Nothing Prepares You for Leadership in a Disaster

 How You Do One Thing Is How You Do Everything

Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash

When Mother Nature strikes her blows can be catastrophic. What was once a sleepy arts community becomes a disaster zone. Floodwaters rising to historic proportions as five-foot raging water ripped through homes and businesses. Objects becoming buoyant as mud waters rushed into structures destroying everything with its wake.

As you arrive at the scene best described as your worst nightmare, something internally clicks. Your responsiveness and assertive direction kicking in. The body and mind operating on autopilot. Emotional shock and awe are suppressed as you rise to the occasion and lead.

A meditative calming overrides your consternation. Your thoughts and actions become focused. Stepping into the driver’s seat you embrace the challenge and become a leader.

Leaders lead, followers follow and some people are over-wrought with anxiety and fear. Frozen within this moment. Helpless and panicked. 

Observance of the wreckage it appears overwhelmingly impossible the normalcy of life can continue. Worldly possessions and property waterlogged and filthy. 

Victims of the disaster look tattered, beaten, and defeated. Looking to you, to anyone to assist. To guide. To help. Often the victims are leaders that at this moment can’t lead.

Leaders assembly a calvary of compassionate followers. Willing to help in any way humanly possible. Grabbing shovels and brooms, distributing water and food. Providing shoulders for the misfortunate victims to cry. 

Selfless able bodies arrive, called to action by sympathy and desire to help. Ready, willing, and able to help restore civility. Awaiting orders so that they assist.

A police chief arrives calming the situation and directing people to safety. Trucks full of supplies arrive, dispatched by leaders that determined they were needed. Chaos becomes order as natural-born leaders quickly make decisions. 

Leaders aren’t born, they are created. Leaders will lead when nobody else can. Leaders lead and leaders concede when another leader assigns direction.

Scanning the situation I counted not one leader, but hundreds. A football coach marching his team of strong able body players into the toughest game. The game of life. These boys are being crafted to become future leaders, carrying heavy saturated furniture from people’s homes into the streets. Shoveling mud and sludge.

 Picking up the phone I called every leader I could think of. People I knew that naturally can assemble a team of followers that would assist in reversing the disaster. Those leaders would yield to my direction, hang up the phone and proceed to lead. Assembling and directing. 

Leaders are not born, they are created. Leaders lead and leaders concede. Leaders provide comfort and compassion. Leaders make tough decisions and selflessly right the wrongs. It’s how you live your life and what you do every day that will make you a great disaster leader.

“When the best leader’s work is done the people say, We did it ourselves.” Lao Tzu

Author: mtcwriter

Michael Competielle is a Creative Designer specializing in Sound, Brand and Experiential Design.

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