Ray Nagin's Speech: Effective or Ineffective leadership

Essay by lolu2000University, Master's October 2006

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After the incident of Hurricane Katrina that destroyed the American Gulf, the Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin was questioned and criticized by many whether he was an effective leader or not and whether he dealt with the emergency successfully or not. Many of his people saw that Nagin's speech was an example of an effective leadership while others didn't agree with that and refused the way he dealt with the situation as a whole. In this paper, I disagree with all the people that said: Ray Nagin was an effective leader. My opinion was generally based on the analysis of his personal traits that I perceived from his interview in the context of our book.


In chapter 1, Selznick said that the leader's function is "to define the ends of group existence, to design an enterprise distinctively adapted to these ends, and to see that the design becomes a living reality".

Also, studying the effectiveness of a leader, more emphasis should be placed on the outcomes of the total system, including the fulfillment of expectations held by followers. In the case of Katrina, Nagin failed to get control of the situation. He didn't succeed in helping his people and evacuating them when he was given the 2 days notice.

In chapter 3, Stogdill identified few personal traits that a leader should possess. I believe Nagin lacked few of these traits. He didn't have enough capacity to deal with the whole situation. The incident was difficult on everybody out there, but as a leader on behalf of New Orleans, he was not able to get control of things even on himself. He did not use his verbal facility in the proper manner. He used improper language all along the speech. He also lacked knowledge of things related to...