This pandemic arrived like a tsunami. Six month ago, no one would have expected this power and speed of such a public crisis to arrive at our shore. In these challenging circumstances, it was imperative for society to quickly find the right direction to endure these unprecedented events. Specifically during crisis, we generally tend to look up to find some guidance and direction by our leaders. And here, in the last few month, we could witness what leadership, in particular authentic leadership, means.
Authentic leaders step up to the challenges and inspire their organizations to help the world work its way through crisis. When the situation is uncertain, human instinct and basic management training can cause leaders — out of fear of taking the wrong steps and unnecessarily making people anxious — to delay action and to downplay the threat until the situation becomes clearer.
In particular, a recent study at the Harvard Business School showed that authentic leaders exhibit following traits:
|Instinctive action when a crisis occurs||What’s needed during a crisis|
|Waiting for more information||Acting with urgency|
|Downplaying the threat and withholding bad news||Communicating with transparency|
|Doubling down to explain you actions more clearly||Taking responsibility and focus on solving problems|
|Staying the course||Engaging in Constantly updating|
Source: M Kerrissey and A Edmondson
It is undisputable that this pandemic requires an interdisciplinary approach, a network between different player to meet, and make quick decisions based on data, experience and a multiple of perspectives. Authentic leaders design, engage in, and guide such networks.
During this COVID19 crisis, many were observing and waiting, but some stood up and alarmed. We cannot thank enough all the authentic leaders who guided us through the difficult times and continue to provide valuable directions.
Besides strong leadership, we also rely on all the contributions of millions of healthcare workers who risk their daily life in order to walk us through this crisis.
JAMA, the prestigious Journal of the America Medical Association, named their Health Care Heroes of the COVID-19 Pandemic:
Li Wenliang, MD, Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, who alerted Chinese authorities of a disease that resembled severe acute respiratory syndrome, was initially censored, and died 6 weeks later of COVID-19.
Anthony S. Fauci, MD, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who has calmly led the US through this pandemic, with experience and intelligence, and who has tried mightily to reassure a worried nation, with science and utmost professionalism.
Maurizio Cecconi, MD, head of the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care Department of Humanitas Research Hospital in Milan, Italy, who looked into a camera, told the story of the early days in Lombardy, Italy, and galvanized the world to prepare for the tsunami of COVID-19 disease to come.
Millions of health care workers—physicians, nurses, technicians, other health care professionals, and hospital support staff, as well as first responders including emergency rescue personnel, law enforcement officers, and others who provide essential services and products—around the world have faced the challenge of providing care for patients with COVID-19, while often ill-equipped and poorly prepared, risking their own lives to save the lives of others. They honor us all with their commitment, dedication, and professionalism.