Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program

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L-480 - Instructional Design Criteria
March 2011

Organizational Leadership in the Wildland Fire Service

The L-480 Design Criteria offers an alternative approach to training. There is no standing course package available through the NWCG Publication Management System. However, there are currently two packages of course material available to potential providers when developing their own course package and/or preparing for a course delivery. To obtain these materials, contact the L-480 Course Coordinator at the National Advanced Fire & Resource Institute (NAFRI) at (520) 799-8787. Agencies have the authority to develop lesson plans based on the course design criteria outlined here. The purpose of establishing course design 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 are intended for use by training officers and managers for determining their best source for L-480 training. These criteria will 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.

Target Audience
Current ICS unit leaders and Type 3 personnel who desire to become qualified as Type 2 IMT command and general staff, as well as mid- to upper-level organizational leaders.

The intent of L-480 is to provide the target audience with leadership tools that provide strategic direction and influence over others to achieve team and organizational goals. The course should be designed to capitalize on the latest academic research in the field of organizational leadership to develop personal leadership skills and increase the organizational effectiveness in the workplace and during incident management operations. The NWCG leadership curriculum establishes and teaches the core values and principles of leadership in the wildland fire service. These values and principles are introduced and reinforced through a robust curriculum of self examination and simulation that helps transfer these values into actions. The skill sets of leadership remain constant throughout the leadership curriculum; however, how those skill sets are applied in context to the complexity level of the incident changes at each level in the curriculum.

L-480 makes a distinct break from the structure of L-380 and L-381 targeting current ICS unit leaders and Type 3 personnel who desire to become qualified as Type 2 command and general staff, as well as mid- to upper-level organizational leaders. The course is designed to develop an individual's personal leadership skills and presence in order to increase their effectiveness in a dynamic fire service work environment.

Minimum Course Length
32 course hours

Instructor Qualifications
See L-480 Instructor and Coach Qualifications.

Instructional Design Guidelines

Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program Components - Include the following program components that can be found at http://www.fireleadership.gov/

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, L-380 Fireline Leadership, and L-381 Incident Leadership

Training in Context - Utilize coaches during group exercises and simulations to apply concepts that are presented during instructor presentations. Exercises and simulations are to comprise 30% of the course presentation, as a minimum.

Student/Instructor Ratio - In order to conduct effective exercises and simulations, cadres/coaches should be structured to provide low student to instructor ratios (8 students per instructor or better).

Case Studies - Provide classroom case studies and references from organizations both inside and outside of high-risk, high-tempo work environments. Examples of such organizations include the military, nuclear power plant operations, and structure fire departments, as well as large corporations such as Microsoft, Google, and IBM.

Assessment - Integrate exercises and simulations to allow opportunity for self-assessment and for leadership assessment by peers.

Content Guidelines
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.

Personal Assessment – Self Leadership
Content should include leadership and psychological concepts that pertain to the individual, as opposed to the team.

  • Self Assessment Tools - Knowledge and interpretive skills utilizing standard self assessment tools.
  • Emotional Intelligence – Understanding one’s own emotions, managing emotions, motivating oneself, and recognizing emotions in others.
  • Analysis of Leadership Style – Knowledge of different leadership styles and how they affect team success.
  • Core Beliefs and Values Hierarchy – Knowledge of how individual core beliefs affect the team or provide a foundation for team success. Assist participants to understand their own values.
  • Self Improvement Tools – Knowledge of self improvement tools for improving personal leadership attributes.
  • Command Presence – Expert knowledge of command presence principles and the ability to teach students how to develop them.
  • Stress and Burnout – Knowledge of stress physiology and psychology. Teach the use of common stress tools for assessing burnout symptoms and defense strategies.
  • Attitude for Success – Knowledge of psychological concepts sufficient to create a successful attitude.

Team/Organizational Leadership Strategies
Team/organizational leadership strategies are necessary in order to effectively meet organizational goals. This requires knowledge in team dynamics, interpersonal relationships, and leadership in the team environment.

  • Leadership Development Program - Knowledge of the overall NWCG Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program.
  • Vision – Knowledge of the use of vision to create the foundation for team success.
  • Situation Awareness – Knowledge of tactical vs. strategic situation awareness.
  • Team Climate and Culture – Knowledge of team/organizational dynamics for creating and maintaining effective connectivity.
  • Motivation – Knowledge of the psychology of motivation.
  • Time-compressed Decision Making – Knowledge of concepts related time compressed decision making.
  • Delegation – Knowledge of delegation skills assessment tools and delegation effectiveness.
  • Conflict Style Analysis and Anger Management – Knowledge of conflict styles. Experience using evaluation tools in diagnosing personal conflict styles. Able to teach anger management concepts.
  • Mentoring and Coaching – Knowledge of mentoring methods and coaching techniques used in the emergency response environment.
  • Rewarding and Recognition – Knowledge of the distinctions between reward and recognition.