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Why do promotions sometimes bring out the worst in people? 

By  Robbie MacCue

3 things… Fear, fear and fear! 

  • insecure thinking, 
  • worry about how others will perceive them and
  • that they are in over their head/fear of failure

Buddy to Boss - don’t want to look like they are giving special treatment

Lack of training or preparation for the position 

Any of our courses on our website, for even the new and up & coming leaders. KTB or Leadership Training - Communication mini course, KTB, or THRIVE leadership training.

Don’t wait until your providers are promoted - We host an Annual EMS Leadership Summit filled with leaders offering guidance on how to bring out the best in people.

Video Transcript

Welcome to today's EMS Q&A. And we have a great question here. Why do promotion sometimes bring out the worst in people? So you can take this one on, Well, it's three things. It's fear, fear, and fear. And you know, it has different names, like insecure thinking. You know, people get into a new position.

They're insecure. They're worried about how other people will think of them, or they're afraid that they're maybe they are in over their head. You know, the fear of failure. They don't want to look bad. There's a whole industry talking about, you know, from buddy to boss, like if we were on a level together and then I become your boss and you know,

you want to maintain that relationship, but you don't want to look like you're giving special treatment. So all of those things really boil down to some kind of fearful thinking and in the culture of prehospital care and, you know, EMS and many of the first responders, it's that sort of looking tough. So coming across as tough is really seen as appropriate as opposed to,

you know, the fear of being vulnerable. So unfortunately that's how people compensate for that is, is by, you know, coming across as tough and people see it as being the, you know, bringing out the worst in them. I think it's also the lack of training and preparedness for your newly promoted supervisor management leadership that we see that time and time again,

is that people get put into a leadership role. And then it's an afterthought that, Oh, well maybe we should give them some leadership training. That little bit of time, the damage has probably already been done. You've got leaders that maybe don't have all the tools they need to do their job effectively. And we see the aftermath of that organization. So I think any of the courses,

any of the trainings, the free trainings we put on, the more premium trainings we put on are perfect. Again, not only for your current leaders, but for your new people, for folks that are up and coming leaders, give them, please give them the training skills that they need to prepare them and your organization for the future. We've, we've done our mini course on our communications program.

We've had our keeping the best program, all about how to be a better coach and how to be a better leader, any of our leadership training, including the thrive leadership development community, which again, monthly live sessions for that people can get ongoing support as a leader and a framework to follow. And don't wait until they get promoted. We do host an annual EMS leadership summit with phenomenal leaders from multiple countries with multiple perspectives and giving guidance on how to bring out the best in people.

So I think that's probably your best course of action and how to not have this problem in your organization and our community Of EMS folks on either Facebook or mighty networks. You know, we have community of leaders reaching out to other leaders you're not in this alone and you know, I can't eat. I think you said it really well being, feeling prepared,

lessens your fear and lessens the likelihood of, you know, operating from a place of fear. You have more confidence, the more prepared you feel. Absolutely check out our EMS leadership network@communitydotemsleadershipacademy.com for that as well. All right. Thanks everyone for watching.


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Robbie MacCue


Robbie is the cofounder of the EMS Leadership Academy, host of the EMS Leadership Summit, and paramedic captain in Albany, NY where he serves in the Special Operations Division for ground rescue, flight, & tactical medicine. He performs international medical flights with North America's largest fixed wing Air Ambulance service. For more than 14 years, Robbie served as President of a non-profit EMS organization advocating for increased funding and raising the bar of excellence. In addition, Robbie is an American Heart Association advocate who is passionate about empowering others to save more lives. He has taught physicians, nurses, and other medical providers Advanced Cardiac Life Support at medical schools and hospitals throughout Manhattan. Robbie has undergraduate degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a MBA from Case Western Reserve University and provides business consulting that combines his love of technology with healthcare.

Robbie MacCue

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