Times of adversity force families to agree a purposePublished on 26 Mar 2020
Next generation of leaders emerge during crises – Matthew Fleming
We talk to our clients a lot about purpose, and how deciding on it gives families a solid framework for decision-making. If there is anything positive to come out of a crisis like the COVID 19 pandemic, it is that it forces people to come together for a common cause.
Leaders really show their mettle – or lack of it – in times of crisis. Today, with the outbreak of COVID 19, we are experiencing a time of extreme uncertainty and disruption, unprecedented on this scale, since the Second World War. All eyes are on our political leaders around the world to see if they are up to the job of reassuring, motivating and communicating clearly with their people.
The families we work with are doing the same – looking to their leader or leaders for guidance on how to proceed. The importance of good communication skills cannot be overstated.
For those with members living in all four corners of the globe, families are heavily reliant on technology to stay in touch with one another and maintain a sense of common purpose. Leaders are working hard to communicate with their wider family to ensure they are unified and ready to work together.
For many of our client families, managing the interests of several generations at once is an everyday reality. Many of them work in companies where if not their actual parents, members of their parents’ generation and their children’s generation are involved in the running of a business. With people living longer generally, leaders are required to be flexible in their approach and have the kind of communication skills to convey often complicated or sensitive information to people many decades apart in age.
A good leader needs emotional intelligence and the ability to engage with a family’s psychological and cultural wellbeing as well as its operational or financial health. We increasingly work with families to help them understand the importance of managing their collective wellbeing, the need for this is particularly stark at the moment when the world waits to see how a global pandemic affects the health of its family members, predominantly the elderly or those with underlying health issues. People look to their leaders for leadership, reassurance and clear communication.
Time and again, during periods of upheaval and change, the next generation has proved itself to be ready. Although difficult in so many ways, if families can work together to establish a common purpose through the coronavirus crisis, it might yet prove fertile ground for new leaders to emerge.
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