Leadership in a Collapsing World when Faced with Insurmountable Problems

Leadership When Faced with a Perfect Storm of Collapsing World

It would not be an exaggeration to say that we are in the midst of a slow motion collapse of our systems and the world in general.

Whether it is climate change that is threatening our way of life or excessive debt and extreme inequality rupturing the social fabric, there are many problems that leaders have to confront in the present times.

So, how do leaders strategise and come up with solutions, if there are any solutions at all. As the cliché goes, there are no easy answers to complex problems and in the contemporary world, there are problems aplenty and while there are solutions, they are not easy to implement and execute.

Indeed, what the world is now facing is the Convergence of several factors that has led to a Perfect Storm of trends and events where the very survivability of the World as We Have Known It is threatened.

This is the reason why democracies around the world see saw between hope and despair as each election brings forth leaders who promise the moon and instead, once elected, revert to either diverting the attention of the people or worse, simply letting the situation worsen.

Populism, Radical Change, and why Modi and Trump are Behaving the Way they are

For instance, both Narendra Modi, the present Prime Minister of India, and Donald Trump, the president of the United States, were elected on a populist platform with the central slogan being that Good Days are Here.

However, once elected, they have resorted to Showmanship and Empty Rhetoric and some experts draw comparisons between them and the mythological Emperor Nero who was fiddling while Rome Burnt.

Of course, there are legions of followers for both these leaders who point to the many achievements that they have accomplished and insist with almost religious and fanatical fervour that Modi and Trump are indeed the ones that they have elected for a reason.

While it is hard to argue with such blind devotional sentiments, the reality is that the American Economy that was booming mainly due to the good work done by Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, is now showing signs of slipping into recession and the Indian Economy has now entered a slowdown due to the confluence of cyclical, systemic, and person made disasters that is threatening to induce social unrest and massive chaos.

Indeed, one can very well ask Trump why there are Millions on Food Stamps and Modi about why jobs are disappearing instead of being created.

Not all Leaders Give Up: the Examples of Obama and Kejriwal

Having said that, it is not the case that all leaders when faced with a collapsing world indulge in marketing and slick advertising to diver the attention of the people.

For instance, both Barack Obama and the Chief Minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, promised to End the Status Quo and overhaul the system from within.

Indeed, the reason why these leaders were elected in the first place is that their message resonated with the Aam Admi or the Common Person who were fed up of the problems that were plaguing their lives and who were met with indifference by their elected officials.

However, it is a moot point as to whether these leaders met the expectations of their voters and citizens as once in office, they had to confront the insurmountable bureaucracy and stiff opposition from other parties in the system.

This brings us to the question as to whether the present world is beyond redemption and in such a case, what must leaders do.

While leaders should and can solve some of the problems and try their hand at others, the key point to note is that they must at least attempt to solve the problems.

What we need are Idealistic Vision and Ruthless Execution

So, what we need from our leaders is a very hand on kind of leadership where they must both articulate a vision and have a sense of mission to implement their agendas.

While many contemporary leaders have the necessary vision, what they seem to be lacking is the nuts and bolts approach that is badly needed.

Having said that, while Kejriwal and Modi may be on the opposite ends of the political spectrum, both of them are known to be micromanagers and practice direct hands on approach.

While they might not be able to save the world, they are at least trying unlike many world leaders who are simply content to enrich themselves when in power.

In this case, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, is an example of a leader who is both Idealistic and ruthlessly ambitious in his approach.

On the other hand, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, is known to be a liberal but with a very weak kneed approach to leadership.

Therefore, as we have seen so far, collapse can be managed in a humanistic manner so that every citizen feels the change at the grassroots level.

The Difference between Leaders and Statesmen

Lastly, the other point here is that leaders are elected precisely because people want a change and hence, it is a responsibility that the leaders have to their constituents that they need to discharge and hence, there is no excuse for inaction.

Moreover, full scale collapse does not serve anybody’s purpose and hence, it is better to be incremental and radical at the same time so that leaders are both reactive and proactive.

To conclude, it is easy for leaders to give up when confronted with the many problems, however, the difference between a leaders and a statesman lies in the way they approach the problems.


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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


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