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Seattle Fire Department (SFD) Executive Leadership Academy

In today’s complex world, first responders and the staff that support their work, face fast-paced, high-impact situations where decisions range from operational issues to life and death outcomes. The Seattle Fire Department (SFD), in collaboration with the Michael G. Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and the Center for Leadership and Strategic Thinking (CLST) is launching the SFD Leadership Academy to provide fire-rescue professionals with educational and experiential development focused on accelerating their leadership development.

The SFD Leadership Academy will provide leadership development for senior leaders in King County Fire Agencies. Taught by instructors with extensive experience working with leaders across a broad spectrum of organizations, the SFD Executive Leadership Academy builds on prior developmental interventions done with thousands of senior leaders around the world in public and private organizations. This academy including the frameworks, models, coaching and assessments are each evidence-based.


Detailed program information

This program requires a two-year commitment to attend either half- or full-day training sessions beginning with a two-day retreat in October. In addition, participants in the academy will also work on self-designed team projects to benefit their organizations and have team meetings and professional coaching sessions by coaches working with the CLST.


Executive Leadership Academy (ELA)

Course Description:

The SFD ELA focuses on developing four (4) levels of leadership including:

  • Self-leadership development/What you know about your own leadership
  • Interactive leadership development/How you engage others to achieve goals
  • Developmental leadership/How you help others to grow their leadership
  • Strategic leadership/How you lead small to large groups/teams across multiple levels

Summary of the Program Elements:

  • One (1) two-day workshop
  • Five (5) 4-hour sessions
  • One (1) one-day wrap/graduation session
  • Four (4) executive coaching sessions
  • Periodic assessments, including your Developmental Readiness, Psychological Resources, and pre- & post-academy Full Range Leadership 360 surveys.

Each session includes customized key learning objectives/goals, along with experiential learning and activities designed to reinforce concepts, models, and leadership development.

Topics Covered:

  • Authentic Leadership
  • Leading Change
  • Relational Leadership
  • Contextual Leadership
  • Business Fundamentals
  • Team Dynamics
  • Strategic Leadership

Learning objectives:

  • Develop deeper level of leader self-awareness — the cornerstone of Authentic Leadership — through exploring your Moral/Ethical Standards, Integrity, Resiliency, and Positive Psychological Capital, i.e., hope, confidence, optimism, and resiliency.
  • Articulate and practice ways to build trust and promote psychological safety where people are comfortable voicing their views.
  • Increasing the practice of balanced and just leadership, which is a key aspect of Authentic Leadership.
  • Be able to specify the criteria and strategy for effective group decision-making.
  • Articulate one’s personal leadership narrative and brand, including one’s core values and core principles of underlying effective leadership.
  • Identify a goal for advancing your future leadership development and articulate your objectives and way to measure success.

Out-of-Class Commitments:

  • Participating in team project meetings on real challenges that the team has chosen to address.
  • Completing online leadership assessments
  • Meeting with executive coaches
  • Complete advance readings & reflection
  • Time commitment: 5 hours monthly on average


  • If you have any questions about the SFD Executive Leadership Academy or the application/selection process, please email Christina Fong at [email protected]