Covid - Shaping Leadership

Peter Sun of the University of Waikato - Management School,  shared his take outs from a session about leading through this Covid crisis with Marty Linksy. Marty, a faculty member of Harvard Kennedy School (see https://www.hks.harvard.edu/ab.

Here, Peter  has broken the learning down into four key components

People leadership  |  Task leadership  | Strategic leadership    |   Self-leadership:

People Leadership

  • Leaders need to be present in people’s lives, and acknowledge the losses and pain that people are going through
  • Have personal conversations with people. During this time leaders need to be radically empathetic
  • Do not be afraid to share your vulnerability
  • A challenge that was thrown is for leaders to start work meetings by asking how people are feeling  - start with a personal touch

Task Leadership

  • In times of crisis and vulnerability, people are open to new ideas that they would not have entertained before. These are times where leaders can talk about sacred and institutionalised routines that make organisations anti-change
  • Open yourself to mistakes being made

Strategic Leadership

  • Balance ‘relentless optimism with brutal realism’ – this is an ambidextrous approach that leaders should take in their communication
  • Times of crisis gives the potential or opportunity to create a new future. Leaders should take charge of that, and not be bogged down with difficulties


  • Be generous to self – Do not be caught up in the thinking that you have to sacrifice your body for the cause. Leaders have to model the way by taking care of themselves
  • Build rituals – Build rituals that will move you away from the demands of work stress, into a zone pf personal care

Image by John" class="redactor-linkify-object">https://pixabay.com/users/john... Hain from Pixabay


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