EMAIL #74, - 7TH, JUNE, 2020 - WHAT TRUE LEADERSHIP LOOKS LIKE
I have decided to interrupt my commentary about happiness, to revisit the topic of leadership. With the recent flair up of race riots and protests across USA and many other countries including our own, the topic of leadership has become a hot topic of conversation and media commentary. This is also on the back of the intense scrutiny that world leaders have been subjected to during the their response to COVID health crisis. For me the most revealing facts to come from all of the media coverage and analysis, is the fact that the four countries that have done the best job of controlling the spread of the virus are all lead by women. (New Zealand, Taiwan, Finland & Germany). The common traits (other than their sex) of these four women, is that their leadership style is based on trust, respect and inclusion, (ie; values based leadership)
"What we have learned with COVID is that a different kind of leader is very beneficial. We now recognise the value of risk averse, caring and thoughtful leaders." Amanda Taub - The New York Times.
The best example of this new values based leadership style was displayed this week by a sheriff in Michigan named Chris Swanson. During widespread protesting in Flint Michigan last week, an angry mob of protestors had gathered outside Swanson's police station. The following description of what happened is from Robert Glazer's Friday Forward blog article called "Walk Together" ,
"Though protestors were met by police in riot gear, Swanson stepped forward and symbolically laid down his baton before he addressed the crowd. Swanson did not command the crowd to disperse or threaten them with retaliation—instead, he leveraged his powerful position to engage with the demonstrators and offer his support and respect.
"I want to make this a parade, not a protest," Swanson said. "The only reason we're here is to make sure that you got a voice--that's it."
Swanson greeted protestors personally, posing for photos and offering high-fives. When the crowd chanted “walk with us,” Swanson joined the march, which remained peaceful and involved both demonstrators and police uniting behind one cause.
Where other leaders have unfortunately seen protests as a threat, Swanson saw an opportunity to support the community, ask questions, show empathy and walk peacefully alongside people who were positioned to be his opponents."
"Enough of the physical and mental riot gear. Let's listen and walk together." Sheriff Chris Swanson.
This is what true leadership looks like!
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and soldier on peacefully.