2010 Tutu Fellow Edwin Macharia has written an article titled Leadership in the time of Covid-19 pandemic for Business Daily Africa. In his post, which was published as the pandemic was beginning to ramp up world wide, the global managing partner of Dalberg Advisors explains that leaders must be intentional in how they exercise influence and responsibility to the demands of this pandemic.

In his piece, Edwin says that history will judge the impact of leaders’ decisions during this virus and it will impact their legacies. For Edwin, empathy and compassion are vital anchors in times of crisis and having this perspective will lead to answers that are not always obvious.

In his post, which was published on 23 March as the pandemic was beginning to ramp up globally, he shares some guidance for leaders and their responses during this pandemic. When Chinese officials began reporting cases of a new and unusual virus in the closing days of 2019, few would have predicted that this new coronavirus strain would soon turn bustling cities into ghost towns, lead to international borders being closed, and inspire incipient panic around the world.

Analyzing the impact Covid-19 may have on an organization is a critical first step. Leaders who demonstrate empathy and compassion will look beyond the standard concerns of restricted markets, supply chains, and meeting demands. Compassionate leaders think about the people behind the positions to see the challenges they too are facing. They put themselves in the shoes of their staff and understand the personal challenges that individuals are facing.

Edwin also urges compassionate and responsible leaders to look within their organizations to support staff adequately and in safely. For example, he suggested implementing safe social distancing practices and setting up structures for employees to work remotely.

He said that leaders must also appreciate how rapidly this crisis is evolving. Leaders must work with the information as they receive it, even if this information is later proven invalid. At the same time, leaders must continue communication with staff consistently, explaining decisions that are made and the reasons behind them. 

You can read the full editorial post at Africa Business.


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About AFLI



The African Leadership Institute (AFLI) focuses on building the capacity and capability of visionary and strategic leadership across the continent. Developing exceptional leaders representing all spheres of society, the Institute’s flagship programme is the prestigious Archbishop Tutu Leadership Fellowship. Offering a multifaceted learning experience and run in partnership with Oxford University, it is awarded annually to 20-25 carefully chosen candidates, nominated from across Africa. Alumni of the African Leadership Institute form a dynamic network of Fellows passionately committed to the continent’s transformation, bridging the divide between nations and ensuring that Africa is set centre-stage in global affairs.