Lead Forecaster John Elardo was honored as the first recipient of the WFO Newport/Morehead City Leadership Award. Leadership can occur at any level in the organization and "leading up" is a desired characteristic of people in the National Weather Service. John’s story illustrates the “leading up” principle. "Leading up" isn't always understood. However, it isn't much different than any other leadership actit relies on the integrity, honesty, credibility and the reputation of the person doing the leading
“Execution” and accountability are the keystones to an office meeting the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Goals and the saving of lives and property. Weather and water warnings must be issued in a timely manner in order for protective measures to be taken. Situational awareness is the cornerstone a successful warning program. When situational awareness is lost or compromised, “Execution” suffers.
In the spring of 2005, a coastal flood event affected the Outer Banks. The event began as a severe weather event and transitioned into a soundside coastal flood event. Forecasters on duty did a good job with the severe weather but since they were concentrating on severe weather, they lost situational awareness as far as coastal flooding was concerned.
John Elardo was the Lead Forecaster during the event. John conducted a post event service analysis and came to the conclusion that a lack of situational awareness resulted due to an over concentration by the staff on severe weather.
Honest self introspection is at the core of self improvement. It is a trait of a leader. John’s analysis of the event and actions taken during the event led John to the conclusion that the staff as a whole was losing situational awareness at key times. John created a presentation that he delivered at a staff meeting documenting his analysis and conclusions. He made three key recommendations that have included in the station duty manual concerning coastal flood events. But John wasn’t done.
John met with the MIC and discussed his recommendations. He also suggested that the office look into reinventing itself and suggested we form an office team to devise a new concept of operations. The team is currently working on a new concept of operations for the office.
John’s actions demonstrated several key leadership traits. Through his actions and initiative WFO MHX is moving towards a better way of doing business, or “executing” our mission. He has demonstrated that leadership does not have to happen only at the highest level in an office or organization. Leadership can be exercised from any level in an organization. John’s honest self evaluation of the events that occurred during the flooding event led John to some important conclusions that will serve the staff of MHX well in the future.
John’s attitude and actions clearly serve as an excellent example of the leadership traits that are expected from a true leader. Congratulations John!