“It takes courage and strength to be empathetic, and I’m very proudly an empathetic and compassionate leader. I am trying to chart a different path, and that will attract criticism but I can only be true to myself and the form of leadership I believe in.”
There has been much discussion in recent months about styles have been most effective during the Coronavirus crisis. What, if anything, have successful leaders had in common?
In periods of extreme uncertainty such as this, when people are feeling anxious or threatened, it has often been observed that there is a tendency to look for ‘strong’ authoritarian leaders. However, throughout the pandemic we have seen that leaders who have displayed a more affiliative leadership style, displaying empathy, compassion and honesty, have not only been more effective in dealing with the crisis but are also seen as more trustworthy by the public. Leaders of governments around the world have also been urged to lead by example and ‘be the change’ they want to see as their citizens have adapted to the new ways of living brought about by Covid-19.
All of this is good news for our young people who could often assume leaders are the people who speak the loudest, appear the strongest and tell others what to do.
Therefore, if a young person doesn’t feel they fit this limited idea of leadership themselves, they conclude that they can’t possibly be a leader. We believe all young people can be a leader and ‘be the change’ they want to see in the world and that exploring and developing a wide range of leadership skills can be particularly helpful during periods of uncertainty.
Our new ‘Be Rooted’ resource supports young people to discover that crisis situations don’t need to make us feel threatened, anxious or fearful, or look to those who appear ‘stronger’ to provide the solutions. We can all be leaders if we can find and nurture our strengths, learn to see things from a different perspective and chart our own path. Young people are encouraged to think about the leadership qualities they most admire, consider the stories of leaders such as Captain Tom and Marcus Rashford who have brought about positive change during the Coronavirus crisis, and think about where they themselves might already be setting an example as a leader. Dealing with crisis means establishing our roots in things that will help us grow and flourish and turning away from things that will wilt us or weaken our roots. There are many qualities that make a good leader and some, such as flexibility, humility, active listening and kindness are perhaps best developed and practised during times of crisis.
“Don't let anyone despise your youth, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12
In our Be Rooted resources, we explore how leadership isn’t about age, how loud your voice is or how strong your feeling, but instead about the essentials for strength of character and compassion we can all share. View the free Be Rooted resources here. You can use these in the classroom as reflective exercises for feeling rooted in school after lockdown, or in collective worship. The resources have KS1 and KS2 versions available, and are editable for any adjustments you need to make for your setting.
View the free Be Rooted resources here. You can use these in the classroom as reflective exercises for feeling rooted in school after lockdown, or in collective worship. The resources have KS1 and KS2 versions available, and are editable for any adjustments you need to make for your setting.