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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti


Leaders on the front lines?

A cloud of volcanic ash grounds European airlines and the chief executives of KLM and British Airways join their crews on test flights to show that it is safe to fly. What do these actions say about the importance of symbolic involvement by top leaders in responding to crises?

Posted by Steve Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti on April 20, 2010 4:47 AM
Columbia University students

Leaps of faith

Responding to a crisis such as the volcanic earthquake in Iceland takes more than a gut feeling.

Posted by Columbia University students, on April 21, 2010 2:07 PM

'Mission accomplished?'

Airline CEOs taking to the skies this week in test flights, like George Bush declaring 'mission accomplished' in 2003, was premature and dangerously distracting.

Posted by Amy Fraher, on April 21, 2010 1:56 PM
Robert Goodwin

Fly your leadership flag

Leaders are symbols themselves - and those most affected by disaster situations want to see the flag raised high.

Posted by Robert Goodwin, on April 21, 2010 1:42 PM
Col. Charles D. Allen

Hope for the future

On a day-to-day level, senior leaders may not impact us that much. But when crisis hits, senior leaders are the ones who can provide meaning and give hope.

Posted by Col. Charles D. Allen, on April 20, 2010 3:51 PM
Barry Salzberg

Quiet symbolism

Symbolism doesn't have to be dramatic, but it's a big factor in keeping a team together and getting results.

Posted by Barry Salzberg, on April 20, 2010 11:59 AM

What is humanly possible

In situations where fear can paralyze followers, leaders can make a difference when they simply take action.

Posted by West Point Cadets, on April 20, 2010 11:23 AM

Rising to the occasion

Leadership is as much about symbolism as about anything else. By taking part in these test flights, the CEOs of British Airways and KLM are letting passengers know that they are confident that air travel is safe again.

Posted by Yash Gupta, on April 20, 2010 10:43 AM

Receding airlines

It was Sy Sperling who showed what it meant to share risk with your customers: 'I'm not only the Hair Club president, I'm also a client.'

Posted by Coro Fellows, on April 20, 2010 5:55 AM
Ed O'Malley

Present, visible and empathetic

We know the CEOs aren't the ones running experiments on the ash, but we want them on that plane. We feel safer.

Posted by Ed O'Malley, on April 20, 2010 5:47 AM
Erika James

Not of their making

Perhaps working in the airlines favor more than symbolism is the fact that the crisis was not necessarily one of their own making.

Posted by Erika James, on April 20, 2010 5:38 AM
Marshall Goldsmith

Injecting his own vaccine

Jonas Salk injected himself with the polio vaccine to show the world that he truly believed it was safe. He lived his commitment.

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith, on April 20, 2010 5:22 AM
Scott DeRue

The undercover bosses

By showing that they are not above the crisis, but rather in the crisis with everyone else, KLM's Hartman and British Airways' Walsh are being the not-so-undercover bosses that everyone wants.

Posted by Scott DeRue, on April 20, 2010 5:16 AM
John Baldoni

Crazy Horse in action

Every organization should be so fortunate as to be led by men and women who know how to lead from the front.

Posted by John Baldoni, on April 20, 2010 5:10 AM
George Daly

Personal committment

It is extremely important for leaders to demonstrate their personal commitment to an uncertain path they propose pursuing.

Posted by George Daly, on April 20, 2010 5:06 AM
Paul R. Portney

Live in Happyville

Putting one's money where one's mouth is is not only good common sense; it might also form the basis for good corporate and perhaps even regulatory policy.

Posted by Paul R. Portney, on April 20, 2010 5:01 AM

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