LEADERSHIP WILL BE ABOUT SEEING THE BIGGER PICTURE
Forbes India|May 21, 2021
Leaders must not only guard their teams first during a crisis, but also deal with stakeholders with respect and dignity. And apart from pursuing business goals, they should remain committed to our planet and the environment
SURESH NARAYANAN

Today we are standing at the crossroads of uncertainty. The Covid-19 pandemic has raged on to become the greatest global crisis; and we are confronted with the climate emergency impacting our planet, our children, the future generation and the entire human race. Propelled by the new landscape, which is dynamic and fluid, leaders have an important role to play today and in the future.

The ‘future of leadership’ would rest in the hands of people who can navigate these tough times with wisdom, lessons from history, decisiveness and most importantly, empathy and compassion. An indomitable will that embraces responsibilities, that firmly believes that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken.

CARING THROUGH THE CRISIS

Like human beings, organisations have also witnessed radical shifts with equations between people, purpose, partnerships, planet and profits for businesses changing in the contours of a world shaped by the pandemic. In extraordinary times such as the present, it is only empathetic leadership that can carry forward teams as well as customers, consumers and communities. With their eyes fixed on the horizon, a leader must be able to endure the storm and anchor the organisation through the depths of the current adversities and volatilities.

As a human being and leader of a company, the first task leaders will have to embrace is to manage themselves amidst ongoing challenges or potential crisis. A leader must be positive and hopeful to overcome a crisis. Attitudes and behaviours are infectious, and hope is contagious. Hence leaders will have to demonstrate the same to their teams. It is critical to give your people the calmness, resoluteness and confidence that you will be able to come out of the crisis, and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you are concerned only about yourself, your comforts and discomforts, you reflect it very differently with your team.

Selflessness is not something that can be dictated from top down. It must demonstrate itself in behaviour, by the top leadership and this can resonate in the most difficult of times. The values of dignity, respect, compassion and empathy are universal, and it will be the task of every leader to demonstrate those, especially in a crisis. The primary task of a leader is to guard their people during a crisis to ensure they are safe and protected. A true leader will protect and serve his people just like his own family in a crisis and instil a spirit of strength.

IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES SUCH AS THE PRESENT, ONLY EMPATHETIC LEADERSHIP CAN CARRY FORWARD TEAMS AS WELL AS CUSTOMERS

PROMISE TO OUR PLANET

Another aspect which leaders will have to look at championing going forward is sustainability. The pandemic has been a wake-up call for all our collective conscience. The Covid-19 pandemic shares similarities with the climate crisis: It is systemic, with knock-on effects around the world. Good intentions will no longer be enough; organisations need to join hands and work towards the greater cause. Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. However, a lot more can be done in some specific areas in the future.

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