The Coronavirus and leadership: a real-time challenge

How is society supposed to move on to ensure equal representation of women’s and men’s rights together with gender balance during the pandemic? How should the real leader act during the lockdown? What could help developing a leader’s potential in the new circumstances?

Participants of Ukrainian Women’s Congress discussed these issues during the discussion platform “Effective leadership in fighting the pandemic”.

Coronavirus pandemic has become a great challenge for political leadership. Every leader has faced a new threat. And every one of them has their own style of reactions. But in a real life the leaders will be estimated by the results of their actions during the crisis and their ability to detect, check, isolate, cure, and mobilize people for restraining the spread of a dangerous virus in cities, regions and countries.

Larysa Haladza, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Canada to Ukraine told about her country’s fight against the coronavirus and mentioned that leadership during the crisis is in absence of fear to talk to people and be aware of their needs. She told about the prime-minister Justin Trudeau who was forced to be self-isolated at home because his wife had got infected with the coronavirus. Despite it, Justin Trudeau kept governing the state, trying to communicate with citizens from home and overcoming panic.

Olena Zhadko, the mayor of Marganets (Dnipropetrovsk region), approved that providing necessary information to people, transparent communication, reducing fake news spreading, and personal patience are really important for great leader.

Maryna Khonda, Deputy Head of the Kyiv City State Administration, in her speech, told that Kyiv city administration was faced with making leading decisions in the most important issues after establishing the quarantine limitations. «Many people stayed at home – retired ones, mothers with children, ones, who lost their jobs. They needed support, but it was tough to provide it fast due to regulations and principles of work with budget funds. Nobody could wait in that situation». Mrs. Khonda told about the decision to launch the United Coordination Center, which helped to organize activities of all public organizations, volunteers, and city services. Due to this, vulnerable people were able to get over 60 thousand of free product packages, sponsored by businesses and funds.

She also reminded that the Kyiv city government had launched a crisis room for domestic violence victims in December 2019. It is supposed to launch one more room by the end of the year and get at least 4 of them in the future.

Kateryna Bulavinova, the UNICEF medical expert, stressed that the ongoing situation is a challenge for every leader. But it is important for leaders to stay honest in any situation. So they have to ask themselves: is people’s life the most precious for me? And if the answer is “yes”, then make important managing decisions.

Leaders in politics and business have spent the past few months passing a real-time leadership exam in front of an embarrassed global audience. Gender has no matter during the crisis when leaders must prove their capacity to correspond to the challenges of time. Success in fighting the Coronavirus could be ensured with the cooperation of medics, politicians, people in business and all the people who are supposed to adhere to quarantine restrictions. The world needs coordinated efforts of the global society.