The term \u201cdisaster recovery\u201d has an oddly impersonal meaning in the computer industry. When IT people use those words, they\u2019re usually talking about recovering data and restoring business operations\u2014not about the human response to catastrophe.\n \n Yet disasters such as floods, earthquakes or even nuclear accidents quickly rewrite the rules of the recovery process, as the senior IT executives interviewed for our cover story (\u201cHow to Be a Better Leader in a Disaster\u201d) agree. They each discovered how much personal leadership matters in helping the people around them cope during real crises. While we may think of first responders as police or emergency workers, in the workplace, the CIO and IT team are among the initial responders, tasked with restoring the business\u2019s most essential systems. \n \n Those expectations pile on more pressure in a situation that may already feel out of control. Throughout our story, IT leaders who\u2019ve managed through various calamities share practical tips and advice (see \u201c4 Steps to Help Your IT Team When Disaster Strikes\u201d), always with an emphasis on tending to people\u2019s needs first. \n \n Lon Anderson, vice president of corporate IT at ICF International, says his experiences during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 actually changed his leadership style. \u201cI did have a strong belief that management needed a line between them and staff and an emotional relationship of any kind should be not fostered,\u201d says Anderson. \u201cI came out\u2026feeling the exact opposite.\u201d Today, he actively pushes for more interaction between teams so people get to know one other and will be more likely to work well together in high-pressure situations. \n \n For Linda Goodspeed, vice president of IT at Nissan North America, living through the Japanese earthquake in March left her deeply impressed by the calm, caring approach her Japanese colleagues took as they \u201cwent into repair mode\u201d as soon as the building stopped shaking. \u201cTo see people execute on this was amazing,\u201d she told us. \n \n For CIO Sonya Christian of West Georgia Health, a veteran of hurricanes and tornadoes, her best advice boils down to a simple question she asks continuously during disasters: \u201cWhat is the most helpful thing that could be done right now?\u201d \n \n Great question. Apply it to your own disaster recovery plans and see if a rewrite is in order.\n Maryfran Johnson is the editor in chief of CIO Magazine & Events. Email her at email@example.com.