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Apollo 13- Leadership During a Crisis

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Apollo 13- Leadership during a crisis
Lessons learned from Gene Kranz

Introduction:
Every employee of NASA should known the tragic event of Apollo 13; At that time in 1970 the three astronauts James Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert had to abort their mission to flight to the moon due to an explosion of an oxygen tank. They had to fight against, carbon dioxide, coldness, a lack of energy and the almost certain death. Despite of a distance of 205,000 miles the three men made it back to earth alive in the Lunar Module Aquarius (Lovell et al. 2006). This was only possible with the help of the Mission Control and the Flight Director Gene Kranz which worked together as an excellent team and came up with a richness of ideas to save the lives of the astronauts. Although it was one of the darkest and most tragic missions of NASA, it also can be learned a lot from this crisis. Apart from the technical knowledge which has been obtained from Apollo 13, a lot of conclusion can be made for leaders. Even with the best technology, it would not have been possible to bring the crew home safely, if not such a strong leader like Gene Kranz have led to rescue of Apollo 13. What lessons can be learned from his leadership style and decisions for future NASA projects will be analyzed and explained from a psychological point of view in this report.

Recommendations for action:
In many NASA projects, it always comes back to stressful situations, where quick decisions must be made which have a decisive impact on the achievement of a task. Many managers often ask for advice how to act and behave in such situations, in order to achieve maximums results and be a good leader. A leader is a person that holds a dominant or superior position within its field, and is able to exercise a high degree of control or influence over others (Neuberger 2002). In order to be a good leader in

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