Leader Effectiveness In Hurricane Katrina Management Essay

Hurricane Katrina was the very disastrous and most damaging Atlantic storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane period (Herman, 2006). It was the priciest natural catastrophe, plus one of the five deadly hurricanes, to have ever happened in the history of the United States of America (Moynihan, 2008). Amongst documented Atlantic hurricanes, it was rated the sixth toughest overall. More than 1,800 people lost their lives in the hurricane and subsequent overflows. Hurricane Katrina was the deadliest United State hurricane from the time when the 1928 Okeechobee storm occurred. Total assets damage was valued at $80 billion, which is equivalent to 2005 USD.

Hurricane Katrina originated from Bahamas on August 23, 2005 and traversed southern Florida by means of a modest Category 1 hurricane; bring about some losses and flooding there before consolidating quickly in the Gulf of Mexico (Moynihan, 2008). Hurricane Katrina reinforced to a Category 5 hurricane above the warm Gulf water, however, it destabilized before forming its second arrival as a Category 3 storm on the dawn of August 29 in southeast part of Louisiana.

It caused very severe damage lengthways the Gulf shoreline from central Florida to Texas, considerably owing to the storm swell. Substantial amount of losses occurred in Louisiana, which swamped like the embankment system disastrously failed, in numerous cases hours subsequently the storm had relocated inland (Moynihan, 2008). At the end of the day, more than 80% of the city and huge tracts of adjacent neighborhoods became swamped, and the floodwaters remained for weeks. Nevertheless, the nastiest property destruction befell in coastal areas, for example all Mississippi beachfront municipalities, which were swamped above 90% in hours, as boats and casino surges bumped buildings, pushing houses and cars inland, with waters getting 6-12 miles, equivalent to 10-19 km from the seashore.

Leader Effectiveness in Hurricane Katrina

Leadership and disaster are closely interlinked phenomena. Control is a vital characteristic and ability that is essential for effective management and rescue from a crisis state. Leaders are the elementary construction block of leadership.

Leaders and groups participate in a dynamic association focused on the arrangement and accomplishment of professional, personal, and structural mission (Gaertner, 2006). The vigorous interpersonal affiliation between a frontrunner and follower comprise of a jointly desirable set of activities to realize a structural mission. Management is segregated from leadership grounded on the occupational skills of controlling, planning, leading, establishing, and inspiring (Gaertner, 2006). Leadership is well-thought-out a constituent of management, but management is not the inclusive term that captures the principle of leadership.

Any Leader in the affected areas during Hurricane Katrina could have been more effective in this crisis situation in the following ways:

Leaders should have effectively reacted to mass emergencies in a critical way. It is the role of a leader to be equipped with very high level of planning, organization and dispatch among diverse units that should respond to the emergencies. Driven mainly by concerns of disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the reorganization should be designed to strengthen leaders’ ability to address the impacts of both natural and artificial disasters. Leaders should have ensured that reorganized system did not fail during Hurricane Katrina emergency. This is due to the fact that, Katrina exposed that much remains to be done by leaders in order to fully take care of various disasters.

An effective leader should have instituted investigation of the measures for and response to Hurricane Katrina immediately the hurricane’s landfall on the Gulf Coast. This would have prevented tragic loss of life and human suffering during Hurricane Katrina. A leader should have also ensured that there were no obvious failures in governments’ crisis preparedness and reaction (Gaertner, 2006). This would have helped in intensifying national consciousness of the dangers of all sorts of disasters. Generally, this would have effectively helped in addressing this crisis of Hurricane Katrina in a big way.

Leaders should have also conducted far-reaching planning and preparation for disasters, and put that planning into use when Hurricane Katrina disaster struck. They should have relocated material assets and persons out of destruction’s way as the storm loomed. They should have also kept them near enough to the forward-facing lines for speedy response after storm passed. Leaders should have been in front-line in order to make decisions whenever they required to be made.

Leader Style to Have Been Adapted in the Circumstances

Leadership conduct results from the internal selves of a leader. This leadership distinctive comprises the leadership qualities of values, beliefs, ethics, knowledge, character and skills. Gaertner (2006) suggested that a leader requires five main leadership abilities. These five headship skills are predating, value-congruence, visioning, self-understanding and empowerment skills. A leader could have adapted the following leadership style in order to react to the needs of the organic and mechanistic structures involved in dealing with this situation of Hurricane Katrina:

Charismatic-Transformative Leadership

This is a kind of leadership in which charismatic leader employs personal qualities to entice others toward their anticipated goal. Charismatic frontrunners are dominant, have a resilient desire to inspire others, confident, and uphold a resilient sense of one’s own ethical values (Bengtson, 2005). They arouse supporter intentions such as the power, need for affiliation or self-esteem. Appealing leader attempts to convert the supporter’s self-concept and align the follower’s cooperative goals and individuality with that of the association (Bengtson, 2005). This kind of leadership would therefore been very important in reacting to the need of organic and mechanistic structures involved in dealing with this situation of Hurricane Katrina. Leaders should have adapted to this kind of leadership in order to effectively handle the situation of Hurricane Katrina.

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A transformative leader on the other hand inspires supporters to go above and outside the job related anticipations to achieve predictable results (Bengtson, 2005). This kind of a leader is considered to influence supporters to their fullest potential. Transformational headship involves of four factors: inspirational motivation, charisma or idealized influence, individualized consideration and intellectual stimulation. Attractiveness is a crucial component of transformative management. Charismatic-transformative control inspires cliques to extend their conducts beyond instant self-interest to warrant the positive retrieval of an organization (Bengtson, 2005). Features of the charismatic transformative frontrunner have been recognized as appropriate with crisis leadership. This therefore means that, any leader should have adopted this kind of leadership style during the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. It is through this leadership style that leaders would have been able to influence their supporters in order to make the work very hard toward realization of their goal, effectively dealing with the impact of Hurricane Katrina.

Emergent Leadership

Emergence is huge changes that take place within a state of affairs (Bengtson, 2005). Throughout the process of emergence a scheme of influence develops. A system of inspiration determines acknowledged practices and arrangements of conduct that are satisfactory. Emergence is pondered to occur inside a life cycle progression (Bengtson, 2005). The first phase of emergence comprises networking and linking with other persons. The second phase involves of the understanding of a benefit to work organized in groups. This system of inspiration and expansion of teams working organized toward a common task, purpose or objective is characteristic of management. Therefore, emergent leadership swells the initial definition of leadership.

For a leader to arise, the leader need be observed by the group be a frontrunner. Garau (2007) acknowledged that the fundamental to emergent headship is an extraordinary level of trust and self-reliance in the leader. Additionally, the emergent leader is labeled as being participative in their management style. An emergence leader is who endeavor to uphold the organizations and processes of the structural system in a vigorous and changing atmosphere for example a crisis situation.

Leadership Styles and Crisis

The exploration of leadership throughout a crisis situation comprises the exploration of the leader’s language and messages conversed. Garau (2007) steered a textual scrutiny of President Bush’s pre- and post-crisis speech-making subsequently the 9/11 crisis to conclude if crisis leaders adjust their message in the course of and after a crisis. From this research and many other done to determine the affiliation between different leadership style and crisis, these were the findings:

Charismatic leaders were acknowledged as operative crisis leaders. This is a kind of leadership in which charismatic leader employs personal qualities to entice others toward their anticipated goal (Garau, 2007). This study found out that, group performance during crisis depends on leadership style of a particular leader. Charismatic leadership was seen to be the best in handling crisis. This therefore means that, this kind of leadership ought to have been used in dealing with Hurricane Katrina.

The emergent leadership in the course of Hurricane Katrina was recognized to release bundles of potential; learning at a quick rate, figuring out solutions, making speedy decisions, and evolving new proficiencies during a chaotic crisis with extraordinary uncertainty (Garau, 2007). This leadership style was the best to have been used in dealing with that horrific storm of Hurricane Katrina and the in repairing the damage and the loss caused by Hurricane Katrina.

Implications Does a Certain Leadership Style Have in an Emergency Management

Different leadership styles have different implications on emergency management. The following are therefore leadership styles and the implication they had to this real life crisis of Hurricane Katrina:

Task-Oriented Leadership

Task-oriented leaders concentrates solitary on getting the work done and can be tyrannical. They vigorously define the work and the starring role necessary, put arrangements in place, and strategy, organize, and observer work. These frontrunners also do other crucial tasks, such as creating and upholding principles for performance. This kind of leadership ensures that goals are met, and it is especially beneficial for group members who do not fare their time well.

This kind of leadership style has very strong positive implications in dealing with the crisis of Hurricane Katrina. Concentration on getting work done and done timely was the main thing that leaders were focusing on. This therefore is the leadership style that could be very effective in handling the damages and loses caused by Hurricane Katrina and in attending to emergency management.

People-Oriented/Relations-Oriented Leadership

With people-oriented management, leaders are entirely focused on supporting, organizing, and developing the individuals on their groups. This leadership is a participatory style and has a tendency to inspire good collaboration and creative partnership.

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The advantage of this management style is that people-oriented frontrunners form teams that each person wishes to be part of. Group members are habitually more productive and keen to take risks, since they recognize that the leader will offer backing if they need it.

The implication that this leadership would have in crisis management is that it would bring people together who would be willing to take part in the task being undertake. This leadership style would have been very efficient in the recovery effort. This is due to the fact that the leader would have created a tendency to inspire good collaboration and creative partnership with the locals of the affected areas. This leadership style would have ensured that the recovery mission and emergency management were being carried out efficiently.

Transactional Leadership

This management style begins with the idea that group members decide to obey their leader when they take a job. It usually encompasses the organization remunerating team participants in return for their determination and obedience (Herman, 2006). The leader has a right to penalize group members if their effort doesn’t meet an applicable standard.

During Hurricane Katrina, this kind of leadership could have been used to recruit worker who would have worked in the recovery mission. Paying them would have motivated them to work hard in crisis management. The provision of punishment to the group members would also force people to work efficiently thus helping in efficient emergency management. This therefore would raise the standard of work being done.

Multidisciplinary Approach

A multidisciplinary tactic to problem solving encompasses drawing appropriately from numerous disciplines to redefine difficulties outside of usual boundaries and reach resolutions based on a novel empathetic of complex situations.

Leader’s intervention did demonstrate a multidisciplinary approach while dealing with emergency management. Hurricane Katrina was the very disastrous and most damaging Atlantic storm, it caused extensive damage. Because of this, leaders had to use various means to deal with all sorts of bad thing resulted from this deadly storm.

Multidisciplinary approach was being used when leaders used appropriately means of emergency management from numerous disciplines to redefine difficulties outside of usual boundaries and reach resolutions. Leaders were able to go outside what the disaster management had prepared for. The looked for help from other international agency, used experts from different fields in order to deal with that complicated issue of Hurricane Katrina.

Political and Ethical Considerations Impact to Leader’s Actions and Decisions

Political Consideration

While leaders engage in making decisions, first and foremost, they must ponder political structure where they are functioning. Depending on the authority entrusted in a certain post and the significance of political and public agreement in the nation in question. Other factors such as personality, rationality, international administrations also hold inspiration on the leaders. Nevertheless, they can also be cooperated by the political atmosphere, again subject to the kind of structure practiced. The political atmosphere of a country comprises all regulations, government agencies, and petitioning groups that control or restrict individuals or groups in the society.

Leaders while dealing with the issue of Hurricane Katrina, their decisions highly depended on the political arrangements of the areas affected by this deadly storm. They always considered all regulations, government agencies, and petitioning groups that control or restrict individuals or groups in the society. This was very important to ensure that no rule was violated while conducting emergency management during Hurricane Katrina.

Ethical Consideration

There are five ethical scenarios that any leader should shy away from. They include: jeopardizing the physical environment, bribery, personal gain, lying, and favoritism. Leaders who were involved really considered ethical guidelines. Thus, no cases of the above mentioned ethical vices were reported. Ethical consideration was very important while making decision during this crucial moment of emergency management during Hurricane Katrina. It is through observing ethical guideline that leaders were able to make proper decisions.

Information and Public Safety

Information has always played a significant starring role in the public safety domain. The proficiency of exchanging information e.g., voice or data is vital to improve the coordination of public safety in the course of an emergency crisis. Wireless communications are principally significant in field processes to support the mobility of first responders.

During Hurricane Katrina, information management was a key thing to the leaders (White, 2012). Any information released during that time of crisis, would have resulted into varied impacts to the victim of Hurricane Katrina.

There was strategic ways of releasing information to the members of the public. For example, need-to-know and selective information release plays a very role in the leader’s ability to protect the public. In need-to-know information release, leaders released information that were very crucial to the affected people, information that leaders thought people needed to know. In selective information release, leaders only released information which was only important to the affected people. This therefore helped in enhancing leader’s ability to protect the members of the public.

Impact of Media

Media is of great importance during domestic and international crises. There is a recognized supremacy of media during times of crisis. More lately, the Internet and social media played a significant role in spreading updates about the earthquake in Haiti and administrative revolution in Egypt. The same case happened in United State in which media played a very major role in spreading news about the Hurricane Katrina.

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Hurricane Katrina, media increased the role of disasters and emergency reaction. Media played very crucial role in reuniting families in the aftermath of the Hurricane Katrina (White, 2012). It is media which provided most of the highly needed information to the victims. Media was also used for seeking for help from different sides of the world. Generally, media played a very crucial role in this major crisis of Hurricane Katrina.

Personal Leadership Style and Actions I Would Have Done Differently

Visionary Leadership Style

This style would be most appropriate when looking for a new direction while dealing with the emergency. This would help in setting people free to experiment, innovate and take calculated risks.

This kind of leadership style would help in achieving goals that would appear very hard to be achieved. This would help in speeding up the recovery effort and also increasing efficiency in dealing with this crisis of Hurricane Katrina.

Affiliative Leadership Style

Since this style stresses in the significance of team work, and generates harmony in a group by joining people to each other.

This tactic would be valuable when trying to intensify team harmony, improve communication, increase morale, or repair ruined trust in the disaster management during Hurricane Katrina. This would have increased the efficiency of the work done in the recovery activities. It would also raise the standard of work done in emergency management.

New Ideas to Be Introduced For Leaders to Be Able to Adapt Their Leadership Style to Similar Circumstances

Clear Role Allocation

There should be simplicity in roles of diverse leaders in disaster management. Leaders should know their ability and limitations. There should be no replication of roles. While dealing with a similar circumstance, leaders should know where they should contribute and where they should look for specialists.


There should be a very appropriate networking of different leaders. This will offer them improved understanding of powers and weaknesses of every single one and will also safeguard proper harmonization of efforts in addition to avoiding duplication.

Proper Communication Styles

Communication styles of a leader must be tailored toward the requirements of a particular group. This means that, communication approaches may need to vary, for instance, when releasing information to a certain group of people. Proper Communication Styles should be used depending with the kind of information to be passed or depending with the recipients.

Annotated Bibliography

1. Bengtson, T. (2005). Crisis management: Preparation and focus on people are key to making

good decisions. The Financial Review, 10(1), 17-19.

This article brings out the important of official organization frontrunners during a crisis. The article also provides information on the reasons why leaders were incompetent in decisions making, providing idea, direction and leadership.

2. Gaertner, S. (2006). Institutional Discrimination, Individual Racism, and Hurricane Katrina.

Analyses of Social Issues and Public Policy, 6(1), 99-124.

This article scrutinizes the role leadership used during Hurricane Katrina crisis. It also describes the issues of discrimination and its contribution to poor leadership during the Hurricane Katrina crisis. This article is a very good source for this research since it discusses the impacts of poor strategy on crisis management.

3. Garau, R. (2007). Stepping Into the Void. Reflections and insights from a forum on Crisis

Leadership convened at the Center for Creative Leadership, pp. 50-76.

This paper discusses the leadership roles during crisis and impacts of lack of enhancement on leadership capacity to the large scale devastation. It is a reliable source to the study because it unties existing leadership capacity and structures. It also brings out the roles of an individual; group and public leadership this crisis.

4. White, H. (2012). Federal Response To Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learnt. Retrieved

from http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/whitehouse/katrina/katrina-lesns-chap5.pdf

This article provides important information about critical encounters that faced leadership during Hurricane Katrina. They includes: communications, national preparedness to natural disasters, logistics and evacuation guidelines, public communications, community preparedness, conflicting information about the situation and search and rescue.

5. Herman, L. (2006). Katrina and the Core Challenges of Disaster Response. The Fletcher

Forums of World Affairs, 30(1), 215-222.

This article outlines the high level of feebleness that leadership and emergency officers. It provides reference to organic structure and mechanistic issues that leaders failed to adopt in terms of mitigation, readiness, reaction and rescue in the crisis affected areas.

6. Moynihan, D. (2008). The Response to Hurricane Katrina. International Risk Governance

Council, 1-11.

This article is about all the stakeholders who were involved in the recovery mission from the administration and private sectors. This article is very important to in providing information on leadership challenge. Through this article, one is able to understand the influence of political and ethical considerations decisions making during crisis.

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