Interview: How Jeremy Fewtrell Leads With Strengths
About the Leader
Jeremy Fewtrell Commissioner, Fire and Rescue NSW
“[CliftonStrengths] really resonated immediately. Having those strengths spelled out for me made me think, 'Oh, yes, that makes sense,' but intuitively, I already knew some of that in how I approach things, but I didn't have the language or the categorization to identify it so clearly.”
When responding to incidents in his community, Fewtrell finds that his curiosity and ability to rapidly assimilate new information allow him to quickly build an impromptu knowledge base in novel circumstances.
Having a great deal of passion for his work, seeing it as more of a calling than a job, Fewtrell naturally takes the obligations of his role seriously. As a seasoned firefighter, Fewtrell believes his Responsibility strength explains why he "leads from the front" by battling fires alongside his firefighters.
The 2019-2020 megafires in Australia had a profound effect on the firefighters who battled the flames. Driven by a desire to support each person's individual needs, Fewtrell invites his firefighters to share and explore their experience of the event with him.
Recognizing that firefighters need to be able to do much more than perform the technical aspects of their role, Fewtrell emphasizes the power of tending to the people instead of the event after a major emergency. "That's what people will talk about and remember us for," he says.
Driven by an Achiever mindset, Fewtrell coaches his firefighters to work hard enough and with such skill and coordination at each emergency that they can leave the event feeling a tremendous amount of professional pride.