Freddy de Freitas
The world is in crisis. Our leaders are in crisis.
Economies are unwinding; jobs are disappearing – and our spirit is being tested.
There is no longer any doubt that climate change is an unprecedented planetary emergency.
There are many reasons to look back at 2020, but this year is likely to be remembered for just one thing: the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more than 79 million confirmed COVID-19 cases globally, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Herbert Marcuse, a German-American philosopher, sociologist, and political theorist, said: “what is proclaimed and practiced as tolerance today, is in many of its most effective manifestations serving the cause of oppression.”
Leaders in crisis
Being sorrowful seems to be our time’s inclination, and more and more people whine about their sentiments of emptiness and sadness. But how did we get there? The financial crisis of the previous years, the pandemic, the war, and the general social and political instability are circumstantial circumstances that present. Even social media have played a vital purpose in the drugs, depression, and alcoholism rates rise in the last months.
In light of this, leaders must demonstrate compassion. But many researchers have shown that heart on its own is not enough.
There is a wrong and long-held belief that emotions should be “left at the door” when entering the workplace. Whatever is going on in our personal lives should be categorized as “dealt with” when we leave work.
COVID-19 has turned the enterprise world on its head, forcing many organizations across the globe to transform, and in some cases, discard their 2020 strategies and rethink how they succeed at a basic level.
A long road
As disruptive as the pandemic has been, marketing managers should not manage it as a one-time event that they can soldier through and then ignore. There will likely be a long road, term and lasting consequences from the virus and future turbulences, whether it’s an economic downturn, natural disaster, social upheaval, or another public health crisis. Thinkers need to equip their organizations with the tools and know-how to weather these kinds of hurricanes and create plans that lead them through growth and decline.
The global business market was already highly volatile before the pandemic. Now more than ever, corporations face enormous operational and emotional challenges. These organizations’ leaders must encourage resilience by understanding their defenselessness, susceptibility, weakness, vulnerabilities, and developing specific capabilities to compensate them within themselves and their enterprise.
Most of our leaders are having a midlife crisis, struggling with their mortality, and, somewhere during midlife, they are ditching some of their responsibilities in favor of fun. “Midlife crisis” often causes our society to picture mistresses and sports cars.
On many levels, midlife is a time when relationships and roles are changing. Some leaders may need to begin caring for aging parents during midlife. Others may become empty nesters—or they may feel as though their teenagers are growing up too fast.
Midlife turmoil might bring about positive changes. Perhaps our leaders become more spiritual, or maybe they decide to begin volunteering, so they feel their lives have more meaning.
Empathy is the capacity to identify, interpret, and share the ideas, thoughts, opinions, views, beliefs, judgments, and feelings of another person, animal, or fictional character. Cultivating empathy is essential for building relationships, connections, and acting compassionately. It requires feeling another person’s point of view, rather than just one’s own, and allows prosocial or helping roles that come from within, rather than being forced.
For effective leadership, empathy must be combined with wisdom, i.e., leadership competence and effectiveness. This often requires giving harsh feedback, making hard decisions that disappoint people, and, in some cases, laying people off. Showing compassion in leadership can’t come at the expense of wisdom and effectiveness. It would help if you had both. We have learned that leaders exhibit four different leadership styles that reflect different mixes of wisdom and compassion and the lack thereof. The optimal type is wise and compassionate leadership