The 10 top qualities required to lead a team of responders

When someone finds themselves in an emergency situation, the rescue team must always know, decide and choose how to act as quickly as possible. Sometimes, however, this is not enough and it is then that the presence of a coordinator becomes a necessity: someone who knows how to lead, motivate and organise his team of responders. What qualities must a real leader have, though, in order to be able to lead his team to success during rescue operations? Let’s find out together by looking at the 10 essential qualities of a real leader, listed here.


1) Ability to listen: some coordinators and leaders are not interested in listening to the ideas or advice of others. However, a real leader must listen to his colleagues. It’s not enough just to listen, though, but also to understand how they feel at that moment.


2) Empathy: the journey to leadership is strewn with obstacles. Haste to become a leader may even make someone take the decision not to take proper care of a patient and to think only of leading the team. It’s important always to coordinate the operation in the best way possible, never losing sight of the patient’s needs but also remembering those of the team.


3) Healing: as a leader, there will be moments of discomfort and lack of faith in yourself, and also in your workgroup. When starting along the road to become a leader, it is important to know how to patch up and treat any wounds along the way and rediscover the necessary strength to build your own and your team’s success.


4) Awareness: general awareness, and specifically personal awareness, strengthens the leader. It not only helps you to understand issues regarding values and ethics, but also to recognise your own emotions and those of the people around you.


5) Persuasive skills: think about your life as a responder. Have you ever been told what to do? Have you ever been asked to talk about your experience and your ideas in order to improve the work flow in rescue operations? The answer to these questions will most often be “no”. The leader, in order to be successful, must be able to use a collaborative approach to convince others of his own view of things, of his own ideas. In this way, the other members of the team will be keener and more collaborative, which will increase the team’s effectiveness.


6) Conceptualisation: the leader should most definitely not underestimate this essential aspect. You need to be able to think and go beyond your own daily work tasks and concentrate on problems and organisation in general. This characteristic is important for an improved vision and analysis of future issues.


7) Far-sightedness: a real leader must have learnt his lessons through past experience, understand what is happening in the present, and know what the future holds. Intuition is an indispensable quality for a leader.


8) Administrative skills: the development of an organisation of which one’s workforce can be proud is the first essential step in the growth process of a leader and his team. You need to make sure that your team trusts its own actions and manages to engender trust in others for the good of the community.


9) Commitment to staff development and growth: the leader must be able to transmit to his own team the conviction that they too can become real leaders in the future. You need to understand the objectives that your team sets itself and help each person to achieve them.


10) Create a community: sharing objectives, values and workflows during a rescue operation is essential. The leader must be able to create an environment of shared norms, values and principles that each responder in the team must respect and in which they must believe.


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