Over the last two weeks, virtually everyone around seems to have been coming up with the governments, health care workers could be doing better, what did go well, and what was amiss- The only issue I have with this space is irrespective of whether people are praising their authorities of slaying them on the social media for being incompetent, the essence lies in how much does one really know about whats happening behind the scene- I mean how can anyone see a news clip or a media byte for a few minutes and then decide that this is what must be happening and come to a conclusion that we are all fine or we are all but certainly doomed! Well this is exactly what happens when you are experiencing either a situation wherein it is either about “Leadership in Crises” or “Crisis in Leadership” and that’s making its presence felt through the society that you are a part of and this short piece is just trying to make sense of this! Of course yes, I am not going to be taking names of leaders or nations here, so that I don’t end up placing prejudices in your mind- like it always has been I would want you to decide and take a view of what makes sense to you and in way that goes on to serve you by enhancing your understanding of the developments around you!
When disasters strike they often come with shock and awe, well that’s the case with major sudden natural disasters like flash floods, earthquakes and tornadoes which seem to just appear and disappear on their own terms leaving a path of destruction behind them. It is a similar situation when man-made disasters strike humanity- like mass shootings, terrorist events etc unfold. The real story begins the moment after the unthinkable happens! It becomes apparent quickly with ample clarity what kind of script is being played out to the world- we will now begin the instance wherein “Crisis in Leadership” begins to unfold.
Of the many manifestations that are possible, Crisis is Leadership is always earmarked by a deafening silence and inertia in the initial stages. This is the moment wherein the proverbial throat runs dry and the leaders are left to the mercy of their critics for having failed to act/ or rather react in a specific manner to an event- which normally is derived from the majoritarian societal conformity bias! This initial step if not checked in- not only unleashes a chain reaction of ever increasing complications and problems but also creates a powerful distraction in which the real challenge (the event that would have occurred) is all but made secondary and the efficacy and the style of the leadership start to become the talk of the town and thereby begins a never ending bickering game which goes on and one as long as some other powerful stories tend to come up and overshadow these events and narratives!
The next indication of Crisis in Leadership comes when people speak irrelevant, nonsense, mistime the content or begin to contradict each other from the adjacent windows of the same are of operation! You may have by now witnessed examples of politicians like Governors of State and other task force members who have been entrusted with fighting away this virus come up and say things which were completely unwarranted for and make no real contribution towards the progress of attacking the virus and saving lives- rather, a lot of their rant would have been talking about what they have been doing, trying to do and are hopeful of what they will be able to do rather then just stating the facts like- This is what had happened, this is what we did to fix it and this is what we have planned for tomorrow because this is what we expect! Well needless to say, it is instances like there that even turn disasters into fodder for news channels and media to utilize the moment for their fame to glory for showing how dumb a particular individual was- well as a matter of fact they never wait another second to do a rethink- I mean; wait why would this person behave the way he is doing so- he isn’t that dumb really? had he been done so dumb- he wouldn’t reached where he is now – A position of power and control to dictate terms through a crisis! So whats the missing part?! Well we will get to this bit once we have seen some other examples of how things are really done and what Leadership in Crisis really looks and feel like!
Unlike the above two manifestations (certainly there could be many more- given this is a blog, trying to keep it a bit truncated), when one sees Leadership in action through a Crisis- The whole equation changes dramatically! The very first manifestation of Leadership in control through a crisis is visible by the knowing “who is the face of the leadership”. As long as the face has enough depth in terms of credibility, acceptance, appreciation and connect with the audience in concern, rest assured the masses are at once assured that things are in control and you will find that people are ready to agree, abide and go ahead with the decisions taken by this type of a leader. The second important aspect here, which must be read together with the first point is that the quality, swiftness, clarity and transparency of the decisions and the rationale also are required to go hand in hand along with the face of the leadership. You may have a very pleasing face but if the quality of the following decisions and the content falls through, you will possibly end up finding a new face before you find answers to the pressing challenges at hand!
Effective leadership through crisis is almost and always accompanied by a sustained and ongoing communication dissemination in a measured manner wherein the communication reaches where it should and provides ample clarity about what is expected form the received of that message- like does the person need to take some action, or just be ready for the next instruction or it could be about being provided with details on the progress that has been and what the outcomes seem like over the next few days or weeks!
Leadership in Crisis may be aggressive or may be passive in terms of style harnessed by the leader in question, but unless it is proved to effective through its presence and through its actions; all purpose risks being eventually lost and can easily slip into the depths of becoming another case of study of Crisis in Leadership!
I will leave you with your thoughts now, see around you depending on where you are on the planet and observe what is that you are witnessing- at the government level, at your office level- what do you see around you- Leaders managing the Crisis or Crisis being complicated further by the Leaders who have been entrusted to steer the ship!
Ciao for now, I will be back soon with another article, until then navigate well, stay safe and if you are locked down, stay in and let your mind wander with thoughts that empower you and help you deciphering some hidden mysteries available in your plain sight! By the way – What type of a Leader are you- what do you think!