Although we are living challenging times, let's all take the time to extract learnings from a great leadership example from the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The word “war” its predominant in every news platform, social media posts and television broadcasts at the moment. We are living troubled times, and the uncertainty of tomorrow consumes our minds of what is yet to unfold.
What is outstanding in all the news feeds is the leadership of Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
If you are in a leadership position, an entrepreneur aiming to become the best leader you could be and would like to learn specifically what are the attributes of a great leader, take note of some of this leader’s attitudes and presence.
Here are some of the learnings I am extracting and can be seen in Zelenskyy’s actions:
1. Lead by example
When visiting a Lean company, one of the leadership’s greatest displays is the Lead by Example behavior.
This can also be seen when Ukraine announced that “men between the ages of 18 and 60 are prohibited from leaving the country”, which has been under martial law since the Russian invasion began. Zelenskyy sent out a statement indicating that he, together with his government, will stay and fight too, leading by example and showing that sacrifice and responsibility is no different to any Ukrainian, including the State Leader and his team.
2. Courage and Humility
The ability to be a humble leader takes courage. In Toyota, leaders are taught how to do every role. In fact, when appointed a leadership position, training actually starts in a factory floor as a shop floor worker, to learn that each role may be hard and an employee is to be treated with respect, as they hold in their hands, daily, the client experience.
This display of humbleness and courage can also be witnessed in Zelenskyy’s actions. It takes courage to send out a message to all the Russian population and remind them how we are all humans and pleading for their reasoning. Although hierarchically represents the highest position of a country, the speech where Zelenskyy addresses all Russians around the globe, places him as an equal human, family member, vulnerable like every Ukrainian and doing all to defend his country. This display of courage and vulnerability has moved millions of citizens of several nations to start protests and manifests around the world.
Knowing that the enemy has stated that him and his family were number one and two targets to be eliminated, Zelenskyy sent out a message to all Ukrainians and world leaders, that he doesn’t need to be evacuated as he will stay to defend his country.
“The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride”, Volodymyr Zelenskyy
4. Visibility and Transparency
Often employees struggle to know exactly what happens in the boardroom, creating fear, breaking motivation and establishing a culture of mistrust that leadership doesn’t act with the employees best interests in mind.
Trust is key and Zelenskyy, when news, social media or any misleading communications may confuse Ukrainian civilians, troops and are simply not true, he makes a point of sending a video, often from his own phone, addressing the nation and clearing the message, to ensuring that the right communication comes from him directly.
“When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs”, Volodymyr Zelenskyy
5. Outstanding problem solving skills
Often pinned as servant leadership, the leader that is an enabler, roadblock remover and ensures that everyone has the tools needed to do their job, outstands best in class in leadership style. A great example of this can be shown when his cabinet, on twitter, addressed Elon Musk to provide Ukraine with Starlink stations to guarantee internet access while under attack.
These are some of the learnings I have extracted by witnessing how this leader, under outstanding pressure, in the middle of a war, ensures civilians and troops keep fighting, migrants join the fight, world leaders trust, respect and support him and manages to maintain a calm and collected posture. The drive and makes of a great leader.
This article has the intent to show a great example of the right values and the makes of a great leader only. I am sure there are many more attributes and values to be extracted, so do share your views in the comments so I can add more values I may have overlooked.
The focus is just on Leadership values and doesn’t intend to explain the current conflict being lived in Ukraine.
Disclaimer: Apologies if some interpretations may offend a reader. I do rely on literal translation at times since English is a second language. My intention with this article is to spread awareness. I welcome your feedback to ensure I will not be constantly making the same errors in translation.
I also write about my own life ,professional experience and learning curve. I am a continuous improvement learner so I welcome you to share extra information and spread awareness with me if you have other ways of analyzing the same issues or you have value-added information to the readers of this article. Thank you for reading.