The Federal Coach: Four leadership lessons from the oil-spill’s Adm. Thad Allen

The Gulf Coast oil spill has become one of the greatest environmental disasters this country has ever faced, and many are already blaming our federal government and its leaders for a failed response.

It’s appropriate to question our leaders — even in a crisis — but we should consider both facts and context before rushing to judgment. First, let’s consider the context. The federal government did not directly cause this disaster, though some are understandably examining whether regulation was too lax. Regardless, the federal government is the only entity who can bring the resources to bear to address this emergency.

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AJ Malik

Crucial lead­er­ship is even more impor­tant in times of uncer­tainty because it helps orga­ni­za­tions and peo­ple rise to the chal­lenges they face. Com­mu­ni­ca­tion is espe­cially impor­tant during cri­sis times because knowl­edge and infor­ma­tion is nec­es­sary to make informed deci­sions. I will also add agility, decisiveness, and inspiration to your list. Business agility is about strate­gic align­ment — chang­ing the way your orga­ni­za­tion behaves more quickly than ever before. There is a need to be able to respond to com­pet­i­tive pres­sures, reg­u­la­tions, legal rul­ings, mar­ket trends, eco­nomic move­ments, and more. When a project or a busi­ness enters cri­sis and crisis man­age­ment is called in, it’s deci­sive­ness that makes all the dif­fer­ence – and often the deci­sions made are those that could already have been made, which would have pre­vented the cri­sis in the first place. Inspi­ra­tion is about giv­ing peo­ple the abil­ity and desire to exceed expec­ta­tions.