top of page
  • Foto del escritorADN

Crisis, New Leadership Arises

Actualizado: 19 ago 2020

Javiera Salazar

You can visit the original document at:



"It’s a fact that we are living in an unstable world. Old certainties do not exist anymore. In the business world, all our stories about growth are somehow placed as irrelevant to what we have had to face in this time of crisis.

Covid19 has caused so much turbulence over our health, economy, and the way our society works. We’ve been forced to make immediate decisions without having much time to process all the consequences that can result in life or death, literally.

But these rushed choices, are the ones that show us exactly the type of leaders we are and the types of leaders we have.

Taking as an example the rulers of our countries, besides having to face making decisions over a volatile environment, they need to deal with an empowered citizenship that must be pleased, as well as being permanently exposed to information (of different quality) about what’s going on. Leaders have to face the dilemma of ranking all this information over what problem’s more urgent over the other.

What’s next?

The last two Harvard Business reviews go around on how leaders guide teams and their strategies within the environment of Covid and crisis. There’s a lot of pressure on leaders to respond to the insecurity of their employees when they, themselves, are not sure what’s to come.

Something that has been very visible during this time (specially in Latin America) are populist leaderships that thrive on division. We have seen the consequences this has had over countries in the region. These leaders, also have a huge lack of communication. They possess a special ability to lie and hyde information as we have witnessed from China from the moment all of this started, until now.

But not everything is lost, we have seen other leaders who work on their management of character and strategy. Leaders who balance experimentation with construction of legitimacy and purpose. Because of everything that’s going on, we all have become spectators to all the approaches someone can have over the same problem. We have experimental leaders, who try different options and strategies. Leaderships seeking to rebuild promises once made because priorities have changed. Or open-minded leaders that listen the advice of different experts in key areas.

Because of uncertainty, we don’t really know what approach is correct or incorrect. The only thing we are sure of is that out of one problem, we have so many possible solutions to it. And this doesn’t only apply to the government, but to the private sector, and every business (big or small).

Emotional Perception

Despite the great progress we have as a society in terms of: communication, science, and health, there will always be a great self-perception of vulnerability within people. Which translates as emotional elements of fear.

A study done in Chile this June 2020 about the predominant emotion in relation to the social situation due to the pandemic and/or quarantine suggests, that the feelings ruling over our emotions are: rage/anger, fear, and sadness. And it has a lot to do with the perception of leaders within the country or organisation to which they belong.

These kinds of events that bring out these kind of feelings, are the right occasion for populist leaders to seize the opportunity to come to power. They feed those feelings of anger that are already there, and encourage a culture of victimhood, finding who to blame instead of finding solutions. After this, we start questioning the capacity of our leaders, and loose trust in them.

Another example, is the growth of the feminine movement. Where we have a gender issue over the questioning about the capacity of female and male leadership. Which in my opinion, your gender, has nothing to do with your capacity to run a country or not. Anyhow, during this pandemic we had the opportunity to see two women take over the challenge that has been this first half of the year.

Both, Angela Merkel and Jacinda Ardern, have two completely different leadership styles. First, they have a huge generational gap. And second, Angela’s leadership reflects critical analysis, sense of direction and responsibility. While Jacinda’s reflects collective sense, empathy, compassion and direction towards the future.

Numbers reflect the success of Jacinda’s leadership through out this pandemic. New Zealand registered a total of 1504 infections and 22 deaths. Her approach and management to this crisis is what made New Zealand one of the first countries to go back to normality.

Challenges in the progress of society

There are three key challenges of leadership for the progress of society:

  1. Enhance leaderships that promote progress over. populist leaderships (seductive but do not pose the challenge). We need leaders that call to action and focus on problem-solving.

  2. Focus on the objectives we set: must be symbolic and strategic against a permanent state of transformation. Especially with the new digital and the economic models. If we do not have a robust economic framework, anything we want to do will be completely disabled. Because this pandemic has had double adversity regarding our economy and health.

  3. Raise: The leaderships we need are those capable of having a story that connects with an increasingly empowered society. A story that shows that doing business is the solution, and not the problem. This way, populist leaderships do not become the ultimate solution. Because, even though someone may have a better solution to a problem, lack of communication and charisma to deliver the message, can be the reason this idea gets tossed out.

Business vs. Emotion

For starters both of these words shouldn’t be one against the other, now more than ever business and emotion need to come hand in hand. Most of millennials and gen Z are responsible consumers and older generations are starting to change to that mindset as well.

In companies, social responsibility shouldn’t be focused only in one area in specific, it should be a norm in every aspect of the process.

Otherwise it doesn’t make sense.

The story of a company must be chained to a purpose. Brand-positioning is always stronger when there is authenticity in the story. Otherwise it can be seen as inconsistent or only as propaganda.

For example, companies shouldn’t ignore climate change, people’s needs, and the development of the community. Just creating work-places or providing employment is not enough anymore. Companies can’t ignore everything else that’s going on: they must be responsible.

Leaders should ask themselves, what story creates commitment between them and their employees. Those kinds of conversations are important to have. We must talk about what we have learnt, and how we are going to use that wisdom after all that has happened. The new -normal is going to be "anything" but normal, and this is an opportunity for the business world to improve it’s ways, before experiencing more social outbursts.

Although we are now in survival mode, there are many concerns that we have left on standby due to the situation; therefore, when all of this is over, companies will have to adapt to the new ethical framework that has been built over this time. This ethical framework is changing due to the social pressure that is taking place.

Leaders are going to have to integrate this conversation with the basic reality that we are facing regarding unemployment. Employers have had to make very difficult decisions because of this crisis. The problem is that the companies that don’t have a “responsible story”, and have dismissed employees simply for the survival of the company. Unfortunately, by closing places and not having preventive measures, they are the ones who are going to be condemned by the general public, even if the actions taken were completely necessary.

Facing this type of situation is much easier with a responsible story assumed behind. When all of this is over, the employees who stayed won’t want to stay the same as before in qualitative terms, and those who left won’t want to return after trust has got lost.

Companies that have a responsible model with a shared-story that seeks social well-being beyond the company itself will prevail.


In conclusion, the world needs leaders who take on their shoulders the challenges of business as members of a society that looks more towards the family. Leaders who are willing to put their skin in the game, playing with all the intangible and personal capital at stake. We need to ask ourselves: do I want to move crowds, or maintain my “status quo”? A good leader must know how much he or she is willing to put into play in their social role, and if not, stay hiding on the sidelines.

For all: We must know how to listen. Sometimes staying on the sidelines and giving the example of listening to others is also leading by example. Do not be afraid of staying silent: collaborative leaderships are very necessary as well.

Anyway, all kinds of Leaders should be able to establish alliances, collaborations in networks. All require giving in one way or the other because the survival after this crisis will only depend on our capacity to unite and adapt as teams for becoming resilient against the constant changes 2020 has brought."


24 visualizaciones0 comentarios

Entradas Recientes

Ver todo


bottom of page