Leading in times of crisis

The leadership competencies that made a difference on Sept. 11
By Rachel Azzopardi
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 03/23/2002

It’s a chicken-or-egg kind of question. Which comes first — the leader or the leadership competencies? Although it is an old debate, it’s become a renewed topic of interest after Sept. 11.

That day, and during those that followed, employees were awash in fear and uncertainty. It was a time for corporate leaders to step up and show their mettle. The same is true in any crisis situation affecting staff. Sept. 11 provides examples of how leaders made a difference. Good leadership became essential if employees were return to work rather than remain home tuned to CNN.

But what type of leadership was needed? What were the leadership competencies that made the difference in motivating employees? And can these competencies be taught or are they inherent to the individual, like charisma?