Essay about Apollo 13- Leadership During a Crisis

1765 Words Oct 12th, 2012 8 Pages
Apollo 13- Leadership during a crisis
Lessons learned from Gene Kranz

Every employee of NASA should known the tragic event of Apollo 13; At that time in 1970 the three astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert had to abort their mission to flight to the moon due to an explosion of an oxygen tank. They had to fight against, carbon dioxide, coldness, a lack of energy and the almost certain death. Despite of a distance of 205,000 miles the three men made it back to earth alive in the Lunar Module Aquarius (Lovell et al. 2006). This was only possible with the help of the Mission Control and the Flight Director Gene Kranz which worked together as an excellent team and came up with a richness of ideas to save the
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Despite the precarious situation, the manager should perceive a cool head in order to be able to make crucial decisions. As Gene Kranz noticed that a hint of panic is spreading in the Mission Control, he has made it very clear, that this behavior would not help anyone: “Let’s stay cool people“ (Apollo 13 1995).

3. Use knowledge of all team members
It should be noted however, that not all the goal-making decisions can be made by the leaders on their own. Too strong, centralized controls, restrictions on the freedom of choice and in involvement of the team members can lead to unmotivated employees. These ambitious and creative professionals and specialist and their knowledge are essential to find unusual and experimental solutions within a crisis (Hentze et al. 2005). The management consultant Peter F. Drucker (2009) outlines good leadership and the behavior of the ideal manager in two rules: 1. Effective leaders rather think or say “we” then “I”. 2. Effective leaders are the first to listen and the last to speak. Gene Kranz has promoted problem-oriented work even in this hopeless crisis. He has formed his own independent teams to deal with individual problem solving and fostered collaboration. For example the tigerteam, which was responsible to find a way how to generate enough energy to get the crew back to earth. In addition he has relied on the knowledge and skills of its team

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