Important leadership qualities are the ability to empathize and the willingness to lead the way with their employees. We have heard that old-fashioned leadership is, "Do as I say," 1990s leadership is, "You have to do what you think is right", and modern leadership is, "Follow me, let us do this together."
It is said that a leader should be clear and visible, but this can be easily misunderstood. A low-key leader may well be clear, a listening leader may well be visible, and a leader with authority may well be standing on the floor with his employees. Common tasks can range from making decisions in a demanding professional dilemma, to cleaning up a workplace where it has become contaminated. We hear concepts such as authority, expert or even Sensei. These are concepts that are used about good leaders – by others. Those who, on the other hand, fall for the temptation to use such titles on themselves lose the effect. It can often only be perceived as boasting.
In times of crisis, we see that some leaders appear to be good leaders. Politicians stop discussing political views, and leaders who are often perceived as little visible appear as heroes. The need to promote one's own interests, highlight one's own positions and perhaps be unwilling to listen to others is diminishing. The leadership theory states that we need to involve the employees, but perhaps it is even more important with involved managers? The employees are always there. In all organizations, it is emphasized that the interests of employees and society are given priority. Production of items that are required is initiated. Managers and employees line up with long shifts to help in critical situations. Many risks their lives and health to help solve problems for others. Unfortunately, we also see some examples where professionals are not listened to, but politicians decide on measures that are perceived as win-loss.
If you are going to achieve change, you must have a "Burning platform", it is said. No one can make radical changes if they are not forced to. We see that although we have had Skype and video conferencing for many years, this has not been widely used in business, politics or institutions. We have continued to travel as before, and we gather academic institutions geographically so that they can communicate with each other. Now suppliers of technical equipment are running down, and employees at all levels are starting to get used to new forms of work in everyday life. They discover that they can work in teams without being in the same room, even singing choirs and orchestras playing together on digital platforms. This provides opportunities to rethink how we organize and how we work, an experience we can bring with us and use when we return to normal conditions.
We have a global world. Norway has open borders with lots of people travelling, and many tourists are visiting us. We find that Norwegians become infected and come home with viruses, and we see that we infect others. We have a fantastic health care system with people who stand up for our citizens and we have politicians who support this. Extraordinary funds are allocated, and support is provided to local communities and institutions to avoid infection and help solve the crisis. We experience daily examples of good management.
When the crisis is over
Good leadership is empathy, humanity and the ability to see others. We search for win-win solutions for all parties, and we listen to input from employees and citizens. The professionals try to the best of their ability to highlight what is important for solving the problems. Perhaps we too, between all the other things we are struggling with, could send some thoughts to other people and other nations that do not have as good conditions as we do. There are millions of people living in refugee camps. A billion people live on the hunger strike in slum areas and in garbage dumps. They do not have public health care or insurance. They do not have disinfection and not even clean water they can wash themselves in. Disaster can be awfully great in many places. If we have a little bit of power to think about something else in everyday life, then maybe we should bestow a thought on them? A good leader is someone who thinks of others. A good nation is a nation that helps alleviate other nations' problems and a good organization is an organization that contributes to something that is important to others. Perhaps the best investment is investment in contributing to the community? Norwegian doctors line up in "doctors without borders" and other nonprofits as well. Let us cheer the efforts made and salute all good leadership that is practiced. Not everyone has the same wealth, resources and expertise. Some countries have 10 billion on book. They have robust public health services with efficient and skilled employees, and a democracy that stand together for a common leadership regardless of political color in times of crisis. Perhaps some of these resources could be a part of international common memory after the crisis?
Which country does the most good for the world?/ Simon Anholt:
Do you want to read more about this? The book OKTAV is a practical book about how you as an organization become Lean and what steps you must go through in the first phase to build a Lean culture, and mobilize the organization to start its own Lean journey with all employees involved.