first_imgAddThis Return to article. Long DescriptionA volunteer assists with recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey. Photo by Brandon Martin.During a crisis, leaders should engage actively with their constituents whenever possible, Dinh and Salas said. They noted that it’s also critical that they “make sense” of disaster by distinguishing critical issues from less pressing needs, communicating risks, and maintaining readiness. Throughout the crisis, leaders should remain accessible and open to new sources of information, and take care of their own needs when necessary and appropriate.The authors cited Lance Loken, CEO of real estate agency The Loken Group, as being an example of this “boots on the ground” engagement. “During Hurricane Harvey, he drove his pickup through the flooded waters to rescue stranded employees and their families,” the authors wrote.Another example of active engagement was the C-suite at Occidental Petroleum Corp., the authors said. When Harvey’s waters flooded their headquarters, executives used a company app and spreadsheet to track employees and contacted them to ensure their safety.Following a crisis, the article said, leaders should provide resources to help employees recover, including active assistance (such as providing emergency supplies, altering organizational policies, and offering extended leave for affected workers). They should also develop corporate social responsibility initiatives to help rebuild the community, and convey the narrative of the crisis sensitively.A good example of this was local businessman Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston, the article said. Shortly after Harvey hit, he demonstrated what the authors called “transformational strength.” Within hours, he opened the doors of his Houston-area furniture stores and converted the showrooms into makeshift shelters, housing people displaced by floodwaters. “His altruism and commitment generated goodwill among employees, established his company as a cornerstone of the community and cemented his place as one of Houston’s beloved leaders,” Dinh and Salas reported.The authors also recalled the corporations across the Gulf Coast that provided emergency supplies, housing and loans for repairs and even hired helicopters to deliver water to stranded employees. Just as important as these active efforts were more structural accommodations, the authors wrote. “Administrators modified existing organizational procedures to allow for proper recovery, including allowing leaves of absence for those affected by crisis,” Dinh and Salas wrote. “These multiple-pronged efforts underscored leadership’s advocacy for well-being, creating atmospheres of greater resilience.”Dinh and Salas said experience may be the greatest teacher of how to deal with crisis. “Individuals are more capable if they’ve weathered storms previously,” the authors said. “This is especially true for leaders in dangerous situations; followers are more likely to trust and respect superiors if they have already experienced trials by fire.”Dinh and Salas hope the research will provide important lessons for individuals preparing for, navigating or recovering from a crisis situation.-30-For more information, contact Amy McCaig, senior media relations specialist at Rice, at 713-348-6777 or [email protected] news release can be found online at” alt=”last_img” />

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