It doesn’t matter where you are in the world, you will be aware of the devastating floods in Queensland Australia. The devastation caused by this act of Mother Nature is of biblical proportions and for the people involved, it is not only enduring the actual floods, it’s the recovery and the aftermath that will be with them for a long time yet.
Disasters can define a leader and you only have to look towards the then New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his actions during September 11 as a glowing example.
During periods of crisis and panic people look for direction, help, assistance. Anything that will help them to get through the shock, despair, loss and fear of a disaster and potential loss of life. They need to know what to do, where they should go, how and when. They need the communication, courage, conviction and decisiveness of true and strong leadership.
The leadership demonstrated by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh in this time of hardship for her people has been outstanding. So what has she been doing well? All the critical things that effective and strong leaders should be:
- She is communicating with clarity and compassion, consistently and constantly, to her people.
- People need a sense of calm and control in a time like this and through Ms Bligh’s communication style I believe they are receiving this from the highest level.
- Ms Bligh is ensuring, as best she can, that critical information is reaching people and where possible, effective planning is occurring. She is proving a sense of control. This is what her people need right now. This is what the relatives and friends and the general public need right now. We need to know what is happening. Technology and the extent of media coverage are on her side for sure, however she is driving this.
- She is leading a huge team in rescue, recovery and logistics of this disaster
- She is present, constantly, getting first hand information
- Ms Bligh is being decisive
- Anna Bligh is being real.
By all accounts, her popularity bank account was running low with her people prior to this disaster. There seems to be a noticeable swing as social media sites Twitter and Facebook are showing very favourable comments about the Queensland leader. Perhaps her efforts during this time will build her balance back up, who knows. People can be fickle and there is a long hard road ahead of her yet.
When the tides subside, the real toll on human life, animal life and property will be revealed, not to mention human emotions, Anna Bligh will need to continue to stand strong and lead her state back to normality once again. She is only at the start of her most critical leadership role. And if what she has demonstrated so far is anything to go by, she has the skills and the conviction to do this. She must.