Operational Leadership

Presented for the National Park Service

Operational Leadership (OL) training has been designed specifically for ALL NPS employees regardless of their position or grade. This course has been developed and tailored for all NPS field work units. The concepts apply to a broad spectrum of maintenance, resource management, and ranger operations within the NPS. It will improve operational safety and efficiency.

We have selected the COURSE TITLE, OPERATIONAL LEADERSHIP, because it captures the essence of what we want to accomplish: The creation of a work environment where everyone works together toward a common goal. To successfully do this, each employee must be able to inspire, influence, and guide. This is the essence of leadership.

On April 3, 2008, in a conference call with Hal J. Grovert, ARD, Park Operations, Intermountain Region, Mary Bomar said she wanted to see the implementation of Operational Leadership in the NPS. We are taking the steps to do this.

Operational Leadership Training identifies factors that affect individual and team performance. It is the responsibility of each team leader and team member to provide the leadership necessary to increase team performance.

Operational Leadership training emphasizes a pro-active response to error discovery and/or threat of human error within an organization. Participants learn how to apply the principles of Operational Leadership to predict and identify human error potential encountered in NPS operations.

Topics of discussion include Error and Accident Causation, Leadership, Mission Analysis, Situational Awareness, Stress and Performance, Decision Making, and Effective Communications.

Operational Leadership Training will enable participants to:

  • Predict and identify Human Error potential and develop strategies for reducing error and controlling outcomes.
  • Assist in constructively assessing policies and procedures, based on knowledge of human behavior and Operational Leadership.
  • Conduct risk assessments for NPS operations.
  • Understand the relationship between situational awareness and mishap potential.
  • Predict the performance of an individual or team based on a given level of situational awareness.
  • Recognize the clues that can indicate the impending or actual loss of situational awareness and deploy the options available when it has been determined that situational awareness may have been lost.
  • Understand the effects of stress on memory functions, performance and the decision-making process.
  • Understand the common and uncommon causes of fatigue and identify the physical and mental symptoms and their affect on decision making.
  • Apply three key decision types and understanding when and how they are typically used in routine and abnormal situations.
  • Apply the key leadership principles to strategic and tactical decision-making.
  • Enhance the professional standards of NPS operations.

Research statistics show that over 85% of all primary cause factors in mishaps are related to Human Error. California Training Institute has developed this program specifically for the NPS. This training has proven successful in organizations worldwide and these proven strategies have effectively reduced negative incidents and mishaps.

This training has formed the basis for the NASA, FAA, and the International Civil Aviation Organization recommendations on Human Factors, and is being used by the U.S. Coast Guard, the FAA, the military, surgical and ambulance teams, nuclear power plant facilities, and police and sheriffs departments worldwide.