It is interesting how individual articles for CRJ, commissioned at different times and written by authors from diverse backgrounds and disciplines, reflect and echo each other and current events.
Take this issue’s feature on leadership and command – topics that have been prominent in the news with the capsizing of the 'Costa Concordia'. It is probably fair to say there might be questions over the adequacy of command and management of the vessel, and the leadership qualities of her captain, both before and after this tragic accident.
So how should leaders behave and what do we expect from them? The author on page 44 emphasises that today’s disasters require a new type of leader, one with a clear understanding of the uncharted territories involved in crises. We need intuitive leaders, secure and confident in their abilities and creative adaptability, who can act decisively, think on their feet and who are prepared to be surprised and react appropriately.
This theme is also explored on page 50, with an analysis of the extensive range of skills and different mandates required to lead the response to large-scale incidents. Political leaders and emergency services commanders have different expertise and priorities, making it essential for them to work together, say the authors, and leadership by example is still an essential trait.
Further articles on pages 36 and 46 examine how leaders and commanders can recognise the signs of an impending crisis, and how confident commanders perceive themselves to be at catastrophic events. True crisis leaders provide hope and confidence. They recognise they may not have all the answers, but will have trained, practised and reflected in advance. And they are ready to accept outside situational judgements. So when a crisis strikes, they do not flounder, but take confident decisions, secure in their own ability and judgement.
This comment was published in 2012