Some leaders emerge in the most difficult times that inspire a whole new generation of leaders.
These leaders do not choose, they are chosen. It’s as if they’ve molded and molded themselves through their experiences to lead in times and situations where most would run or fall.
Enter Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The former actor and comedian has become a symbol of wartime courage and leadership. When Russian President Vladimir Putin began invading Ukraine, most people thought the tiny country wouldn’t fight much. If that weren’t enough, the far less experienced leader Zelenskyy would flee his homeland for safety in the West.
Insert a plot twist.
Zelenskyy took a very different approach to leadership, which we all need to learn from. He chose to lead from the front lines, and it inspired millions around the world, including his fellow Ukrainians.
Not only did he reject the offer to flee, he told the United States, “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a round.” In a video posted last Saturday morning, Zelenskyy revealed that he was still in Kyiv. “I am here. We are not laying down our arms. We will defend our country because our weapon is the truth, and our truth is this is our land, our country, our children, and we will defend all of that.”
Ukrainian or not, Zelenskyy is brave and brave to stay with his people and fight on the front lines while risking his own life.
It is unclear what the next few weeks, months or years hold for Ukraine, Russia and the world. However, the leadership lesson is clear:
A leader’s drive to be on the front lines is inspiring and powerful because it drives people to action.
Now, that’s not to say that every leadership situation requires a country’s president to fight on the front lines or a company’s CEO to work in the weeds. However, their willingness to do so demonstrates their commitment to the mission and their people.
Frontline leadership is brave
I wrote in Building the Best about five unique leadership styles, with “high style” being the best. I’ve never been so sure that leaders whose style is Elevate would be willing to lead from the front lines. When leaders make courageous decisions like dressing up, working long hours, or solving big problems with their employees, it makes them authentic and reliable.
When leaders make the courageous decision to lead from the front lines, it makes them authentic and inspiring.
When former US President Donald Trump was asked about Zelensklyy, he replied, “You never know bravery. Some people think they’re brave and they’re not. Other people don’t think that they are not very brave, and they walk You never know until you are tested Zelenskyy is tested at the highest level, and so far he has shown great leadership and bravery.
Whether you consider yourself brave or not, one way to increase your courage is to think of others instead of yourself. This is exactly what the best leaders think because they know they are working for their people and not the other way around.
Today, Ukraine and Russia are meeting for the first time on the border with Belarus to discuss peace talks. Although the results of these meetings are unknown, there is a leadership lesson to be learned.
Be prepared to lead like a Zelenskyy.