fundamentals of leadership, along with real-world examples of the application of such lessons.

The second semester is titled The Leadership Encounter and takes the essentials learned in the first semester and expands the teaching on Character, Competence and Vision, utilizing many of the best classic and current leadership works. These include the works of Bennis, Collins, Covey, George, Heifetz, Hybels, Maxwell, Sinek, Spears and Wheatley; just to name a few. There are three textbooks that are utilized in the instruction for the second semester, and a part of the required reading for this course. All textbooks and videos are provided for the student as part of the costs for the course. There are also two comprehensive syllabus notebooks for each course; these contain the majority of class notes and test preparation material. The lectures and teaching for the Envision Leadership course utilize a Socratic methodology, with much time allowed for class interaction and questions.

Both semester courses include a leadership panel discussion, one mid-term exam, and a short, final paper. Attendance and completion of assignments are required for successful completion.

Selection Process

Each department’s Training Officer will manage the selection process. If you are interested in applying for the course, use the signup sheet tab listed on the website. This course is not intended for new firefighters. Rather, it is for those aspiring, acting, or new officers; those with the requisite years of firefighting experience to be considered for leadership are the target audience. However, more experienced firefighters and officers will also gain from the experiences of this course. Speak to your training officer for more information and clarification on who is eligible from your department for Envision Leadership.

Course Schedule

Envision Leadership is a two-semester course that provides an analytic and strategic foundation for leadership practices. The courses are taught with students assigned to one of two “cohort” groups; one group will meet on Tuesday evening, the other group meets on Friday morning. Students may attend a class on their non-assigned day IF they are on-shift for their assigned day. This method eliminates the need for the student to take vacation, or get coverage to attend classes. The system is designed to work with either the 48-96 shift-staffing model, or the more traditional “Berkeley” system. The following is the schedule for the first course, The Leadership Journey, starting this fall. All classes will be held at Aims College – Windsor Campus.

Check back soon for the schedule for the next classes.

Leadership Journey Syllabus

Semester 1

Week / Lesson #TopicSupplemental Material
1Introduction and Overview of LeadershipVideo: Currahee
2Types of Leaders / LeadershipVideo: Day of Days
3The Leadership ChallengeVideo: Carentan
4Courage, Fear and Decision MakingVideo: Replacements
5Decision Making and the Risk ProfileVideo: Crossroads
6Decision Making and Risk ManagementVideo: Bastogne
7The Fundaments of Leadership: CompetenceVideo: The Breaking Point
8Situational Awareness and Refusing RiskVideo: The Last Patrol
9The Tao of LeadershipVideo: Why We Fight
10The Paradox of the Platform of LeadershipVideo: Points
11The Leadership Journey- Why Do You Want to Lead?Lecture and Leadership Panel
12FINALS WEEKLecture/Final Paper Preparation

Leadership Encounter Syllabus

Semester 2

Required Reading

The Power of Noticing
by Max Bazerman

The Leadership Challenge
by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Becoming a Leader of Character
by Gen. James L. Anderson and Dave Anderson

Week / Lesson #TopicSupplemental Material
1The Leadership Journey Revisited
Expansion & Practical Application: The Essentials of Character, Competence and Vision
Christopher Kolenda & Randy Mirowski
2Focus on Leadership
Servant Leadership for the 21st Century
Book: Becoming a Leader of Character by Gen. James Anderson
3Developing Leaders of Character
6 Habits that Make or Break a Leader
Book: Becoming a Leader of Character by Gen. James Anderson
4Do What You Want to Be
Where are today’s Leaders of Character?
Book: Becoming a Leader of Character by Gen. James Anderson
5When Leaders are at Their Best
Necessary Leadership Skills
Book: The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner
6Five Leadership Practices for Greatness
From Modeling to Encouraging; Leading the Way
Book: The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner
7Leadership is Everyone’s Business
Leading With/Without Authority & Staying
Book: The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner
8Leadership & Situational Awareness
What the Best Leaders “See”
Book: The Power of Noticing by Max Bazerman
9The Power of “Noticing”
Noticing by Thinking Ahead
Book: The Power of Noticing by Max Bazerman
10Developing the Capacity to Notice
Seeing Strategies for Tough Times
Book: The Power of Noticing by Max Bazerman
11The Leadership EncounterLeadership Panel Discussion
12FINALS WEEKLecture/Final Paper Preparation

Frequently Asked Questions

Your training staff will be selecting the students from your department. All students will be notified of selection no later than the end of July.

Initially each department will have available five seats; there may be more available to the larger FRFC departments IF seats available to departments are not used. There are no “at large” seats available.

Yes, the Leadership Journey class that is part of this program is an updated and expanded version that must be taken as part of this course.

There will be two cohort groups put together with between 20-25 students in each group; one will meet on Tuesday evening the other on Friday morning. You will be placed in a cohort group, however, in the application process; you will be able to express a preference for a group.

The course schedule was designed to allow those on shift to attend on a corresponding day that they are not on shift. The schedule was built to work well with the 48-96 or traditional Berkeley system (LFRA/PFA).

Not yet, but we are working toward that goal.

No. Attendance is an important part of the course and grading structure. Students should not enroll in the course if they will miss more than two classes in any given semester.

Front Range Fire Consortium

If you are interested in participating in a class, please contact your agency’s Training Officer.