Apr 18

You Are The Leader That Deals With A Crisis..Others Depend On Your Responses

The tragedy in Boston on April 15 reminds us that danger is a hidden facet of our personal and professional lives that is waiting to strike and cause havoc.  The Boston tragedy was unfortunately not an isolated disaster and as you well know, has become an issue in public schools.  Along with learning and developing as adolescents, our students have had the violence of the streets and their larger communities come into the  schools. Our schools used to be bastions of safety and now teachers and building leaders take on the added burden of safety precautions raised  to new levels.

Few of us have had to deal with the  aftermath of school violence as seen in recent months.  When it happens, you are the leader to whom everyone, your staff, your school parents, your community and your law enforcement officials will turn to for leadership; in other words, being in charge. At that time, all of the drills, practices, paperwork identifying what you have in place for preparedness will be useless if you do not act decisively.  How you will act will determine how your staff and the community view your ability to resolve a crisis.  In a recent blog in the Harvard Business Review  , “When We’re Hungriest for Leadership,” by Eric McNulty, Leonard Marcus and Barry Dorn, the authors use the Boston tragedy as a demonstration by the community of leaders as a success with respect to their quick response and efforts to assist all victims.

In the HBR blog, the authors identify two types of crises. “Every crisis is potentially two crises,” they write, “the original event and the response to the incident. When leadership remains calm and composed, they can help avoid turning the reaction to the crisis in to a secondary disaster.”  As building leaders, principals need to respond in this manner and with all of your planning and procedures set in place, even a surprise crisis needs your focus and a quick, authoritative response to deal with it and it only.

If you would like to read the remainder of this blog, please go to http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/04/when_were_hungriest_for_leadership.html