Lessons of Leadership During a Pandemic

Who knew that 2020 would become a war zone. It started off as a very distant threat in China that few thought would spread to the world. Now we are seeing cases rise and intensive care units (ICUs) fill up due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

With the world on lockdown there are many examples emerging on leadership some poor, some excellent. Here is at least one principal and example to learn from.

Remove barriers for your teams

Despite your political alignment there are lessons to be learned from how some leaders are handling the turbulent times. Gov. Cuomo, is exhibiting leadership principles that we can also work on applying.

You have to do what it takes to let your teams be successful. Sometimes this means tearing down barriers to their mission. His example includes regulations being waived, taking down the “red tape”, and prioritizing the right thing to do. This is what leaders should do during a crisis, and really during every day operation to accomplish their mission. Here are some examples from @NYGovCuomo’s Twitter:

Oftentimes it is difficult to tell what is purely just for the public eye to look good in front of the press versus what ends up being practically helpful. If these procedures actually become fruitful and begin to help people address this crisis then it is an example to be followed. No red tape, regulations being waived, doing the right thing, these are what we should be implementing in our own mindsets, lives, and workplaces.

Sometimes you are the barrier.

It is very possible that you can be the barrier to the mission. Do not be the roadblock that everyone has to go through in order to get things done. Do not be the bottleneck. Mentor leaders that are closer to the frontlines to be able to approve projects according to the goals, mission, and your intent. Practice what Jocko Willink calls, Decentralized Command

Prioritize the mission.

Your mission has to be at the forefront. You have to take into account that a leader’s loyalty must be to his or her people, which should go hand in hand with accomplishing the mission. This really matters, especially during a crisis. Ben Horowitz, in his book, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a business when there are no easy answers”, describes it as doing whatever it takes and being a War Time CEO . This means being aggressive to communicate the mindset of survival. That all aspects of what is being done must be taken in reference to the survival of the company and therefore the livelihood of the people making the company run. 


Sometimes leadership seems so straightforward and simple. Why would anyone bother writing about it? Leadership is as simple as the art of painting a picture. The tools aren’t complex. It is simply a canvas, paintbrushes, and paint, but when it comes to implementing the tools to create a masterpiece it is much more difficult than it seems. Keep experimenting and applying what you learn from others. Reflect and identify where you can take away barriers in your own life, mindset, or for the people around you.

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