For the past 50 years emergency management professionals have developed and honed incident command and management processes and protocols. Widespread adoption of consistent management structures, roles, and responsibilities has improved outcomes. Now, in the face of increasingly complex and frequent natural and man-made disasters, a similar commitment must be made to crisis leadership according to Eric J. McNulty, Associate Director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard. Leaders must attend to the human factors that improve or detract from performance within incident command and management frameworks.
McNulty recommends that leaders in emergency management focus on three factors to prepare their organizations, and the communities they serve, to succeed in a rapidly evolving threat environment: adaptive capacity, resilience, and trust.
Eric J. McNulty holds an appointment as Associate Director and Program Faculty at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI), a joint program of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Centre for Public Leadership at the Harvard School of Public Health. His work centers on leadership in high-stakes, high-stress situations. He is currently working on a book based no meta-leadership, the core leadership framework of the NPLI curriculum. McNulty is the principal author of the NPLI's case studies on leadership decision making in the Boston Marathon bombing response, innovation in the response to Hurricane Sandy, and the professional/political interface in the Deepwater Horizon response, drawing upon his firsthand research as well as extensive interviews with leaders involved in the responses.