Retaining Tips

What Makes a Crisis Leader?

During emergencies and crises, the demand on leaders’ skills is tremendous; contingency management and disaster recovery typically involve functioning despite time constraints, high stress, inadequate decision frames, and the necessity to carefully complete critically important tasks far beyond the duties of day-to-day workplace tasks leaders typically perform. What are the attributes of an effective team leader? What sort of person, with what kinds of training and skill sets, represents the best type of individual to lead a in a crisis?

What sort of individual makes the best leader in a crisis? Pepperdine University conducted a survey of over one hundred crisis managers and experts. The survey asked them to think about leaders with whom they have worked, either on a crisis team or as part of a crisis situation and provide examples of both ““very good”” and ““very bad”” leadership factors. These experienced crisis leaders represented a wide international selection and a diverse range of crisis management activities, including law enforcement, security, corporate aviation industry, and governmental agency crisis managers who have many years of crisis management and contingency team leadership experience.

These respondents provided a sketch of an effective leader, and the results indicate that there are at least 14 characteristics they should possess. Additionally, these results point out that a more effective leader in a crisis would possess more of these 14 traits and skills. These traits and skills should be given serious consideration when selecting team leaders and designing training programs.

An effective crisis team leader can:

bullet Coordinate
bullet Make Decisions
bullet Draw from Experience
bullet Set Goals
bullet Communicate
bullet Facilitate
bullet Handle Stress
bullet Listen
bullet Be Open-Minded
bullet Take Ownership and Responsibility
bullet Prioritize
bullet Think Critically
bullet Adapt
bullet Train and Prepare

adapted for an article by Michael McCann


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