The world has been focused on the Russia/Ukraine war for a few weeks and almost everyone would have to agree that the leadership of Ukraine's President Zelensky has been heroic.
He has shown his commitment to his country and done everything he can to inspire his people and rally the world to the cause of Ukraine. I've heard a number of people state that the US could use this kind of leadership right now.
That being set aside, there are some great lessons we can learn from Zelensky's leadership.
First, let me say that there is a lot happening in this conflict and neither side are angels. But, Russia is the aggressor invading a sovereign nation and no matter how many issues it has, that is wrong.
President Zelensky did not pack up bags of money and run giving up the country, like a lot of leaders have done in the past in situations like this. Instead, he stood firm, showed his commitment to his country and people and had inspired the world in many ways.
Here are 3 universal lessons you can take from Zelensky's leadership.
1.) Choose Your Principles and Stand for Them
Zelensky has stood on his principles and has not wavored. I think that is why the world is so infatuated with him. In today's world, to see a leader clearly state their principles, stand for them, and back them up no matter what on the world stage is refershing and courageous. Keep in mind that just a few years ago, Zelensky was a comedian and actor playing a president on TV. He is an unlikely hero, but has shown remarkable strength by sticking to his principles and it is resonating with the world. As a business owner, what are you principles? How do you stand for them no matter what is happening?
2.) Never Underestimate People Who Have Nothing to Lose
Zelensky could have ran away when the Russians initial invaded, but not only did he stay, but he has shown his unfallpable commitment to fighting for his country. For him, there is no turning back. He has "burned the boats." And he is the #1 target of the Russians. If they capture him, he is a dead man. He knows this, but has accepted it and will fight until he either wins or takes his last breath. Telling President Biden that he "needs amunition, not a ride," when given a chance to evacuate, shows that he is all in. You may not be in a war, but do you look at your business in this way? Are you all in? To succeed, you must be.
3.) A Small Group Deeply Devoted to a Cause Can Do Remarkable Things
No one expected Ukraine to stand as long as it has against the Russians. Conventional wisdom says they cannot win, but when I see thousands of people picking up arms and going into Ukraine to fight against the invading army, it tells me that Russia is in for a long fight. Already, we've seen examples of great bravery and incredible things that the outmatched Ukrainians have accomplished. It's possible, because they are deeply devoted. They have a very strong "why," which is keeping their country and not be ruled by Russia. This smaller group which will become more of an ongoing insurgency if Russia completes its takeover has done and will do remarkable things in their fight. They are devoted to their cause and that won't change. For entrepreneurs, this goes to discussion on culture. Is your team a small group deeply devoted to your business's cause? If not, how can you foster this devotion?
What is happening in Ukraine is sad and it will get worse before it ends. I don't know if Zelensky will make it or not, but I do know his example will live on for years to come.
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