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Leadership Style and Practices pertains to the ability to motivate others using effective human relations principles; to lead rather than rule, guiding and motivating others to develop a team approach that contributes to employee morale and overall effectiveness; to be proactive in situations in which subordinates need direction but to do so in a manner that motivates employees to meet expectations; to be assertive in situations in which subordinates are engaging in practices that could lead to lowered employee morale and take appropriate action in guiding and developing such subordinates for their own individual improvement as well as the improvement of the work group as a whole; to deal effectively with subordinates with regard to new ideas and programs that they may suggest.

Six General Management In-Basket (GMIB) items are used to score this factor, but a maximum of five skill descriptions may appear in this report section.

The following are the major characteristics of this assessee's current skill level and managerial style on this factor:

  • Skill Description:  Demonstrates very good skill in situations in which employees are seeking support for their efforts and contributions; demonstrates an understanding of how to maintain the employee's sense of responsibility and accomplishment when not complying with employee requests for supervisory support and approval; demonstrates very good ability in defining problem situations posed by employees and clearly understands when additional information is needed in order to make a supervisory decision.
  • Developmental Areas and Learning Objectives:

    Establishing Expectations:  Learn to examine subordinate handling of specific job situations to determine whether they are attempting to meet a reasonably high set of managerial expectations, and if not, provide constructive guidance which helps the subordinate reach a higher level of performance; learn to use the specific problem being experienced in a way that encourages the subordinate to meet your expectations, relying on positive, non-threatening approaches that will reinforce the subordinate's ability to operate in a more competent manner in the future.

  • Skill Description:  Demonstrates average skill in handling situations involving subordinates who are demonstrating confusion or difficulty in meeting their responsibilities or in attaining specific objectives within their general sphere of responsibility; clearly recognizes where subordinates are failing to fulfill their responsibilities and in need of assistance that goes beyond the present problem being experienced by the subordinate; however, demonstrates a tendency to be somewhat too directive and to focus too much on the present problem without taking the employee's developmental needs into account in formulating a course of action; as a result, leadership style in such situations may seem to serve the employee's immediate needs but it also tends to promote employee dependency rather than professional growth and development.
  • Developmental Areas and Learning Objectives:

    Performance Assessment/Establishing Expectations:  Learn to assess subordinate performance in various job-related situations in an ongoing manner, with particular attention to whether poor performance is a function of poor skill level, lack of effort and/or a poor attitude; learn to devise action strategies appropriate for each of these situations, setting reasonable expectations of performance as appropriate to the underlying problem, then guiding and motivating subordinates to meet these expectations.

  • Skill Description:  Demonstrates very good understanding of participative management principles and practices in decision making situations; "leads" as opposed to "ruling," thereby increasing the likelihood that subordinates will be more cooperative and committed to achieving organizational goals; correctly identifies situations in which subordinates should be involved in order to motivate them and improve the quality of work results; also demonstrates insight into the interpersonal elements of decision making situations as opposed to focusing only on the obvious "work-related" or "production" aspects of work unit operations.
  • Developmental Areas and Learning Objectives:

    Employee Motivation:  Develop a more in-depth understanding of underlying principles of employee motivation and morale.  What are the underlying psychological principles that explain the variety of emotional and interpersonal reactions that subordinates have to managerial actions pertaining to issues such as "employee involvement," "making or implementing decisions that affect the work group," etc.  How can these principles be applied to maximize the commitment of subordinates to work group objectives?

  • Skill Description:  Demonstrates very good insight and skill in dealing with problems related to group dynamics and group processes where style of leadership is the primary issue affecting the accomplishment of organizational objectives; avoids the use of ineffective leadership approaches in such situations and demonstrates an understanding of why these approaches are ineffective; understands the effect of the leadership method used in certain situations upon interpersonal relations and group morale and how these can affect the accomplishment or organizational and group-oriented objectives; understands the need to distinguish between the use of power as a compliance tool and the use of personal leadership skills in appropriate situations and to avoid using power where it is likely to create resistance and fail to accomplish desired objectives.
  • Developmental Areas and Learning Objectives:

    Group Dynamics:  When dealing with subordinate activities that might be termed "cooperation essential," ask yourself:  "What leadership methods are most likely to stimulate a high degree of commitment by all members of the work group to achieving a high quality result?"  Refine current skill level by learning the advantages and disadvantages of different approaches to gaining a high degree of individual effort and commitment so that the most effective approach for the specific situation can be implemented.

  • Skill Description:  Demonstrates very good insight into the relationship between employee motivation, morale and productivity of the organization as a whole in dealing with employee performance problems; clearly understands key issues related to dealing with employee performance problems as well as the underlying relationship between supervisory decisions in such situations and the impact on the motivation, morale and productivity of others in the organization; also demonstrates very good insight and skill in implementing leadership strategies to successfully deal with such problems.
  • Developmental Areas and Learning Objectives:

    Employee Motivation:  Develop a better understanding of how the manager's method of dealing with performance problems affects perceptions of his/her leadership style; develop a better understanding of long-term leadership actions that may be necessary and appropriate where performance problems persist; learn the range of options open to the manager and the circumstances under which each should be exercised.

Our In-Basket Exam Prep packages include full-length practice examinations as well as in-depth explanations for each question and corresponding behavior dimensions.  Also included in this exam prep package are: 

  • Elements of an In-Basket
  • Assessment Center Behavior Dimensions
  • Top-Scoring In-Basket Performance Strategies that have proven to be extremely successful for hundreds of promotional candidates

Your investment in these practice examinations could mean the difference between you getting promoted and not.  Don't go into an In-Basket Examination unprepared.

If you would like to review additional promotional exam prep packages, go to our Assessment Center Exam Prep pages at the links below:

Promotional Oral Interview Exam Prep

Fire Tactical Exam Prep

Subordinate Counseling Exam Prep

Lieutenant/Captain/Battalion/Deputy Chief In-Basket Exam Prep

Leaderless Group Exam Prep

Test-taking Strategies & Career Articles

Don McNea Fire School's Assessment Center Exam Preparation has been put together by Fire Chiefs who are nationally-recognized authors and who have been assessors for thousands of assessment center examinations.

As always, all of our Assessment Center Exam Prep products come with a no-risk guarantee.  If you are not completely satisfied, we will refund 100% of the product cost no questions asked.


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