About the Crisis Leadership Forum

To better understand the leadership dimensions of crisis situations, the Center for Creative Leadership convened a forum with formal and emergent leaders who played a role in Hurricane Katrina. We overlaid this conversation between crisis leaders with the perspectives of discussants with expertise in disaster, terrorism, public health, and leadership. This blog site is intended to continue this conversation.

To read the report on the Crisis Leadership Forum, please click here.

To read CCL's Leading Effectively newsletter on the Forum, please click here.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Boundary-Spanning Leadership Needed for the Global Crises of our Age

It's been a tough year. TIME Magazine's list of the top news stories of 2009 is dominated by crises of all kinds: economic, political, security, and health.

What these crises have in common is that they spill across national borders and are well beyond the control of any single entity, no matter how large or powerful. How do we cope?

As we found in the Crisis Leadership Forum, there is need to create adaptable leaders at all levels who can better deal with uncertainty as well as build relationships across boundaries. CCL's Chris Ernst writes in Forbes that boundary-spanning leaders have a unique orientation:

"Rather than assuming boundaries to be barriers, truly collaborative leaders work best where boundaries intersect, overlap and bump up against one another. Boundary-spanning leaders bridge organizational and cultural divides; vertical and horizontal gaps; and stakeholder, demographic and geographic groupings. They thrive at finding innovative outcomes at the intersections where groups can work productively together."

Chris goes on to describe six leadership roles that are geared towards working across boundaries -- Conductor, Ambassador, Connector, Narrator, Mediator and Inventor. All of these are important in crisis preparedness and response. The more we can do to develop these capabilities in our ranks, and among leaders at large, the better we will be able to rise to meet the great challenges that are undoubtedly ahead in 2010.

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