“When a crisis happens it’s all about how quickly we can react.” A line from one of my recent blog Leadership Crises In The World Of Coronavirus. The question of what are we learning about leadership and change these days ? is based on our leaders response to the crisis we are facing today.
What are we learning about Leadership
Firstly, a joint effort to collaborate and practice global leadership is sadly absent. From the USA, UK, France, Italy to Russia, India, China, and Japan. The leaders of influential nations appear stressed as they deal with the outbreak in their own countries. The coronavirus is crippling health care systems in the world, forcing high-powered economies to their knees and posing a serious threat to the world order.
Certainly, the global economy is the next big crisis. Most companies were not prepared for such a nationwide shutdown for this long. While governments are bailing out businesses in their respective countries, the speed and agility with which organizations react now can be the difference between recovering or closing down. It may not be enough for many companies to reduce operating costs or see through the liquidity crises with the help of their government. Instead, they will essentially need to innovate on business models.
Similarly. What are we learning about change? is that the COVID-19 outbreak could end up causing more challenges. In that case, today it is wise for leaders to reconsider their future plans beyond the supply chain. In other words, the crisis has also revealed weaknesses in succession as some get sick and second in command quickly needs to be elevated. While others are found wanting in the skills required to lead in a crisis.
What are we learning about Resilience
More than resources including education and training it is resilience that determines who succeeds and who fails. To clarify it is not the same as thriving at work which is more about skills and knowledge applied with a sense of security. Management studies have long kept resilience out of the leadership curriculum.
Resilience is about bouncing back from adversity. Disruptive change is today’s normal that requires leaders who understand what failure means. For example, there is truth to the adage that failure is one of the best ways to learn. Therefore, emotionally compelling events and personal loss defines it best on an individual and environmental basis.
What are we learning about Emotional Intelligence
Do leaders have a solid understanding of how their emotions and actions affect the people around them.? Daniel Goleman has helped us to understand and apply EQ. The ability to manage your own emotions and those around you. They help reduce behaviors that don’t work for us and maximize those that do. For leaders, having emotional intelligence is essential for success. This involves:
- Social skills.
Applying context to the current crises of COVID-19. From motivation to empathy and social skills. Global leadership is not performing when we need them the most. This is most evident in the case of recently held G20 meetings via video conferencing. The club of the rich and powerful nations founded with the sole objective of dealing with global crises and solutions. The end was without any pledge to saving the world collectively.
So what are we learning about leadership and change these days.?
In the very beginning, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, calmly shared a moment of truth with her fellow citizens. She announced that the coronavirus would infect 70% of the population. Therefore, Germany skipped the denial phase that we’ve seen elsewhere. An example of self-awareness and self-regulation. Testing began right from the word go, early and broadly. Today Germany may have the answers on easing the lockdown. The country’s numbers are far below its European neighbors because of its comparatively high testing rate and relatively low death rate. Moreover, Germany, has given the go-ahead for the first clinical trial of BNT162b1, a vaccine against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
To sum up what are we learning.? Resilience along with emotional intelligence are vital issues in leadership more than ever today. Experts say the critical difference is time—or lack of it.
Title Image Credits Photo by Antenna on Unsplash | Also available on Medium