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EMS Leadership Academy

The EMS Leadership Academy is a dynamic, four-level, 60-hour educational program designed to prepare participants to lead and manage today’s EMS.

The EMS Leadership Academy is for new and current leaders, as well as anyone with an interest in the leadership and management of EMS. It is designed to give participants the basic tools and information needed to quickly and successfully assume the role of a leader. Since 2009, more than 2,000 leaders across the nation have participated in the Academy. The four two-day levels are:

Level I:     Moving from Management to Leadership of the EMS Organization
Level II:    Showing Up as a Leader
Level III:   Moving Your Organization Forward
Level IV:  Your Specific Role and Challenges: A Retreat
NEW! Level V: Executive Leadership Retreat

Each level is a 15-hour, two-day program presented on consecutive days in comfortable settings that invite participation and openness. Class size is limited to 26 participants or less, and two faculty members are involved in the sessions at all times. Rather than long PowerPoint lectures, these sessions are engaging, lively and participatory. Dialogue is ongoing, questioning is encouraged, and laughter is common. Fifty percent of the time is spent in dialogue, small group exercises and role-playing. Students have the chance to see, practice and critique actual leadership activities in a safe environment. Each session has a specific agenda, but the agenda is always modified to fit participants’ needs.

Level details

Level I: From Management to Leadership of the EMS Organization+ show

Beginning with the everyday challenges facing EMS organizations today, this first level inverts the way we often think about running an EMS organization and shows participants how to approach challenges from the perspective of leadership (not just management). Topics addressed include:

  • How to blend the roles of both leading and managing and how to know the difference
  • Stepping beyond a paradigm of reactivity, symptom management and scarcity
  • The characteristics of great EMS organizations
  • How to create a culture people rave about
  • Leading today’s EMS workforce
  • Recruiting the people you really want
  • A leadership approach to discipline
  • How to master delegation
  • Matching responsibility with empowerment
Level II: Showing up as a Leader+ show

Beginning with each participant’s personal leadership challenges, this second level takes a reflective look at your personal practice of leadership and asks, “How do you show up as a leader?”  This session deals with basic personal leadership challenges such as confidence, communication, fear, time management, expanding your influence and staying healthy. Specifically, this level addresses:

  • What makes a great leader (beyond the theory)?
  • How one person influences another
  • Getting clear about what stops us from leading
  • How to master the clock
  • A stepped approach to fear and failure
  • Developing the capacity to really listen and why listening matters
  • How to expand your influence
  • How to influence the people above you
  • Ethically navigating power and politics
  • Telling powerful stories and why stories matter
Level III: Moving Your Organization Forward+ show

By level three, participants have developed a shared language of leadership and now begin to apply Academy principles to moving the organization forward. This level tackles leading small and big change while ensuring the organization stays strong and continues to be a place that good people want to work.  Change leadership is practiced using real case studies. Specifically, this level addresses:

  • How to identify what needs to change in your organization
  • Clarifying what really matters to you, employees, customers, the public and the success of the organization
  • Imagination, and why it is an important practical tool for leaders
  • Why most strategic planning fails and how to plan differently
  • Creating the vision for change
  • Taking big visions and reducing them to small bites
  • How to manage change reactions
  • A new approach to EMS quality that actually makes sense and produces results
  • The practice of leadership in real case studies
Level IV: Your Specific Role and Challenges: A Retreat+ show

At this level, with a solid foundation in leadership, participants set the agenda in a facilitated, retreat-style session that focuses specifically on each participant’s leadership roles and organizational challenges. Participants come with the specific challenges they are facing in their roles and in their organizations. Utilizing an “open space” format, participants choose the topics. Brief presentations are made on the topics, and the balance of the allotted time is used to workshop each topic with discussion, exercises and sharing best (and worst) practices. In the process, each leader is able to workshop his or her leadership challenges.

Level V: Executive Leadership Retreat+ show

The practice of leadership never stops. Great leaders continue to take time for their growth and development. This two-day retreat is an opportunity to meet with other Leadership Academy graduates from across the country to support your practice of leadership. Slow down, learn, share best practices and find support and encouragement on the leadership journey in a facilitated retreat setting. Using Academy principles as a framework, participants will set the agenda by bringing their experiences, challenges, successes and failures. The goal of the retreat is to provide a safe and supportive, facilitated environment for recharging the batteries, learning from each other and deepening our practice of leadership.

NOTE: Participation is by invitation only. If you would like to apply, please contact John Becknell at