Question: You are heading the rescue operations in an area affected by severe natural calamity. Thousands of people are rendered homeless and deprived of food, drinking water and other basic amenities. Rescue work has been disrupted by heavy rainfall and damage to supply routes. The local people are seething with anger against the delayed limited rescue operations. When your team reaches the affected area, the people there heckle and even assault some of the team members. One of your team members is even severely injured. Faced with this crisis, some team members plead with you to call off the operations fearing threats to their life.
In such trying circumstances, what will be your response? Examine the qualities of a public servant which will be required to manage the situation.
Answer:The above incidence is fairly common in cases where public anger reaches its zenith. Such case requires better management skills by the official which can complete the given task without being the victim of public anger.
Qualities required for managing situation
- Emotional Intelligence
The official needs to keep his temper in control. He must not allow his emotions get between his duty. When all these conditions are fulfilled, he/she can handle the situation better.
The official must be able to understand the emotional aspect of the incident and be sympathetic to their cause. By being empathetic, he/she can convince the public to co-operate with the authorities. This can also prevent unruly behaviour by public or other officials towards each other.
- Leadership Skills
Tough situation tests the leadership qualities that an official possess. He/she must not only be a task master but must also be ready to indulge in the work and lead the team. This will motivate his/her subordinates.
My course of action
- The safety of the public as well as the official is the first priority. Considering the injury of the official, he/she can be sent back for the treatment, but calling off the operation is out of the question.
- I will try to reduce the public anger by convincing them to co-operate. For this I will talk with the community elders and tell them the reason for the delay and will promise to provide all assistance.
- Once the community members are convinced and team of officials are safe, then the operation can be continued. This will require my indulgence too.
- I will start the basic operation which requires urgent implementation, starting with transferring affected to safe place and providing them with basic items like food, water, medicine, clothes etc.
- A back up team containing professional disaster management experts will be sought as fast as possible. Till the weather improves, me along with the officials will stay with the community for taking care of the needs as well as a symbolic gesture of support.
Thus, the situation will require a calm and composed mind which can not only ensure support to the needy but also will protect subordinates from public fury.