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Coronal Leadership

Posted on the 26 March 2020 by Alanhargreaves @RechargeToday

Coronal Leadership

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Coronal LeadershipThe Covid Learning Curve 

Global leaders have hardly emerged as role models in recent months. Most started with denial, moved on to panic and then shifted to blame. These are not qualities that turn up in the leadership lexicon. They are more like examples of what leadership is not.

Start with denial. When Covid 19 first came along, a lot of people — not just global leaders — took the view this was a beat up. Their reactions were various. There were conspiracy theories, issue avoidance, wilful ignorance and dismissal of any contrary science. 

As said, it was not confined to global leaders. Most of us have a tendency toward wilful blindness when something extremely inconvenient comes along. We have spent a lifetime building our own neural pathways which sort out what we want and don’t want. Like a dating app, people are quick to swipe left if it’s not a fit.

The first thing the virus is teaching us is the need to be open to contrary ideas — to remain open and free of bias — until you’ve clinically assessed enough information to at least know that there might be an outcome different to the one you expect. Think Black Swan. 

Coronal LeadershipIf you do that, you are more likely to avoid the second non-leadership quality: panic.  

Surprise strategy shifts and backflips seriously erode credibility. If you had been open in the first instance, you probably would have done some planning for different scenarios. That means you wouldn’t have been caught totally off guard. You’re less likely to panic as a result. And people will be better prepared because you warned them there was a chance you could be wrong. You are starting to look like a leader.

Which brings us to the ugliest leadership failure: blame. 

This virus came along at a time when the world’s ability to work cohesively on any issue has been retarded by divisive politics. It is hard enough to coordinate a national response, let alone a global one, when both sides of the political spectrum are driven by blame and at times, it seems, hate. Just when everyone needs to work together, the landscape is riven with deep fissures and widespread mistrust. 

Coronal LeadershipReal leadership requires rising above blame and bringing people together to support the optimum solution. That’s usually one that is good for all and not just for some.

How do we get these qualities?

Some may be genetically sourced, but most research suggests inherited elements account for only around 30% of leaders. That means most leaders are made, not born.

That’s also good, because it means we can learn how to lead, and we can do so by watching the many examples — both good and bad — that we have seen in this crisis. If you want to practise, try the few mentioned here:

Stay open. Be prepared for scenarios other than the one you are most comfortable with.

Avoid panic. Help calm become more contagious than the problem.

Be inclusive. For the optimum outcome, get everyone onboard.

You don’t have to be a politician to do this. You can practice in the office or on the factory floor.

You can even try it at home.


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