LESSONS IN LIGHTBULB LEADERSHIP FROM UKRAINIAN PRESIDENT ZELENSKY
Right now Ukrainian President Zelensky is the ‘Lightbulb Leader’ in the world. But what is a ‘Lightbulb Leader’?
16 years ago I set up Lightbulb with a clear vision to create great growth leaders able to solve the world’s biggest challenges and inspire meaningful change. And the person who totally embodies that definition is President Zelensky. In my opinion, his leadership in the last weeks and days shows the world what a ‘Lightbulb Leader’ really is.
Fundamentally, he is a human to human leader that we can all relate to. An accessible man with a clear mission who has remained firm in his defences, recalling Winston Churchill as his role model that is providing him with a standard that he would like to emulate. President Zelensky has shown remarkable leadership in the face of overwhelming odds, connecting with people all over this planet to take a stand for freedom and democracy.
His vision, belief, visibility, passion, feedback, connection, bravery, agility and determination are the essential ingredients for any leader. Let’s take a closer look his leadership qualities.
First and foremost, President Zelensky has a clear vision for Ukraine. He has known from the start of his presidency what to achieve and is laser-focused on it: freedom and democracy.
His vision is evident in the way he governs Ukraine and in his speeches. His passion for Ukrainians is transparent through every word spoken and action taken and literally as the invading forces entered his country, his vision has remained steadfast. Fiercely resilient, he rallied his country without decent to defend itself for the fight of its life.
President Zelensky is passionate about Ukraine and its people. He wants the best for his country and is willing to fight for it and his words and actions show it too. In just three short years since taking office there have been many milestones achieved by his administration that has made great changes for Ukraine — including economic stability after two decades long dealing with corruption at all levels. You can see his passion in the way he governs and galvanises not only his own people but people around the world too.
LOVE AND CARE
President Zelensky’s passion for Ukraine shines through his words, which are filled with love and care. Even under the most extreme conditions has managed to motivate his people with pride for freedom while also preserving democracy in their country during this time where it seems impossible that anything could survive such an enemy occupation.
I’m sure many would say “why?” But never underestimate great leaders who lead from example rather than commandment; their power lies not only within words — though those too do matter, but through tangible displays like raising morale when everyone needs inspiring and lives are literally depending on it.
As a leader he has connected to the very core of the people of Ukraine with unity in their common goal — freedom and democracy. President Zelensky’s passionate leadership during this time has not only galvanised them, but also restored hope among his nation and the world that they will be free from domination. People are inspired by him and they trust him.
AGILITY AND ADAPTABILITY
As President Zelensky’s forces are outnumbered he has adapted his plan, reaching out for more critical arms, aid and supplies whilst urging the world to share what is happening on the ground, in the seas and the sky’s above his country.
Zelensky has shown real agility in the way he’s led Ukraine, quickly adapting to new situations and finding quick responsive options reaching out and mobilising world leaders to equip his country with the all arms and aid they need.
President Zelensky is not giving up on his countrymen, even though they are being overwhelmed by invading forces. He has belief — in himself, in his people and the purpose of defending freedom and democracy. Simply, this is one of the most important qualities for any leader.
We see it every day in business — those blockers and barriers that are put in the way for talent to lead and progress because they haven’t had prior experience in that sector or space.
Let us not forget that prior to becoming President, he was an actor in a comedy series playing a man who became President. It really is time now for businesses to get over themselves and get accelerating their potential leadership talent today. Talent that perhaps isn’t like their leadership predecessors, but frankly may be more effective than they ever are or were.
The Ukrainian President posted defiant video footage in the capital of Kyiv despite the country undergoing siege. He was quoted last week when being offered an airlift out by the Americans that ‘he needed ammunition not a ride.’
He’s seen the thick of the fighting action on the front lines and seen first hand what his troops are experiencing and what they need to respond. He has shown great courage in the face of rising and daily danger as he knows that he is public enemy #1 and his wife and family are public enemy #2 for the advancing forces. He hasn’t left his country and he hasn’t left his people.
COMMUNICATION AND FEEDBACK
He communicates at every opportunity and is clear, cohesive and consistent in his messaging. He uses words that many leaders neglect for example “I am willing.” It’s an indication of how committed and selfless he is as a leader.
He is taking feedback and acting upon it — President Zelensky is open to dialogue and takes feedback from his people seriously.
He has also been very effective in communicating with the international community, keeping the world updated on the situation in Ukraine. This type of communication goes a long way in building trust among allies.
And he has maximised his agile communication channels taking to social media maximising his message and reach, rather than relying on just the formal state addresses. This is the kind of leadership we need in today’s world. Fiercely resilient, passionate, agile, adaptive, being able to listen and respond to feedback are just some of the qualities that President Zelensky posses which has made him successful in leading Ukraine during these dark and difficult times.
Let us hope that more world leaders in all walks of life and business can learn his example. President Zelensky is a war time hero leader the likes of which we have not seen in this century before. He has a herculean task ahead and in times like these it is important to remember that we must equip our leaders to become Lightbulb Leaders in the world too.
And lets all say prayers for President Zelensky, his family and the Ukrainian people, who fight not just for the freedom of their country but for our freedoms too.
EQUIP YOUR LEADERS
We would like to invite you to learn more about how our organization develops Lightbulb Leaders in business through our ICE Leadership Development Programme.
Visit our website or contact us today and click the button below to find out more about how you can become a Lightbulb Leader too!
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
To honour the women and children displaced and the men left behind to fight, I am hosting a live Q&A for International Women’s Day on 8 March 2022 at 7pm over on my Instagram page. It’s featuring how to #BreakTheBias on menopause in the workplace and I’ve a superstar guest too. On the night we will be taking donations to the British Red Cross Ukrainian Crisis Appeal. Every contribution counts. Sign up today and save yourself a seat.
This blog originally appeared on the Lightbulb Leaders website and can be read in full here.