To Ponder: Emotional Leadership
What a devastating week for international peace.
Like many this week, I’ve been very quickly giving myself a mini-masterclass in international relations, western warfare, and Russian/Ukrainian political history.
What I found most surprising here was how unexpected the tipping point seemed to be – even for those who have studied this their entire careers. That move from posturing troops on the borders into an all-out invasion seemed to be an impulsive one. It’s possible that even the troops themselves weren’t expecting it. Now, I’m fully aware that both sides are engaged in information warfare, so we need to be critical of the data and information we’re receiving.
However, the many stories of Russian troops (apparently) giving themselves up in Ukraine stating that “they thought they were only there for training” is one tip-off, but I think the even bigger one is the seeming disarray in the organisation and groupings of the Russian troops.
Now, I’m in no way a military expert, so I am leaning on others who are here – but it seems that the ways these troops were structured and grouped alongside that Russian/Ukrainian border was almost random. Emphasising sheer numbers, not strategic planning.
In other words, Putin’s decision to invade seems to be less calculated, and more an emotional, reactive one.
Out of respect for the devastation that’s occurring at the moment, I’m not going to draw an organisational analogy out of this. But for contrast, I’ll share a video of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy (apparently) learning about the bombing of the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial for the first time.
You can see his emotion. His anger. His hurt. Yet, based on what we’re seeing, it’s likely that this will only rally his troops into even higher levels of resolve.
This is a sharp contrast to the groups of Russians troops that are surrendering.
So I’ll posit one question for you to ponder this week.
What role does emotion and impulse play in your own leadership?
Are you bolstering morale, or decimating it?
To Action: Watch For Fear
The past two years have been a rollercoaster of varying stages of fear for all of us. And now we’re being faced with global conflict led by a nation that is breaking international treaties and laws, and who own a nuclear arsenal.
This is on top of the never-ending stream of natural disasters that we’re all perhaps a little too used to by now.
And, even on a lesser scale – a lot of my current clients have started transitioning their workforces back into offices this week. This in itself is a change that brings with it a sense of fear.
This is a awful lot of external uncertainty that your teams are wrestling with at the moment.
Be aware, be conscious, and let your staff take a breather when they need to.
Oh, and give yourself the same courtesy.