Behind the Leadership Column

“There I Was...”. No, this is not an old Ranger Tale but rather a new corner of short topics on leadership and teamwork to stimulate discussions and hopefully add value to your membership!

I have been a member of ANPR for many years and retired from the NPS after 40 seasons as a ranger, incident commander, resource manager and superintendent. I plan to write short articles on topics like personal leadership, building trust in self and others, dealing with change, principles of excellent teamwork, team ground rules, conflict resolution, and many more topics!

So what is Leadership? The best definitions I have found are:

  1. A commitment to balance, a sense of purpose and core values
  2. The ability to bring about change in self and others
  3. Knowing yourself; having a vision that is well communicated; building trust and taking effective action to accomplish goals

All three of these definitions focus on self and this will be a good starting point for our discussions next time. Stephen Covey stated it well when he said: “The place to begin building any relationship is inside ourselves.”

Meet the Writer

Bill Pierce is a retired US National Park Ranger who served in numerous national parks, including Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the east, and Point Reyes National Seashore to the west. Rising through the Ranger ranks, he became the Chief Ranger at Olympic National Park, the Superintendent at Devils Tower National Monument, Deputy Superintendent at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Superintendent of Katmai National Park and Preserve, Superintendent at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, and finally Superintendent at Redwoods National and State Parks before he retired.

Bill was a superb leader and supervisor, and an outstanding team member. He served as a Planning Section Chief, Operations Section Chief and Incident Commander on several National Incident Management Teams, both for fire, and for all-hazards. He teaches supervision, leadership and teamwork both for the NPS and for other organizations around the country. Needless to say, he knows what he is talking about when it comes to leadership and teamwork!

Bill writes this column for the ANPR Newsletter because he (and I) believe that the National Park Service employees need to better understand the responsibilities as well as the techniques of leadership and teamwork to be successful. His advice in these articles is tried and true, and followed by every good leader---in and outside of the NPS. Please spend a few minutes each month carefully reading through Bill’s column, identifying ideas that are meaningful to you, and putting them into practice. If you have questions about anything Bill writes, please contact him by email. He will be happy to work with you personally. The future of the NPS, and your future advancement through the NPS ranks depend on your actions.

Paul Anderson

Association of National Park Rangers

Past Leadership Articles

Personal Leadership Traits | April 2020

The personal leadership traits of an excellent leader

Personal Leadership Trait of Self Awareness | May 2020

Being aware of our blind spots and how they can affect us at the work site

Habits and Attitudes | June 2020

How they affect our behavior and how to change them

Decision Process | July 2020

How we make decisions and how to improve them

Dealing with Change | August 2020

How to manage change at work and in your life

Building Trust in Self and Others | September 2020

How to build trust in yourself and others and improve communications and relationships

Personal Responsibilities to Self and Others | November 2020

Your responsibilities to self, team, resources, neighbors and the public

Defining Excellent Teams | December 2020

The basic ingredients of a successful team

Principles of Excellent Teamwork | January 2021

The 4 steps of any task and the key principles of an excellent team

Team Ground Rules | February 2021

How to develop and enforce team ground rules for successful teams

Behaviors in a Team | March 2021

The three areas of member roles (Task, Maintenance and Self-Oriented) and how they impact teamwork

Ideal Team Standards | May 2021

Let's Discuss Communication, Team Decision Making, Planning, Facing up, Cost Consciousness, Traditions, and Standards of Excellence

Characteristics of a Successful Team | July 2021

The characteristics of a successful team (one that is effective and efficient in accomplishing their objectives and maintaining morale) will not surprise you. They are a summary of what we have been talking about in personal leadership and excellent teams.

Reach the Writer