The L-381 Design Criteria offers an alternative
approach to training. There is no standing course package available through
the NWCG Publication Management System. Agencies have the authority to develop
lesson plans based on the course criteria outlined here. The purpose of establishing
course criteria is to give agencies the latitude to develop or acquire leadership
training that fits their organizational needs while meeting the intent of
the leadership curriculum. The following criteria is
intended for use by training officers and managers for determining their best
source for L-381 training. These criteria can be used to evaluate a training
product that is developed internally or acquired through other providers such as a contractor, a university, or other source.
Personnel desiring to be qualified as Division/Group Supervisor or Incident
Commander Type 3.
The L-381 training experience should provide leaders of Divisions, Groups,
or Type 3 incidents with the leadership tools to effectively exert command
and control over a quickly assembled team in a time constrained and rapidly
changing incident environment. Beyond a set of tools
and techniques, this training experience should be designed to make an emotional
and lasting impact. Essential guiding principles for achieving this impact
include: enhancing the students' understanding of the human dimension when
leading others in dynamic work environments; utilizing experiential training
techniques that will engage students in ways that challenge them to perform
under realistic and high-stress situations; and motivating students to examine
their role as a leader and their strengths and weaknesses as a leader.
32 course hours
The combined cadre must have career backgrounds and expert level knowledge
in principle-centered leadership, emergency incident operations, human factors
and decision-making. All instructors must be facilitative instructor qualified,
and well prepared in order to execute simulations and lead classroom activities
in order to achieve the learning objectives outlined in this course criteria.
Refer to the NWCG instructor levels and requirements in the Field Managers
Course Guide online at
- Wildland Fire Leadership
Development Program Components - Include the following program
components that can be found at www.fireleadership.gov.
- Training in Context
- Utilize group exercises and simulations to apply concepts that
are presented during instructor presentations. Exercises and simulations
are to comprise 50% of the course presentation, as a minimum.
- Student/Instructor Ratio - In order
to conduct effective exercises and simulations, cadres should be structured
to provide low student to instructor ratios (8 students per instructor or
- Case Studies - Provide classroom case studies and references
from organizations that normally operate in high-risk, high-tempo work environments.
Examples of such organizations include the military, commercial aviation,
nuclear power plant operations, structure fire departments, etc.
- Assessment - Integrate the After Action Review process
into the exercises and simulations to allow opportunity for self-assessment
and for performance assessment by peers.
- Integrated Curriculum - Content must be consistent with
the preceding courses in the NWCG Leadership Curriculum, the L-180
Human Factors on the Fireline, L-280
Followership to Leadership, and L-380
The course content information included below is a guide for course evaluation
or design. The intent of the NWCG Leadership Curriculum is to create a series
of courses that are taken by individuals as they progress in their careers from
less complex to more complex leadership roles within the Incident Command System.
This series of courses needs to be connected conceptually from one level to
the next. For example, the Leadership Values and Principles need to be expressed
using the same terminology at all levels. Definitions of key terms (e.g., situational
awareness) need to be consistent at all levels. The course content information
included here should assist training officers, course developers, and managers
in evaluating existing courses or in developing new courses to insure they fit
the intent of the NWCG Leadership Curriculum.
Presence and Command Climate
1. Describe techniques and processes that contribute to building a positive
2. Establish a positive command climate that promotes communication within
a command team and with assigned operational resources.
3. Exercise appropriate levels of command so that positive control is maintained
as distance increases between the command team and assigned operational resources.
4. Provide a command climate that encourages cooperation and communication
with clients (such as public, municipalities, law enforcement, political leaders,
1. Provide clear command guidance and initial leaders intent for an emerging
2. Communicate and clarify command guidance and leaders intent to subordinates
regarding changing environment and changing mission objectives.
3. Evaluate subordinates understanding of leaders intent
during an ongoing operation.
1. Describe the characteristics of a high performing
team and the techniques for rapid teambuilding in a time-constrained environment.
2. Apply the teambuilding principles to achieve cohesion in a quickly assembled
3. Identify typical team/crew stress reactions and develop stress control
measures for common stress reactions within a team/crew.
1. Demonstrate communication techniques that focus the organization's efforts
and minimize conflict and error in high-stress, high-consequence situations.
As a minimum, the techniques addressed should include the five communications
responsibilities for firefighters and active listening.
2. Demonstrate adapting communication techniques to the unique needs of different
people or situations.
3. Participate in the After Action Review process to provide opportunities
to learn as a team from a previous event.
and Mitigating Decision Errors
1. Describe error detection and mitigation processes at the command level.
2. Integrate contingency planning into an ongoing operation, and identify
and mitigate error chains as they occur.
3. Enable subordinates to participate in error detection and mitigation processes
during an ongoing operation.
4. Anticipate upstream or systemic errors that may impact your team during
an ongoing operation.
1. Describe factors that affect operational tempo and command challenges associated
with those factors.
2. Detect shifts in operational tempo and span of control within an ongoing
operation. Adapt tactics, plans, and leadership techniques to mitigate risks.
3. Analyze the effectiveness of a team/crew's ability to manage changes in
operational tempo on an incident and develop future trigger points for managing
1. Conduct a self-assessment of individual leadership skill weaknesses/strengths
and review previous leadership development plans.
2. Construct a development plan to enhance personal leadership skills using
peer feedback, self-assessment of performance, and instructor feedback.
3. Analyze the effects of personal stress reactions on decision-making. The
analysis should include identification of stressors in a scenario and determination
of how stress reactions may have affected ability to make decisions.