Leader’s Manual
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Leader’s Manual

4 things to Learn from Ukrainian Political Leader, Volodymyr Zelenskyy

How to Be a Leader in the Times of Crisis?

A week ago if you asked 100 people who can be named as a strong political leader, many people would answer Wladimir Putin. Today we live in a different world. Ukrainian former actor and comedian Volodymyr Zelenskyy became a leadership role model. Yes, we have a lot to learn from him.

1. The key responsibility of a leader is to be with his people

26th February 2022 the Russian invasion began. From 6 am Russian missiles started to attack targets in the entire country, including the Ukrainian capital Kiyv. Assault began from the south, east, and north at the same time. Russian troops were coming close to Kiyv.

Most of the observers and commentators were in shock. Russian military strength was considered to be too strong for a much smaller Ukrainian army. US government started to urge Zelenskyy to evacuate to a safer location than Kiyv.

Zelenskyy decided to reject the offer. As he famously said:

The fight is here. I need ammunition, not a ride

So he did, risking his life, together with all the government. He knew that his biggest responsibility as a leader is to stay with his people. Only then does leadership work.

2. Leader is always a role model. The key is to be a good one

As of today (28.02.2022), more than 90% of Ukrainians support Zelenskyy. Just to compare — before the war, it was just about 30%.

It is natural that people’s eyes are facing the leader. But when there is a crisis, people focus on the leader even more. This is why the leader is always a role model. The key thing is to be a good one.

Zelenskyy has made it. He gave hope, staying with Ukrainians in Kiyv. He gave strength by showing his courage, even if he is the number one person of Ukraine, that Russians want to catch and kill. He gave a direction, being himself a role model of what kind of behavior is crucial during the war.

3. Time of crisis demands fast and right decisions

Very shortly after the Russian invasion, Zelenskyy had declared martial law, severed all diplomatic relations with Russia, and said that weapons will be given to anyone who wants them.

Just on the third day of a war Zelenskyy’s decision was to begin a formation of a foreign legion, created from volunteers from other countries, to fight against Russians together with Ukrainians. It helped to attract even more support from abroad.

Just today Zelenskyy made another decision, announcing that former military men who expressed their will to defend their homeland during martial law are released from Ukrainian prisons and arrests.

What Zelenskyy is showing very clearly is that leader needs to be a decision-maker. This is even more crucial in a time of crisis.

4. Leadership communication is essential to succeed

For sure Ukraine is winning a media war and sure it helps a lot within the military war. There are many reasons. The military successes of the Ukrainian army are widely published, as well as Russian attacks on civilians. Zelenskyy’s speeches are natural and full of courage at the same time, giving even more strength to Ukrainians. And finally, Ukrainian calling for help is a strong voice, heard in almost all the parts of the world.

All this is based on communication. It is the best evidence that entire leadership is based on communicating — not only a vision but also the entire crisis situation, and context.

Remember: you can still help the Ukrainian people. If you want to help, you can check this article.

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