John Cuomo | Leadership Refined by Fire

John Cuomo gained deep experience in how fire, both heat and challenge, improve leaders.

Love of the people served and making them feel safe, valued, and well led amplified his passion for his work as a fireman.  He believes this love should feed every job success. John spent his career honing his leadership skill, and evidences the fact that any quality you work on to make you a better leader will also make you a better person.  His new book, Leadership Refined by Fire, arms leaders in all roles with the tools to create a workplace fueled by meaning.


John Cuomo planned to become an electrician, so how did he land developing a deep love for serving in, and developing leadership for, the fire service?

It was in fire academy that John found his passion, and even competing for a job for two-and-a-half years did not deter him.  Early in his career John noticed that the role of everyone in the fire service is about leadership – leading within the service and taking charge of situations that are overwhelming the community.  He spent his career learning from as many business and community role models, and books, as possible and now retired has written his first book – Leadership Refined By Fire, a firefighter’s guide to develop leadership skills, motivate and inspire others, and deliver exceptional care for the public – to make the knowledge available to others.

One of John’s core beliefs is that leadership is about personal responsibility; to be a good leader you also have to be a good follower. His book is an excellent description and demonstration of the many qualities that make exceptional leaders, illustrated with entertaining and inspirational stories.  The book arms leaders to create a workplace fueled by meaning and during our conversation John had special encouragement for firefighters, “Never let the downs get too low, keep your chin up.  It is a wonderful thing you are doing.” Listen as he discusses some of the content and provides a glimpse into his next book on mental health. 

Tune in to hear about:

  • A missile on the beach, thanksgiving dinner cooked for an estranged family, and other stories.
  • Which do we need more – good managers or good leaders?
  • What is, or what are, the most important leadership quality/ies?
  • How to find a mentor when the company is too small.
  • And more.

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