Leadership for the Greater Good:
Global Thought Leaders Explore Today's Challenges
ILA’s blog launched in March 2020 amid a world struggling to make sense of the pandemic, racial inequality, and challenges to democracy. We charge our bloggers to apply their leadership knowledge and practical wisdom to inform and inspire us as we continued our work of advancing leadership knowledge and practice for a better world. Bloggers include authors from 12 countries spanning 5 continents.
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A crisis is not a good time for change. Or is it? In times of crisis, leaders often aim to restore stability as quickly as possible. This is understandable. However, a crisis can also be used as a starting point to deeply explore new ideas and approaches that may be more effective and sustainable in the long run.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare our vulnerabilities, divisions, falsehoods, and brutal inequalities. These deep divides and holes in the fabric of our societies weaken our resolve for peace and lead us to question what it is about our cultures that creates so much room for insecurity and what role better leadership might play.
“The only thing we know about the future is that we do not know the future.” What implications does that have for leadership and the structures of our organizations, particularly amid rapidly moving crisis? How does this change the relationship between leaders, followers, and the public at large?
Often citizens assume that leaders in positions of power have the essential leadership capabilities needed for the work. However, many leaders measure their effectiveness solely on the stock market index and do not understand that effective leadership requires an intricate balance between the economy and humanity.
Is it not time we stopped asking what leaders and science can do to fight COVID-19 and ask instead what followers should be doing? Accepting that we are facing a complex and unpredictable situation, how do we stop calling for simple solutions, learn to live with uncertainty, and take responsibility for our own actions?
Being positive can facilitate transformational leadership but taken to extremes it can become insincere and manipulative. Excessive positivity constitutes a significant barrier to reflection and learning. By silencing critical voices, Prozac leadership has hindered our leaders’ response to the pandemic.
The implicit rules for acceptance and success are encoded in the deep structure of organizations and social groups. Recent events have reminded us that the deep structure in America is pervasive, pernicious, and even deadly. What can whites and cis-straight people do to address such a horrible legacy?
An enduring issue for leadership is the emotional effect of leaders’ presence and absence on those who look to them for direction, guidance, and reassurance. If leaders fail to show up, it sends a signal that they don’t really care. In times of crisis, care becomes a highly salient marker of effective leadership.
As we deal with the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and its disproportionate impact on women, minorities and the poor, much has been written about the effectiveness of the leadership traits exhibited by women. What has been different in women’s leadership?
Is this the beginning of the end of leadership education and development as we know it? If so, perhaps it is also an opportunity to forge a new agenda that addresses the challenges of the past and reimagines the value of our work for a future that may look quite different from that which came before us.
Our world is a place where benefits and burdens are not widely shared. We have an opportunity to envision a new way of moving forward, a new narrative for ourselves, our communities, and our world. What do we want to become? Our perspectives, and the choices we make, depend on the “wolf” we feed.
The coronavirus continues to devastate communities around the world. Given the immensity of the damage and the colossal investment needed to repair it, ensuring that our responses enhance the capacity – the resilience – of communities and regions to respond to future challenges and disruptions is imperative.
ILA’s Leadership for the Greater Good blog is supported via a grant from the MetLife Foundation.