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Binghamton University, State University of New York

COVID-19 pandemic is the perfect time for outstanding leaders to emerge

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many workplaces to move to online formats, that doesn’t mean strong leadership isn’t important. In fact, times of crises are the perfect time for leaders to emerge, according to Joey Tsai, assistant professor at the School of Management at Binghamton University, State University of New York.

“Outstanding leadership appears to emerge in a time of crisis. Outstanding leadership refers to incidents where leaders exercise exceptional influence over followers to obtain notable results. During times of crisis, the direction of complex social systems becomes unpredictable. For instance, in the age of the coronavirus, no one knows what the effective solutions may be and the extent to which this turbulence impacts society as a whole. To respond to those situational changes, outstanding leaders emerge because they enhance feelings of control, provide a framework for collective action, mitigate perceptions of threat associated with crises, and clarify the new paths to goal attainment,” Tsai says.

“Leaders with strong creative problem-solving skills are critical to handle uncertainties and ambiguities associated with crises. For instance, given the newly implemented social distancing policies, leaders will have to be creative using the current virtual tools and platforms to maintain organizational productivity. Therefore, those skills for leaders are important because the function of social systems is designed for maintaining sustainability and stability rather than for responding to uncertainties and ambiguities. Given each crisis is associated with its unique challenges, leaders with strong creative problem-solving skills are effective to find the alternative solutions and redirect collective efforts to achieve goals.”

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