What Hurricane Katrina Can Teach Us About Leadership
Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour says politicians shouldn’t withhold bad news. People need to know so they can deal with it.
When Hurricane Katrina tore into the Gulf Coast states ten years ago, leadership was in as short supply as tarpaulins. President George W. Bush was excoriated for his inept handling of the crisis, as was Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans.
But in Mississippi, former Governor Haley Barbour, author of America’s Great Storm: Leading Through Hurricane Katrina received plaudits from all sides for his decisive, non-partisan leadership and political clout, which secured $24 billion in disaster relief from Congress. (Related: Protecting a New Generation of Poisoned Kids After Katrina.)
Talking from his home in Mississippi, he describes what Katrina taught him about leadership; explains how a new word, “slabbed,” was coined; and why he still stands by President Bush.