There has been a wide difference in response to the leadership of various countries in the fight against COVID- 19.
In some, the general populace has obeyed the dictates of their governments to the letter; in others, there has been disobedience, defiance and division.
Why have some countries done so much better than others at minimising the impact of the disease?
After all, it’s not as if some had the knowledge of what was necessary and others not. As scientists gleaned information about the virus and how to combat it, their findings were instantly available all over the world. And the solutions required to contain the spread of the virus could not have been simpler. Stay at home; keep your distance; wear a mask.
Obviously there are wide differences between the various communities on Earth, but it has become quite clear that the reasons some countries are coming through this pandemic so much better than others have little to do with that.
It also has nothing to do with the nature of the virus, the climate, or the genetic make-up of the people.
It has everything to do with the way the response is being managed! It’s the leaders and management of the countries concerned who must get the credit for those that are doing well, and take the blame for those that are suffering greatly.
A time of crisis, as the world is going through now, calls for decisive and firm leadership. As much as there might be a need for democratic decision-making in normal times, when a crisis strikes, speed is of the essence.
If you ever face a crisis, get the facts as fast as you can, consult briefly with your key team members and, even if there is disagreement between them, make up your mind and move.
As long as you act in good faith, and take even-handed decisions that are based on logic and fair to all, your people will follow you.
Good and bad leadership
In South Africa, we have been witness to an example of both good and bad crisis management in action. In the first days of the pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa gained great commitment and support from the people of the country for the initial steps taken.
Latterly, due to the errors of leadership and management, all that support has been replaced by recrimination, disobedience and disloyalty.
It’s the result of our leaders ignoring the well-understood principles of leadership and management during times of crisis.
Learn from what has been taking place in front of your eyes, and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes when you have to lead and manage a crisis in your business.