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Navigating Leadership During Times of Global Turmoil: A Compassionate Approach

By Brandon Fargis
October 18, 2023

As I sit down to write this, the distressing images and reports from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine flood our screens and hearts. Amidst a backdrop of other global tensions and upheavals, this conflict adds yet another layer to our collective distress. The immense toll on humanity, with its myriad tales of suffering, loss, and resilience, is a solemn reminder of the fragility of peace and the profound interconnectedness of our global community.

In multinational corporations, the ripple effect of such events is palpable. Colleagues from various cultures and backgrounds come together, bringing with them diverse viewpoints, emotional responses, and, quite often, personal connections to geopolitical events. Many may have family members living in regions affected by conflict, compounding their anxieties. The stress and strain on our shared social and psychological bonds are undeniable.

It’s here that leadership plays a pivotal role. As leaders, the question isn’t whether we should address these events – it’s how. How can we foster an environment where employees feel safe, supported, and understood, especially during tumultuous times?

  1. Open Dialogue: Encourage team discussions where employees can express their feelings and concerns related to global events. This is not about taking political stances but about acknowledging pain, anxiety, and confusion.
  2. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP): Reinforce the availability of EAPs. These programs often offer counseling services, which can be invaluable during times of stress.
  3. Flexible Work Hours: Recognize that some employees may have family or friends in regions affected by conflict. Offering flexibility in work hours can alleviate some of the emotional and logistical pressures they face.
  4. Promote Inclusion: Foster an environment where respect for diverse opinions and backgrounds is paramount. Consider organizing workshops that emphasize empathy, active listening, and intercultural understanding.
  5. Provide Resources: Share reading materials, videos, or webinars that can help employees process their feelings and understand the broader context of global events.

To better equip yourself as a leader during these challenging times, I’d highly recommend the book Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek. It delves into the concept of creating circles of safety within organizations, making it particularly pertinent now.

Navigating the intricacies of leadership, especially amidst global upheavals, requires a delicate blend of strength and empathy. We, as leaders, stand at the crossroads of decision-making and storytelling, shaping the narrative for those who look to us for guidance. In these turbulent times, let’s infuse our actions with understanding and hope. Beyond strategies and tactics, it’s our unwavering commitment to compassion and unity that will truly resonate.

Brandon Fargis

Brandon Fargis is a software executive and neurodiversity thought leader with extensive experience in top software and technology companies. He holds degrees in Psychology, Computer Science, and Business, and has a strong passion for diversity and inclusion, particularly neurodiversity.

Using his unique perspective on technology and people, Brandon helps organizations achieve their goals and improve employee satisfaction. As a passionate advocate for neurodiversity, he has developed a deep understanding of how to create a culture of inclusivity and diversity in the workplace.

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Disclaimer: The ideas, views, and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of International Institute for Learning or any entities they represent.

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