General McCaffrey says the hallmark of good leadership is good character.

McCaffrey made a presentation on Leadership in Crisis Situations at the IAFF John P. Redmond and Dominick F. Barbera EMS Conference in Denver. He told IAFF members that when serving in leadership roles, one can’t strive for affection, but should try to earn respect. Part of gaining the trust of your team and colleagues is to be the expert in your field.

“People want to know if their leaders know what they are talking about,” he says. “If the last five times we got something right because of what a leader says, then there is greater chance you earn the trust of your team.”

Good¬† leaders don’t lead from the center – they push authority and resources down to make their organizations function properly, McCaffrey says. And they delegate being cognizant of the limitations of their staff.

McCaffrey says part of being a leader is knowing how to accept personal responsibility and admitting when you screw up.

Lastly, one needs to be fit to lead and keep healthy physically and mentally.