When CEOs and other business executives need to look for an example of a leader, they have a role model in a distant Chilean mine, with Luis Urzua, the 54-year-old shift supervisor whose skills kept trapped men alive until the rescue was complete.
The New York Times reported that he organized their work assignments, helping to map the path of their rescue hole and insisted that the miners waited until everyone got food through the narrow borehole to the surface before anyone could eat. Urzua also exited the mine last.
In Business Management Daily, Scott Eblin says that wisely Urzua did not take on every leadership duty. The oldest, Mario Gomez, attended to the men’s spiritual and mental health. Yonny Barrios took the lead on ensuring the physical health of the crew, administering health screenings on behalf of the doctors above ground.
Jena McGregor writing in The Washington Post said that many people who hold a manager’s title are technically skilled, or may be more senior than others, or played all the right political games to achieve their position, but that hardly means they can rally a team of hungry, anxious men fighting for their lives in a cramped, dark, hot space half a mile below the earth. Urzua appears to have taken full responsibility amid the crisis, offering his colleagues order, structure and emotional support at a time when many would be fearing for their lives. A title may make someone a manager, but it takes a crisis to make a leader, McGregor says.