We have studied crisis leadership for years. The Boston Marathon bombings brought the issue right to our backyard. We saw many instances of meta-leadership as well as the inevitable lessons to be carried forward to a future event.
We wrote about our observations of crisis leaders during the bombing response for HBR.org:
It is in difficult times like these that we are hungriest for leadership, for people who can restore order, find the perpetrators, organize the aftermath, and help us find meaning and common purpose. People are wounded, whether physically or emotionally. Even those who only watched the events on television can feel the effects. Leaders, too, are affected — they’re only human. But leadership moments come unexpectedly for each of us.
Dr. Leonard Marcus contributed his view of leadership performance and challenges as well as community resilience in a Harvard School of Public Health Forum — The Boston Marathon Bombings: Lessons Learned for Saving Lives that is available as an archive webcast:
This Forum event, focused primarily on the immediate aftermath of the bombings, revealed the sometimes surprising underpinnings of a successful emergency preparedness system and shared hard-won lessons applied and learned.
Insights will continue to be harvested from the many experts and participants in this event. As a city heals, the world will learn.