The Crisis Leadership Forum spotlighted the significant role emergent leaders play in a disaster situations, when leadership systems and structures fail: “At the (Crisis Leadership) forum, we heard a lot of stories about people taking initiative and enacting leadership without authority. Formal constructs had been dismantled. Authority structures, infrastructure had gone away. Regular people who depended on those things found themselves without access to that, but leadership still had to happen,” said CCL Senior Fellow and forum participant Ellen Van Velsor, PhD.
Because incidents such as the Virginia Tech shooting unfold in a matter of minutes, staff members need to be prepared to operate well beyond the bounds of their official titles or roles. A staff and student body that is ready to lead can prevent possible catastrophes and save lives when a crisis occurs.