Learnings from the current situation on what it takes to be a great leader.

2020, it’s been a roller coaster ride. If I were to categorize this year it would be the most unpredictable one! With the excitement of being amidst 89 talented individuals from diverse geographies, the ‘tadka’ of the COVID makes us special (super happy to flaunt this one off)! Of all the specialties that the IMD MBA has, focusing on developing effective leaders makes it the best. Through these times of ups and downs and uncertainty of the near future, the very thought that crops in my mind is how will the leaders in the near future have to be…

Leadership involves dealing with interwoven, delicate situations cautiously with an optimal amount of aggressiveness without a tinge of inconsideration. In my opinion, the first challenge in post COVID for leaders is defining the “new normal”. How comfortably stakeholders react and adapt to the situation? How various functions may be centralized or decentralized? How systems need to be made adaptable and robust, the list is never ending.

There are numerous examples of successful managements and leaders who have shown various qualities. If I were to observe the whole list, the top must have attributes in a leader post-COVID would be as follows:

  1. Candor
  2. Factual Communicator
  3. Empathy
  4. Ability to manage a mix of teams
  5. Adaptability
  6. Humility
  7. Good listening skills

There are instances that have taught me lessons which I will be taking along with me in my professional and personal life. Resilience – the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty, quite an appropriate attribute to have during the COVID times. A live example that has a far reaching effect is that of my very own school!

In March 2020, when coronavirus was announced as a pandemic and numerous countries went on a complete lockdown – schools, offices, public places closed, retail shops (open only for necessities) open for limited time and for a specific number of people, countries had shut their borders and the economy was at a complete standstill. One of the countries to announce the lockdown on 16 March 2020 was Switzerland. And here go our classes online. Through the two and a half months of lockdown, our classes – unaffected. They are delivered through Zoom with an option of redoing some of them offline, face to face later on – like it used to be.

We started taking the classes again in person as of June 8th. Were they the same as earlier? Not really but IMD ensured that they made it the best, considering the government regulations. Leadership lessons – all the ones mentioned above! Wow! These are live lessons delivered personally by the entity teaching us Leadership! It’s like soaking in as much as you can while the Sun showers the Summer bliss on to us.

I’d like to look at this entire Covid Frenzy (reference to an earlier blog post) as a learning experience and I pray that it settles down across the globe… What is important is what we learn from this.

Signing off with these thoughts from the beautiful town of Engelberg in the Alps!

Aditi Kulkarni

4 Like