The first requirement of leadership is honesty. I’ll check that box right away — yes, this sucks.
Another requirement of leadership is to keep fear at bay, or at least in perspective. This isn’t the Bubonic Plague, at least I don’t think so. I wish I had something better to offer, but there it is – this probably isn’t the Black Death. And civilization survived even that, didn’t it?
Another requirement of leadership is to learn and adapt constantly. Regarding this requirement, I realize I may have a great deal to learn, and that this learning is something I want to do with you, and with all of us. One of our goals in this time is to come out of this smarter, more focused, and more objective. I think in many ways, we have become foolish and selfish, and this might help us grow up a bit.
There will be much to learn if we don’t let blame or ego guide our response. What will we learn about our social construction, patterns of consumption, or the critical values of community? How many of us, as we face the difficulties of the months ahead, will face those difficulties alone? How many of us will look for greater depth in our friendships – relationships that sustain and challenge us and not just entertain?
Another requirement of leadership is resilience in times of crisis and challenge. Part of my resilience will come from redirecting my energies, from looking for new opportunities, and in challenging my assumptions about the future. It could be that not much will change over the long run, but something tells me that much will change, and much needs to change. That has to include me – my choices, my priorities, my plans, and my own sense of obligation and connectedness to the world around me.
Another requirement of leadership – and I wouldn’t have said this a few years ago – is to be a loving presence in the world. This is a time for leaders to experience and manifest compassion and to acknowledge the deep emotions that surround them. This is a time for us to become more fully human and more connected than perhaps ever before. If you don’t think of our planet as a small place, think of it that way now. And because it is so small, you become bigger in it. Be the best person you can in the months ahead.
What can we do to make the most of this situation?
What does leadership call you to do in the Time of Coronavirus?