Covid-19 has shone a spotlight on world leaders exposing their flaws or their strengths in a manner never seen before. The 5 Covid-19 basket case leaders, in order of the human misery that they have visited on their hapless citizens, had the following common traits: all were men, they relied on religion and not on science, insecure, liars, polarizers, autocratic, thin skinned, media managers, and they sacked and trampled over anyone that opposed them. The 5 sanest leaders, that spared their citizenry from Covid-19 harm, two of the top 5 being women, have shown wisdom and strength, relied on science, built consensus, were courageous, did not manage the media, communicated clearly and truthfully, took early action, got the population behind them, and were decisive. If ever there was a fail-safe plug for women leaders, then this would be it.
Covid-19 has also shone a laser like spotlight on the failure of capitalism with one percenters owning +60% of the nation’s wealth, actually increased their wealth during Covid-19, small businesses went bankrupt, migrant and poor marginalized daily workers bore the brunt of lockdowns, lost their livelihoods, their poverty levels increased, their food insecurity increased, lack of medical safety nets led to disproportionate deaths in their families, with a complete lack of support from the leaders of their governments. Covid-19 has shown the complete failure of systems to protect the weakest sections of humanity.
The world is sorely in need of better quality leaders. The qualities that make good leaders are:
- Effective communication—starts with the ability to really listen.
- Intellectual curiosity. A constant thirst to learn.
- Ability to build and inspire teams.
- Always focus on people.
- Gritty enough to overcome problems and remember the lessons from such solutions.
- Build emotional connections and motivate others.
- Continuously challenge everyone to look for the most efficient and effective ways to get results.
- Open to feedback. As they say, feedback is the breakfast of champions!
- Optimism and perseverance.
- Intent on solving problems, not finding someone to blame. Start by always giving everyone the benefit of the doubt.
My hope is that each of you will take the above leadership qualities and Covid-19 lessons to heart and make them part of your lives. I look forward to the day when some or all of you will become great leaders and sincerely hope that you will rise above every problem that the world throws at you.
To your every success.
Khalid M Hashim
Trustee, Sackhumvit Trust.
July 13, 2020