Leadership, Public Values, and Trust in Emergency Management

Leadership, Public Values, and Trust in Emergency Management

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3194-4.ch004
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In today's environment, emergency managers get things done through team leadership. Good leaders know how to follow others when the situation calls for it. Being the right kind of leader is critical to getting committed and engage followers. The chapter argues that managers build trust into decision making during emergencies; when managers set up the right conditions for the team to thrive, it results a better outcome. The chapter further argues that when managers share information both up and down the chain of command and make their intention clear about what winning looks like, team members are able to use their own discretion and make decisions that support the mission. The chapter concludes that an effective expression of the manager's intent must be clear and concise of what the team must do to succeed and achieve the desired end state. The manager must build trust in decision making among the team to achieve better results.
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For two millennia at least, the concept of leadership has been in literature long before modern study of leadership grapple with the “vexing problem of the rulers versus the ruled” (Burns, 1979, p 2). Plato analyzed not only philosopher–kings, but the influences on the rulers upbringing. Thinkers were busy examining the concept of leadership in moral teaching. Long before modern biography, Plutarch was writing about the living of a host of Roman and Greek Rulers and orators, arguing that philosophers “ought to converse especially with men in power” (Burns, 1979, p. 2). Arish literature on leadership and followers flourished in the classical and middle ages. Later – for reasons we would examine in this chapter, the study of rulership and leadership ran into serious intellectual difficulties. Leadership as a concept has dissolved into small and discrete meanings. Immense reservoir of data, analysis and theories have developed but no central concept of leadership has yet emerged, in part because scholars have worked in separate disciplines and sub-disciplines in pursuit of different and often unrelated questions and problems.

Hence, it is time that the study of leadership be lifted out of the anecdotal and the eulogistic and placed squarely in the structure and processes of human development, public safety and political action (Burns, 1979). This is because leaders have a critical effect on society in the present and future. They can determine on the success or failure of a society, country and community.

The need for emergency or disaster management came to fore in Nigeria as a result of the impact of extreme natural disasters globally . There have been reports that natural disasters forced 26 million people into poverty, cause $520 billion loss annually (World Bank (2016); Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) (2016) .

Key Terms in this Chapter

Political Leadership: There is political leadership, which involves legislators, elected executives in the policy process such as presidents, governors, and mayors, and the various stakeholders in the political process.

Leadership: Leadership is often thought of as one and the same thing as management. We feel, however, that there is an important distinction between the two concepts. In essence, leadership is a broader concept than management.

Organizational Leadersip: There is organizational leadership, also known as bureaucratic or administrative leadership, primarily aimed at those leading and managing employees, programs, and organizations for the public good.

Emergency Management: Emergency management involves responding to and mitigating risks and those taking on leadership of organizations at these levels must know how to manage risks.

Public Values: Public values could refer to individually held values that focus on the welfare and just treatment of others. Such public values are not only endorsed collectively and ratified by government policy; they pertain to the welfare of someone other than oneself and also concerned about relationships in the society.

Management: Management is thought of as a special kind of leadership in which the achievement of organizational goals is paramount. The key difference between the two concepts, therefore, lies in the word organization. Leadership occurs anytime one attempt to influence the behavior of an individual or group, regardless of the reason. It may be for one’s goals or for those of others, and they may or may not be congruent with organizational goals.

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