Effective Leadership Chief Boden Style

I am not one who is much for popular culture. I listen to “old music,” I don’t pay close attention to what movie stars are getting married or divorced, and I don’t watch a lot of television shows.  There is one show that I have made it a point to watch with some degree of regularity.  It really got started because my son who lives in Chicago has some friends that work on the show.  The show I am talking about is called Chicago Fire.

There is one character in particular that really intrigues me. He is a study in human character. This character is one of the leads on the show and is named Chief Wallace Boden.  In case you haven’t seen the show, he is the boss at Firehouse 51 where the show is set. The Chief has a cast of characters around him who all have their good qualities and their not so good qualities, and often require his safe guidance.

CheifBowdenChief Boden is highly respected by his peers and by his firefighters.  He is the guy who tells these fire fighters to run into the burning buildings, as most rational people are running out of them.  So his fire fighters have no doubt that he will be watching out for them in all instances and never do anything that he wouldn’t do, or that would bring harm to them.

Chief Boden has a moral compass that only knows “true north.”  He ALWAYS does the right thing, even in the face of adversity. While he is sometimes put in situations which test his resolve, he never waivers. He expects the same out of his people as well.  So when his fire fighters get in harm’s way and he knows they are doing the right thing and being straight with him, there is nothing he won’t do for them, even if it means putting his personal career on the line.

The respect and true compassion that Chief Boden has for the people in his house comes back to him ten-fold. The fire fighters in his house do anything and everything that can to support the chief regardless of the circumstances.

Chief Boden does not smile a lot, but when he does, he lights up the room.  Chief Boden does not fret over things too much either.  He makes the best of the situation and moves on.

Now I realize this is a television show, and while it is based somewhat in reality, the characters portrayed are just a figment of some writer’s imagination, think about this for a minute.  What impact would a leader like this have on your organization?

If the leader/owner/boss/chief where you worked had everyone’s back, was a paragon of virtue, and never lied about things – wouldn’t that be a better place to be?

Well you and I, we are the Chief Bodens of our organization.  Be that person – do the right thing, be respected and respect others and go to bat for your people.  It’s not that hard; just go to Netflix or Hulu and get an episode of Chicago Fire and watch Chief Boden in action. Maybe even take a few notes!


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