Hawaii False Alarm – Leadership Lessons

It is amazing to me.  As I heard about the Hawaii false alarm, it struck me how there was a lack of leadership in addressing the fall out from the gross error.  How could this have happened?  How could it been avoided?  Well, from the response after the error, I can tell you one thing–there is a huge absence of leadership.

Here are two things that leaders can take from the response of this situation.

  1. Accountability.  Leaders hold themselves accountable.  They hold others accountable.  It is a basic tenet of leadership.  Well, when you look at his situation, who has been held accountable?  Nobody!  In fact, the responsible person was reassigned.  Not fired.  Reassigned.  It takes 2 button clicks to send out the email/text messages.  The second button click states “Are you sure do you want to broadcast this message?”  This was not a simple mistake.  It was gross negligence.  Reassigning the responsible individual is NOT leadership.  It is passing the buck.
  2. Lack of Trust.  During the Hawaii false alarm, how do the citizens of Hawaii feel with their emergency response team?  Did you see the person in the press conference?  His demeanor came across as “Ahh..the person made a mistake.  Nothing to she here.”  Well..when I here that people were calling their loved ones saying their last good byes, that representative’s response simply does not cut it.  Would you trust that leader?

Leaders be accountable.  Take responsibility.  Display a sense of urgency and the buck stops here mentality.  Don’t show a laissez-fairre attitude.  Do not lose the trust levels of others.  Once trust is lost in your abilities, you have lost everything.  When the “rubber hits the road”, your actions and response will impact the trust and confidence levels that others have in you.  Do not lose that.  These are the important lessons from this fiasco.

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