It seems 2020 has shown us the best and the worst of our leaders.
From the two options of leadership in the US, to the approaches of compassionate humanistic leaders such as New Zealand's Jacinda Ardern to our own state versus state responses, COVID-19 has highlighted how different approaches affects a country's people.
There was a time when we admired strong, determined and confident leaders as they made us feel safe. But we can see that, when the situation is uncertain, or when there is little information available, the most helpful style of leadership is different.
Leadership expert Amy Edmondson suggests that what we need from our leaders during uncertainty is:
1. Transparency - communication with transparency and humility, admitting what you know and don't know, and communicate often
2. Action - inaction makes people feel unsafe. Adapting action as more information comes to light is needed
3. Act according to values - let values guide decisions and share those values so people can connect with them, whether they be health, safety or kindness
4. Share the power - effective leadership in a crisis involves sharing power rather than holding it tighter. It involves a willingness to consult and ask for help.
As Edmondson says, "we follow these new kinds of leaders through difficult times, because we have confidence not in their map, but in their compass".
Tarnya Davis is a clinical and forensic psychologist and principal of NewPsych Psychologists
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