Leadership in times of crisis

Hi! I’m Sonida, 21 years old and currently studying International Studies at Leiden University. This year, I decided I wanted to challenge myself further by applying for AIESEC Leiden. I’m now the online marketing manager and I’m really liking it thus far. Being able to team up with not only people from my LC in Leiden but also with members all over the Netherlands makes it all the more enjoyable!

COVID-19 has brought the world unforeseen circumstances and has undoubtedly made remarkable changes to our daily lives. It is during a crisis like this, that we turn to those who we believe are able to send us in the right direction. Now more than ever, we turn to those capable of leading us.

World leaders and the decisions they make are being watched and monitored through hawkeyes. They have been met with immense pressure to act on uncertain and ever-changing situations which will either make them gain or lose public trust. But not only world leaders are being asked to adapt, we as citizens are also forced to restructure our routines and abide to certain rules.

Crises urge us to become flexible, adaptable and creative with the situation that has been thrown into our hands. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented solutions, and if you think of it, the pandemic has brought out leadership qualities in us that deserve to be acknowledged.

Even though the corona crisis forced the whole world into social distancing, self-isolation, and maybe even bulk buying, we cannot ignore the fact that it has also allowed us to be more empathic and kind towards each other which has a great impact on those around us.

When countries went into lockdown and people lost their jobs, we saw landlords lifting some of the weight off their tenants’ shoulders by waiving rents. We have seen restaurant owners that were now out of business, offer meals and drinks for those that could not afford their groceries anymore. We have also seen people donate masks to hospitals in need, doing groceries for elderly neighbours, and even cheering each other up by making music!

All these people did not do it for their personal gain, but merely to help out others. These selfless acts of kindness in itself may not seem much to them personally, but they all chose to be leaders by being solution-oriented, self-aware, empowering others, and most importantly, by being world citizens.

The world may have not been prepared for the devastation of the pandemic, but it sure has brought out the humanity in its world citizens. We have seen that even the smallest acts of kindness during a pandemic matter, and it shows us that anyone is capable of being a leader. The question is: what will you do to become a leader in times of crisis?

This post was written by AIESEC in the Netherlands. We offer international voluntary projects and professional internships with the aim of developing leadership in youth. 

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