A Leader in Need is a Leader Indeed
Why Hard Times Requires Real Leadership?
Before we go to the war topic, think about a company with 5 000 competent employees, a profitable business model translated into detailed processes, and a steadily growing client base. Do you think it is hard to lead such a company or not?
And now think about the same company, but a year after — when the entire industry is in a crisis, clients quit on a big scale, and employees are not sure about their future. Probably leading such an organization seems now a bit harder?
Good times are easier for poor leaders
From my experiences and observations, it’s not so easy to identify a poor leader, if the times are good. In other words — if a CEO of a company just looks good, seems to be professional, and uses serious-sounding language — you may think he is a good leader.
If the organization has a mature and profitable business model, competent middle-management, and a not-so-changeable environment — even a poor leader can seem like a good one. Why? Because it is not so easy to check such a leader when times are easy. Everything changes when times are changing for bad.
Bad times are a test for leaders
Let’s look now at politics, or even geopolitics nowadays. A war between Russia and Ukraine is causing the deaths of thousands of people, huge migrations starting from east Europe, and a huge risk of escalation of the conflict.
In consequence, the responsibility of political leaders from most countries is now much bigger. Decisions of these leaders affect much more people, much faster, and on a much bigger scale than just a few weeks before.
And it’s not only about the decisions of Putin and Zelensky which are important. The reality is that also decisions of leaders of such countries as Germany, Finland, or Poland are also crucial and can help to deal with the conflict or to accelerate it even more.
What I want to say is it’s a really tough time for decision-makers. And at the same time — that this is the best time to define who can be named a good political leader.
Comedian and a boxer — leaders of bad times
Even if we don’t know how the war will end, we can see already that there are two leaders born because of today’s crisis situation. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Mayor of Kiyv Vitali Klitschko. The first one was a comedian in the past, while the second one — a professional boxer.
How many people would name them real leaders before the war? Probably a few. But even more important is the second question — how many people would name them real leaders if they would leave Kiyv just when the war began? The answer is — probably even less.
But they both passed the leadership exam. They both stayed in Kiyv, to fight and to inspire people to defend against the Russian invasion.
As good times are hard to distinguish between poor and good leaders, hard times are best to do it. When times are hard, tough decisions are needed, and these decisions have important consequences, which are visible very fast.
A leader’s responsibility is all about making good decisions and achieving good results — with people, through people, and for people. This is why hard times help us to distinguish between poor and great leaders — because only then we can see so clearly a leaders’ decisions and the results for people.
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