What We Can Learn from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
The whole world has been watching the terrible crisis currently unfolding between Ukraine and Russia, and all eyes are on the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy as he leads his country to safety. The President of Ukraine embodies all the qualities and traits a true leader should have. He is in the frontlines with his citizens, he is brave and courageous, he shows kindness and empathy, he has proven himself to be a master of hope, he has created unity and many have called him a hero.
The world would certainly be a better and nicer place if we had more leaders like President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. According to https://www.president.gov.ua/en/president/biografiya, Volodymyr Zelenskyy was elected President of Ukraine on April 21, 2019 and he graduated from Kyiv National Economic University, with a law degree. From 1997 to 2003, he was an actor, performer, script writer, producer of the stand-up comedy contest team.
Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic and government-mandated lockdowns, we are facing a surge of change in the way we run our businesses and how we are developing as leaders. The method of how employers attain and retain employees is evolving, the reasons why an employee choosing to work with a certain company is changing drastically and more and more people are opting for working from home to maintain a work-life balance.
According to the McLean & Company 2022 HR Trends Report, leadership competencies will be a strong focus in 2022 and leadership development is critical. According to the below graph, nearly 3 in 4 respondents rate the gap in leadership competencies at their organisation as important or very important.
So how can we as leaders take the first steps to learning from the President of Ukraine.
- Build self-awareness – By reflecting on our thoughts, words and actions when we communicate with others, being aware of ourselves as a leader, how we make employees, colleagues and our family feel, we will build self-awareness as a leader. Building and recognising self-awareness will help us on the path to becoming better leaders.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses for personal growth – We all have strengths and weaknesses. Having a weakness doesn’t make you a bad leader. The fact that you recognise where and how you can improve makes you a good leader, what makes you an even greater leader is working on these weaknesses to turn them into strengths. We all have things we want to work on, from communication skills to speaking abilities.
- Have a happier and positive mindset – According to this article (https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/leaders/why-being-happy-will-make-you-a-better-leader-20220315-p5a4pf) by the Australian Financial Review, experts say that being happier will make you a better leader. In fact, Harvard Business School has a course teaching it’s MBA students to be happy. Happy and positive leaders are less stressful to be around and you will find that your team members respond better to a happier and more positive attitude.
- Kindness and empathy – Traits of kindness and empathy are must-haves for any leader or business owner, especially if you are looking to hire or retain staff. The pandemic has changed the working world for many employees and job seekers, they would rather work from home or find another job than work for a boss that they don’t respect or doesn’t understand them. Communicate with your team, show kindness and empathy and you will see office productivity increase and toxic environments decrease.
- Take control of and accelerate own development – Take control of your own development as a leader and as a person. Don’t worry about what other leaders are doing, do what works for you and what makes you and your team members happy. Every leader is different and every leader has different ways of doing things, including communicating to and hiring employees.
- Have courage – Sometimes disasters like the pandemic happens, but that doesn’t mean that you should sit back and do nothing. Stand up and lead by example, welcome change, communicate what is happening to your team members and evolve with the changing world. Remember to always have a purpose and be resilient.
Tell me how you’re trying to be a more courageous leader below.
Image source – https://www.economist.com/europe/2021/06/05/an-interview-with-ukraines-president-volodymyr-zelensky
By Sonia McDonald
Founder and Managing Director of Leadership HQ and McDonald Inc. Leadership coach, entrepreneur, CEO and author.
Sonia McDonald is changing the face of leadership across the globe. She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, and is known for her mantra ‘Just Lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her transformational coaching, leadership training programs and cultural transformation for organisations and encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped thousands of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
Sonia is a founder and CEO of McDonald Inc., LeadershipHQ and Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and the newly launched Courage Conference. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of leadership and she is beyond committed to her mission around building a world of great leaders.
She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader. She has been recognised by Richtopia as One of the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is a leading coach, an award-winning published author of newly released First Comes Courage, Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and has become an in-demand keynote speaker on leadership, kindness and courage.
Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, kindness, empathy and courage as well as building outstanding leadership across the Globe.