1 1 Social Element The social element of leadership is important in

Social Element
The social element of leadership is important in any field to be successful as a team and organization. Crisis leaders must harness these skills to effectively lead various groups of individuals through stressful times. Crisis leaders may not have interpersonal relationships with all members of the team. However, it is even more imperative that they find ways to forge strong connections that will result in mission success. This paper will explore the importance of the social element of crisis leadership, how leaders can empower others during the response and recovery phase, and how social media and crowdsourcing can provide solutions during a crisis.
Response and Recovery Empowerment
Communication is a social element that cannot be overlooked. Through clear and effective communication, leaders must be transparent, honest, and provide empathy (Abrams, 2020). Stakeholder involvement during the response of the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill was critical in providing innovative and effective solutions (Galvin, 2020). By providing results to various team leads of failed attempts to control the oil spill, BP would provide transparency and the need for more solutions from the team. Giving autonomy to team leaders to involve key stakeholders would generate stronger and more empowered teams. Stakeholders included state and government officials, researchers, advocates for the environment, and industry executives, all of whom had a common goal of rectifying the incident (Galvin, 2020). Involving these stakeholders and empowering team members to work with them would provide an opportunity to use methods that may have already been researched and proven successful.
Social Media
Social Media is a preferred communication method, and in the Gulf Coast Oil Spill case, there is much to look back on. Social Media is just that, public participation, reaction, and contribution to exchanging information (Starbird et al., 2015). In the case of BP, there was an opportunity to share the events and the impacts of the crisis in a transparent fashion. However, this was not the case. Evermore, are our communities, individuals, groups, and anyone with a cell phone, sharing their opinions and experiences with the world with a simple click of the button. Whom do leaders want to control the narratives?
The other aspect of social media can communicate during a crisis assisting in coordination and response. This type of community-based communication can attract people both in the sense of volunteering and community-based efforts to assist in times of crisis.
Social Media plays a crucial role in getting the timeliest information out to mass populations quickly. This communication ability can create windows for leaders in assisting them with better decision-making. Research also shows that digital volunteering can create avenues for better responses during crises and more stable resources (Starbird et al., 2015).
In the case of the BP Gulf Coast Oil Spill, there were failures in communication. They failed to control any conversation, and they have paid heavily for the lack thereof. In hindsight, there should have been a social media plan in place for a crisis such as this. BP took massive hits on every public media platform for the entire world to express opinion and outrage, and BP had no plan to handle this crisis (Pierce, 2011).
The lesson is this: be prepared to engage any audience on any media platform, create two-way communications and control the environment. The conversation focuses on those who can help and those who care about the conversation (Pierce, 2011). That same hindsight is key to prepping and building the Social Media crisis plan with the right team who has the right experience and knowledge to tackle communication in a crisis.
Crowdsourcing is one of the most vital aspects of a successful plan for a few reasons. The most important is that of information, and crowdsourcing allows for as much information as possible to reach team members. Crowd sourcing can be described as “the voluntary collection and dissemination of spatial information by individuals who often have little training or formal qualifications in the spatial sciences.”(Tavra, 2018). This allows the members of the team the ability to plan as effectively as possible, and with all the information available to them it also makes them far less likely to make mistakes. Not only is information vital in a crisis in general, but it is also vital that the information come forward in a timely manner.
When time is of the essence as it often is in a crisis, the use of the internet and the speed at which information can be gathered is a great advantage. Keeping a close eye on social media is the first step in crowdsourcing and using whatever is available to help the decision-making process. Knowing what areas are being affected by the crisis and which areas are experiencing greater issues helps to understand where the team needs to focus their efforts.
The social element of leadership becomes of paramount importance for the leadership team of a crisis scenario; not only to protect societies from potential dangers, but also to maintain support and to disseminate information in order to maximize the efficiency of the empowerment of followers regarding response and recovery to said crisis. Using techniques such as two-way communication on social medias, as well as crowdsourcing on social medias to spread vital information, crisis leaders can widely reach followers, improve response times, offer advice, and spread resources; in turn leading to a greater level of cohesion in response to the crisis, maximizing the efficiency and speed that the crisis situation can be eradicated.
Abrams, Z. (2020, July 1). Leadership in Time of Crisis. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/07/leadership-crisis#:~:text=Perhapsthemostessentialelement,includetransparencyhonestyandempathy
Aldrich, D. P. (2020, April 29). Social Capital in Disaster Mitigation and Recovery. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7A8m0zQ6T8
Galvin, M. (2020, April 20). Lessons From a Crisis. https://www.nationalacademies.org/news/2020/04/lessons-from-a-crisis
Pierce, C. (2011, April 22). Crisis communications: BP, Deepwater Horizon and social media. NJI. https://www.njimedia.com/crisis-communications-bp-deepwater-horizon-and-social-media/
Tavra, Marina, et al. “The Role of Crowdsourcing and Social Media in Crisis Mapping: A Case Study of a Wildfire Reaching Croatian City of Split – Geoenvironmental Disasters.” SpringerOpen, Springer International Publishing, 22 Apr. 2021, https://geoenvironmental-disasters.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40677-021-00181-3.