Essay on Leadership in Crisis Situation

1575 Words Nov 27th, 2012 7 Pages
On April 20, 2010 the Deep Water Horizon drilling unit operated by British Petroleum (BP) experienced a catastrophic explosion, resulting in 11 casualties, 15 serious injuries, and an uncontrolled discharge of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the next 3 months. Countless number of livelihoods that relied on the gulf’s ecosystem was indelibly marred by the environmental disaster, costing billions in damages that are still being accounted more than 2 years later. During the crisis, many differing accounts of leadership emerged – US Gov’t, BP Execs, and the JIC provide 3 contrasting portrayals of leadership in crisis situation that illustrate the importance and impacts of preparation, perception, communication, and courage. The US …show more content…
There were also several quotes and reports that showed an out-of-touch executive leadership that showed little remorse, accountability, or courage. Meanwhile, amidst the chaos, key personnel at the JIC showed examples of extraordinary leadership in a crisis situation – especially some situations that were created and exacerbated by the actions of US gov’t and BP. In a crisis situation, it is imperative to quickly assess the situation, stabilize it, and develop a plan to address it (Carroll & Hatakenaka, 2001). It is pivotal for the leader to show the ability think quickly on his feet and take decisive action. Barbara Voulgaris was an example of a leader who walked into a highly fractured situation and showed key signs of leadership in a crisis situation including the ability to think on her feet where there was no recipe, not oversimplifying the situation, openness to learning along the way, all the mean while creating transparency in plan and action, trying to be proactive, managing perceptions, and finally showing sensitivity and courage (Carroll & Hatakenaka). On May 22, 2010, Barbar Voulgaris arrived at the JIC to lead the inter-agency task of collecting, processing and disseminating accurate and timely information to the media. Reporting for her 60 day duty call, she walked into a situation that she described as “chaotic” and “insane”. Lacking structured hand-over or staffing protocols, Voulgaris was dumped into the situation without any turn-over

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