A crisis of leadership

Leaders shape nations, organizations and communities in many ways. It is during a crisis like the current pandemic that the character of leadership has really been exposed.

Beyond the public display of bravado and polished image many an emperor has been caught during these times without his clothes on.

People follow the cues of the tribal leader

In the response pattern to Covid-19 the catastrophic failures and weaknesses of the populist demagogue has been revealed. With humans being tribal by nature it is natural to mimic the language, behavior patterns and responses of leaders.

Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

Much can therefore be said of the social undercurrent or the dark shadow of the collective unconscious in a nation when we look at the quality of their leaders.

Is the captain steering the ship through rough waters doing so with precision, taking advice from experts, emanating calmness and authority or making haphazard off-the-cuff decisions and blaming everyone else but himself for the predicament?

The dangerous malignant narcissist

During times of crisis the worst leader possible is the malignant narcissist. The psychiatrist Erich Fromm cites such leaders as those who “have attained absolute power; their word is the ultimate judgment of everything, including life and death; there seems to be no limit to their capacity to do what they want.”

As their failures become starkly apparent during the crisis they become more paranoid and fearful, lashing out at everyone around them.

They are pathological liars, violate all norms, humiliate, blame and are incapable of remorse and empathy. We need only to look back at history to see the legacy that such leaders have left.

In recent weeks I’ve conducted a number of workshops on corporate health management with companies from many different sectors. My own observations and many studies confirm a close link between poor leadership, absenteeism and worker motivation.

Many institutions are still stuck in a 20th-century top-down leadership approach. It is the perfect feeding ground for the malignant narcissist. The 21st century leader on the other hand requires an entirely different people skill-set.

Our world is more complex and heterogeneous. Our communities, our societies and the workplace have become a meeting place of different generations, cultures, religions and genders, requiring a particular communication skill-set to address the needs of each group.

The need for leaders with a good people skill-set

More than ever we need good leaders who emanate the qualities of kindness, respect, empathy and common decency. Critical self-awareness, the ability to show gratitude, keeping the ear close to the ground, the ability to delegate, motivate and communicate. These are only some of the skill-sets that we need in our time and the challenges that lie ahead.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might be interested in my 40-day Online training course LIVING TO BE which covers such aspects as defining your “core values”, removing distractive clutter, and boosting your vibrational energy to a new high.

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Filed under mental health, mental-health

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