The peak of the Covid-19 crisis is still ahead of us today. Life and leadership as we know have changed with 93% per cent of the world’s population or 7.2 billion people who live in countries with travel restrictions. If we look subjectively at our own courtyard, we see empty cities, people isolated in their homes, home educated children in online schools, sports on hold, many businesses halted, families, separated, fear and sometimes panic on the rise, predictions of recession or even economic depression ahead of us and worried people around us with lingering questions in their mind from “When it will end?”, “Will we ever go back to the life as we know it?”, “What shall we do and how to adapt to the crisis?” to the scary ones like “Will I survive this crisis?”.
Who is leading us through this crisis? Official leaders like Donald Trump or Boris Johnson who underestimated the potential risk of Covid-19 or others who denied Covid-19 presence or hid and mismanaged the data at times like Kim Jong-un or Xi Jinping or leaders who used Covid-19 to increase their power and control like the Hungarian prime minister Victor Orban or Russian Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin or European Commission president Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen who apologized to Italy and Italians indirectly admitting that people are getting to little substance so far from EU leadership.
The legitimate political leaders are making room for expert leaders. New rising leaders from the medical profession like Alemka Markotic in Croatia or global virus influencers like Anthony Fauci, Balaji S. Srinivasan, Helen Branswell, Paul Buchheit, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Mike Ryan and many others are entering the stage? Dr Anthony Fauci confronted Trump in front of the press in an exhibit case of how the Trump administration distrusts experts. The general public understood that reliance on scientists like Fauci is their best bet to the shame of Trump who proved his ignorance with his promise “to open the nation and just raring to go by Easter”. Trump lost trust, again!
All of those new leaders can be assessed on various leadership criteria. First, effectiveness in pandemic control to assure benefit for all. Second, the efficiency of corona measures was introduced. Third, the democratic or authoritarian style of leadership is used. Fourth, is the type of social influence used to motivate people to action. Fifth, adaptation of measures to social and cultural context. Sixth, sensitivity to the follower’s qualities. Seventh, coping with situation requirements. Eighth, the influence of their personality on the crisis outcome. Ninth, timing and strategy used to combat Covid-19. Tenth, balancing health, economic and psychological goals. Eleventh, setting a stage for post-crisis recovery.
These and other leadership issues will be analyzed and simulated in future leadership courses and studied further at the business schools like AFSM to enhance coping with similar crises in future. There is no shortage of experts and laypeople who assess that such a future crisis is in store for us due to the fact that “Tragedy of the Commons” issues are on the rise. Leadership in Corona Times or more broadly Leadership in Crisis Times is to stay with us!