Leadership and crisis management

Crises of all kinds require action quickly but with awareness . The situations of urgency and emergency quickly bring up the theme of leadership and its relationship with the managerial function .

If in common language management and leadership are often used interchangeably, more specific reading has long been shared in science .

Leadership and management: what are the differences?

The management is to be considered as the “pursuit of goals organizational through of ‘use formal authority ” while the leadership is a ” relationship of influence ” that can also transcend the formal role .

Normally, constructive leadership is characterized by recognition by followers, who perceive their ability to create a future- oriented vision combined with honest attention to people.

According to some researchers, while management is, by its nature, conformist and oriented towards stability and maintenance of the status quo. Leadership tends to change , not in form or slogans but in the concreteness of redesigning the future.

A bit of history

Looking at the history of leadership studies , a number of key steps emerge :

  • The loss of credibility of the initial studies that sought the typical traits of the “great man” (often also characterized by stereotypes, not least that of gender)
  • The first evolution declined on the theme “situation” (started by Lewin in 1939 3 culminating in the theories of Blake and Mouton in 1964)
  • The contemporary focus on the concept of transaction and transformation (from the proposals of Burns 1978 onwards), with a strong attention to the issue of the relationship between the phenomenon of leadership and that of membership

We note a convergence , or rather the credibility of the leadership (or leader) derived from behaviors that concretely favor empowerment and participation .

In practice, organizational studies in recent years have unfortunately often observed a loss of credibility for managers , a reduction in the duration of leaders’ recognition by followers, and an overall trend towards growing distrust .

Team working to face the difficulties

A situation like the one we have experienced and are experiencing can bring out the most varied situations , some more participatory, others more managerial. In both cases it may be useful to remember the contributions of Quaglino (2004) on the topic of power and its potential toxicity.

In many companies, emergency management has been optimal . Often, this result has depended on the creation of cohesive working groups which, even if in a remote version , are able to converge information and skills , then taking responsibility for making collective decisions . Are teams therefore the most suitable form of management for the changed situation? Probably yes, but paying attention to the topic of group dynamics , especially in the medium term.

Watch out for illusions

As early as 1972 Janis showed the existence of distortion phenomena potentially present in high cohesion groups . Symptoms such as the illusion of invulnerability , the illusion of morality, the presence of shared negative stereotypes , the creation of collective pseudo-rationalizations, phenomena of self-censorship and collective pressure to conformism must be caught as soon as possible. Especially the groups that have effectively managed situations of great difficulty could be subtly affected.

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