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LESSONS FROM WOMEN LEADERS DURING THE PANDEMIC
22 February 2021

A recent survey found that women outscored men on most leadership competencies, including critical traits needed to manage a crisis successfully. Here are three lessons we can learn from female leaders during Covid-19

Empathy

Society has often faulted women for being too kind and caring to be leaders. The problem lies in the fact that we perceive “kindness and tenacity as opposites.” During the start of the Covid-19 emergency, studies found that women-led states, such as New Zealand (led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern), had better outcomes in their response to Covid-19. When leadership is coupled with kindness, leaders act in the best interest on behalf of their teams, organisations, and citizens.

Agility

Today's companies need agile leadership to secure a successful future - having leaders who are people-oriented, with high emotional intelligence, including traits such as listening, humility, and empowerment. During the Covid-19 outbreak, leaders who listened to health experts and made quick decisions, such as Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, successfully maintained low infection rates and protected countries.

Motivation

A participatory approach in crises yields changes beyond short-term gains. Studies show that compared to their male counterparts, female executives are more likely to lead through inspiration. For example, recent polls of Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who mobilised social media influencers to motivate people to stay at home to flatten the infection curve, showed 85 per cent support of her handling of the pandemic.