In these worrying times, various leaders from all over the world are using widely varying techniques to combat this epidemic. From a professional standpoint, it is hugely insightful to witness. There are certain key leadership qualities which are needed in a crisis.
Like us all, I have been watching open-mouthed the recent happenings and am experiencing a full range of emotions pretty much daily. In fact I’ve noticed that changes in outlook and mood can change hourly rather than daily at the moment. Like a lot of people, I’m just taking each day as it comes and trying not to get overly anxious. This is of course easier said than done, but be kind to yourself and others. Together we’re doing the best we can.
What’s the world view
However, with my professional head on and as someone who works with leaders on their development and portrayal, watching political leaders from around the world tackle this crisis has been fascinating.
Playing Guess Who with our politicians
Whatever your political views, watching our government try and steer the ship in these very muddy waters has been eyebrow raising at times. With our PM’s illness, it saw the stage set for various members of his government to take the lead and address the nation. Their styles were varied to say the least. From robotic to panicked, inaccurate to flippant. I won’t match the MP to which word here but I’m sure you can guess!
Styles flex but the message should still be consistent
These ‘styles’ can leave people feeling increasingly anxious, unsupported and uninformed which is a dangerous combination. If you don’t know who to follow, distrust will creep in. It’s so important to have all leaders on message. Although their delivery styles may vary, the audience should still have confidence.
In the face of our current crisis, good leadership has never been needed more. We need people who are calm, collected, authoritative and makes decisions in good time. Having clear objectives at the forefront is what is needed, and demanded.
Women world leaders – their response to the Covid-19 crisis
There was a very interesting article in Forbes recently highlighting the work female leaders were doing compared to male leaders in looking after their people. Now, I’m not here to man-bash, far from it, but it was a fascinating read. In it, it spoke about how in countries like New Zealand, Finland, Iceland and Germany, who are all women-led, responded and reacted to the crisis differently. In doing so, they portrayed many qualities of a true leader and showed empathy and compassion.
Particular stand outs for me have been how Iceland’s PM Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir offered free testing kits for all citizens. Finland’s PM Sanna Marin embraced influencers and used them wisely to spread the message quickly and effectively. Norway’s PM, Erna Solberg, had the innovative idea of using television to talk directly to her country’s children. She then held a press conference just for them to ask questions and to be reassured not to be scared – humanity at its best.
All hail Jacinda Ardern
But for me, the key leadership qualities needed in this crisis portrayed by New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern are amazing. She immediately locked down her country, explained clearly to her population why she is doing what she is doing and has stuck to strict measures to protect her citizens. So far, her clarity and decisiveness are saving New Zealand who have only suffered four deaths. She even declared the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy as key workers to keep children calm and confident. How wonderful!
What can we each do about leadership?
The approach above compared to here and the U.S is staggeringly and frighteningly different. I can’t help but wonder if we had, not even a female leader, but a more insightful, compassionate, humanistic and decisive leadership team then things might be a bit different.
Stay safe, compassionate and leading from the front – as a business owner, manager, teacher and as an individual. Consider the traits you value in a good leader and model these yourself.