For many, the continuing debacle of the Trump presidential campaign is as fascinating as a train wreck. Where will this self-inflicted descent into the absurd end?
The last few days have had me thinking about the value of leadership in a crisis. What makes the people at the top ready (or not ...) to face the music. I remembered writing a piece on leaders and adaptation to a new context.
The text below is from my contribution to Adam Crowe's book published a couple of years ago. Titled Leadership in the Open: A New Paradigm in Emergency Management, the book focuses on the impact of technology during crises.
My piece dealt with change and openness ...I've adapted it a little bit below:
- the growing importance of mobile technologies and social networks (social convergence)
- the realization that speed is everything in a crisis
- greater public participation and input
- being unprepared ...leaders ensure their organizations have effective plans in place, they know them, practice them and have their people do the same. Improvisation leads to lack of strategic vision that damages trust.
- not having a clear understanding of the crisis ... real leaders lead ... they are decisive ... don't push things/decision "upstairs" ... They take stands when given directives they know are wrong ... Effective leaders focus on people and not process ... they get results done by basing actions on plans ... not improvisation ... while adapting existing procedures according to the demands of each specific incidents.
- micromanaging and interfering ... this leads to mediocrity, lack of innovation and initiative and complacency. Leaders trust their people ... trust in their ability and their training ... don't get involved too deeply in operational details and minutiae ... don't overburden their organization with a convoluted approvals process that handicaps a swift and effective response.
- no collaboration or outreach ... ignoring key stakeholders and audiences means building tall, empty silos ... Shunning joint efforts, not joining collaborative efforts, sticking with narrow agendas and not establishing strong relationships in favour of a "go alone" approach leads to fragmented, uncoordinated responses that serve no audiences well.
- lack of a social media or web presence ... (or lack of an effective and well thought of one ...) Leaders understand the need to occupy the public space quickly in a crisis. They know that dialogue and info flow on social platforms is a great vehicle to establish that presence. They know that a stale website is a killer in terms of an effective communications response during an incident. It shows ignorance of the audiences needs in a crisis ...as does as having sites that are NOT mobile-friendly.