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Leadership

Failing to acknowledge

We’re in the middle of a crises. Some of the world’s most powerful countries — including the USA, China, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, UK, and many others — have gravely struggled to get a grip on the COVID-19 pandemic. Heck, if it weren’t for the lower numbers, I’d say India is in deep trouble as well! (And we might as well be since there’s no way of knowing the true figures. I don’t have enough faith in our version of the “free press” either.)

All it took was a freaking virus to expose the vulnerabilities of the most technologically advanced countries in the world! How could this be? What could’ve gone wrong? In my analysis, I think our world leaders misread, miscalculated, and got it all wrong. Each one of them saw it coming but couldn’t or would believe it. And it took a few hundreds (in some cases, thousands) to die before they took it seriously. (Trump surely did!)

I believe they ignored the cardinal rule of effective leadership amidst crises — acknowledging the situation. That doesn’t mean they have to have a solution. Just the awareness that they’re in a crises and they have to figure out a way to navigate through it. That mindset enables you to take measures, conservatively, at first, and then aggressively when you clearly know what needs to happen.

While I’m not a huge fan of Modi’s leadership but the above was masterfully executed last month. The result is that we’re doing somewhat better than the global powers, in terms of numbers. That said, we definitely would’ve been dire straits had someone from Wuhan landed in Delhi on the first week of January this year. We were just lucky and we maximised on that.

Of course, this war is far from over. We’ve got weeks and months to go before we can say the situation is under control. But I’m quite sure this pandemic has taught a valuable lesson to both the political and business leaders from across the world — acknowledging reality precedes action.

How true is this for you?