Leadership Lessons from Katrina

Debra L. Bruce, JD, PCC.

Together Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita brought destruction and chaos to much of the Gulf Coast. In every situation, however, there are lessons and gifts. Here in Houston as a Katrina volunteer at the Astrodome/Reliant Park, I received the gift of watching leadership lessons demonstrated before my eyes.

Usually the impact of our leadership style plays out gradually over time, and we are not able to easily distinguish which variables caused the results we received. In the time-compressed atmosphere of the Katrina relief effort, however, we had the benefit of something like time-lapse photography. We could see strangers form work teams that either dissolved into dysfunction or developed an efficient rhythm despite the rapidly changing environment.

I will briefly describe the leadership keys I observed that worked.
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