In times of crisis, our character and competence are put to the test.
COVID-19 (coronavirus) has much of the world in a panic, scrambling for safety. People are social distancing and quarantining to slow the contagious virus. And yet, now more than ever, leaders must act for the good of others. In the words of Eric J. McNulty and Leonard Marcus, “leading…. involves guiding people to the best possible eventual outcome over this arc of time.” (Reference: https://hbr.org/2020/03/are-you-leading-through-the-crisis-or-managing-the-response)
In the midst of so much uncertainty, people are searching for direction about health, money, and even the most basic activities of going to the market or visiting relatives. People wonder: To whom can we turn? Who can we rely on? Which leaders are trustworthy in these times of uncertainty?
The answer to this search for leadership could be you. As a leader in Myanmar, we have always had to be resilient. And now, these times require competent, compassionate, and ethical leaders who will work for the wellbeing of all people in Myanmar. People in your families, organizations, and communities will be looking for someone with vision and empathy for guidance. Seek out creative ways to collaborate with others even while social distancing.
Michaela J. Kerrissey and Amy C. Edmondson identify two critical opportunities that leaders should not miss as they lead their organizations in times of crisis: taking decisive action and communicating honestly. It is your courage that will lead you to decisive action and your open and honest communication that will earn you trust from the people you lead. (Reference: https://hbr.org/2020/04/what-good-leadership-looks-like-during-this-pandemic)
“It is your courage that will lead you to decisive action and your open and honest communication that will earn you trust from the people you lead.”
This open and honest communication may feel uncomfortable when you do not have all the answers. However, leaders can gain respect and trust from others when they are transparent about what they know and do not know. Leaders, like anyone, will make mistakes. But, it is the quick response to updating plans, learning from these mistakes, and correcting decisions that demonstrates the quality of your leadership.
About DeBoer Fellowship
The DeBoer Fellowship develops change leaders across all sectors of Myanmar society. Through a multi-year training class and additional public programs, the DeBoer Fellowship serves Myanmar by helping to grow competent, compassionate, and ethical leaders. For more information about DeBoer Fellowship or to apply for the Fellowship, please visit: www.deboerfellowship.org.