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NCAFC Leadership Focus
NCAFC Members Sharing from Their Leadership Thoughts & Experiences
Chief Benjamin Major
Fayetteville Fire Department
Fire Service Experience
Over 33 Years of Service with the Fayetteville Fire / Emergency Management Department
Fire Chief of Fayetteville Fire Department (2011-Present)
Assistant Chief (2007-2011)
Battalion Chief (2004-2007)
Training Officer (1999-2004)
Assistant Fire Marshall (1991-1996)
What would you consider the greatest leadership challenge you have faced and how were you able to overcome it?
The greatest leadership challenge I have faced has revolved around respecting the history and culture of the fire service while being an agent of change. As leaders, we understand that change is inevitable. Whether we do little to effect change or we are aggressively implementing changes in our organization and in the service, change is going to come. To meet existing as well as future challenges of the service, I have embraced an attitude of life-long learning and continuous professional development. I continue to take advantages of opportunities to develop professionally for my personal growth and just as importantly, to help guide others with aspirations of being leaders in the department and service.
What is the best leadership advice you have ever received and how were able to best apply it to your career?
Leading can be risky and dangerous work, but everyday we have an opportunity to lead. If you fail to lead because you fear what may happen, then neither you, your team nor the community will ever move forward or may never reap the rewards of success. With that in mind, I have never been afraid to take the risk if the rewards are worth it. I think it is important to conduct a quick risk/reward analysis, but don't fail to give ideas a try if the outcomes will be worth it.
What advice would you share with future fire service leaders?
Always remember leadership isn't necessarily about you. Sure you want to be remembered as a good or great leader, but you are leading people, an organization and in some cases a cause. Make sure you are leading for the right reasons.
A native resident of Fayetteville, NC, Chief Major completed his Master's Degree in Public Administration at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Having completed his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration at Pembroke State University, he also holds the designations of Executive Fire Officer from the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland and Chief Fire Officer through the Commission on Public Safety Excellence.
Chief Major and his lovely wife Rita have been married for 30 years and have two sons: Benjamin III, 26 and Michael, 24. When off duty, he enjoys many hobbies, including sight seeing, photography, drawing and physical fitness.
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