Dr. Leonard Marcus (left) shared insights with readers of Domestic Preparedness Journal into how the Meta-leadership framework has continued to evolve through field research, learning through customer engagements, and continual exploration of fields such as applied neuroscience.
The meta-leadership concept continues to evolve. The team learns both from research with leaders in the field as they prepare for and respond to crises as well as from participants in classes, workshops, and seminars. Fresh insights have been gathered by observing and interviewing leaders during and immediately after incidents, including: responses to the H1N1, Ebola, and Zika outbreaks; the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; the Hurricane Sandy landfall; and the Boston Marathon bombings. Many of these response leaders have completed meta-leadership training, providing opportunities to field test ideas and practices. Likewise, the research team has expanded, now including Eric McNulty, Richard Serino, and other researchers and faculty. With all that, the team has undertaken a “reboot” of the original concepts and their applications. Welcome to Meta-Leadership 2.0.
Meta-leadership was conceived as a conceptual framework and practice method particularly applicable to leaders expected to influence a wide range of stakeholders, including those over whom they have no direct authority. For example, during a large complex disaster, subject matter experts must persuade political officials and executives, the general public, as well as leaders of other organizations to achieve effective coordination and collaboration. The necessary connectivity of effort includes agencies across the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Since 2006, the degree of difficulty in accomplishing these linkages has increased; the threat environment has grown more complex; and the expectations of the public to ensure their safety and security has intensified. Leadership practices can explain many of the differences between response successes and disappointments.