Important leadership life lessons from Ukraine Crisis

Russia invaded Ukraine and the images coming out in media are scaring enough for everyone to realize the horrific impact of war on human lives and soul. Is it a decision taken hastily or its well planned strategic step taken by Russia? Well, only time will have answer to this all-important question however the current situation forces me to imagine a world without Ukraine. Russia will surely annex or will disintegrate Ukraine if at all wishes to let it function independently.

My heart beats for Ukrainians and people stranded in war torn country. It’s motivating for Ukrainians to know that their leader chooses to fight with them instead of running away from responsibilities. Mr. Volodymyr Zelenskyy hats off to you. Unlike other leaders in the past, you choose not to take asylum and decide to stay with your people.

While I have all the appreciation for Mr. Zelenskyy for staying with his people, I don’t think historians will be kind to him because he committed some mistakes which no leader can afford to do, knowing your neighbor is as powerful as Russia. It’s a great lesson for leaders, individual, businessman and corporates

  • Keep empowering youUkraine gave up nukes post separation from USSR trusting that world powers will protect it from invasion. A country which was the hotbed of production for weapons like missile, Fighter jets, guns, tanks etc have stopped manufacturing weapons. Now they don’t have weapons to counter the invasion by Russia. Do you know- You are the leader of your life in corporate world or in personal life. One big leadership lesson- don’t give up something which belongs to you. It will come back to haunt you. Always keep the learning hat on and enrich yourself with upcoming technology. Staying relevant with time is important otherwise someone will push you out.
  • You will get help only if you are strongUkraine leadership committed sin trusting USA and EU countries that they will help them in the time of crisis. Its human behavior that strong people help strong people. In other way around, Strong countries help strong countries. EU almost forced Ukraine to choose between EU and Russia. Now Ukraine is paying the price. Whether in corporate life or in your personal life, always work on you to make you strong with skills, knowledge etc because the truth is no one care if you are weak. They will leave you on your own in times of crisis.
  • Cordial relationship with team membersYou can’t change your team mates just like you can’t change your neighbors. Leadership lessons advocate, try to be as strong as your neighbor or try to have good relationship with your neighbor. Ukrainian leadership failed on both accounts. The first one who will come for your support you are your neighbors, team members (in corporate world) and in personal life, your family members. Hence, it’s important to have good relationship with your team. Vice-versa, the first one to go against you can be your neighbor as it happened in the case of Russia.
  • Anticipate the move of your competitorGreat leaders anticipate the move of their competitor and remain prepared to counter them. Ukrainian leadership caught napping when Russia invaded their country. They are forced to look west, east, and finally to sky for God to come and help them. A pigeon may choose to close its eyes but that doesn’t mean hunter will not attack it. As business leaders, its outmost important to keep an eye on competition and anticipate the move of your competitor. That’s the only way to survive in a competing market.
  • The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend- We all do this mistake in life. I won’t blame Ukrainian leadership for trusting in this formula. However, it works if it is mutually beneficially for both the parties. Here, Ukraine became a pawn in the hands of EU and NATO countries. NATO countries used Ukraine for their benefit to counter Russia and in crises, left Ukraine on its own. A very important life lesson here, never become a pawn between the fight of two powerful people because ultimately its you who has to pay the price.
  • Never provoke people who are stronger than you- This is the simplest of the theories of human behaviour which was ignored by Ukrainian leadership. They kept provoking Russia from time to time. First, they made intention to join EU and recently submitted application for it, and then they make intention of joining NATO public. And that was the final nail in the coffin. Its important for all leaders in corporate world to learn and not directly compete with a rival which is far stronger than you. Start-ups can learn from this Ukrainian crisis and don’t take mighty organization head on when you are new in the market. Slowly build your markets and then take on the competition at the opportune time. The same is true for everyone in personal life.
  • Don’t take good people for granted- After separation from USSR, Ukraine always voted against India in global platforms like United Nations, and this could be under the influence of USA and west countries. It’s important to note here that India and Ukraine have no bilateral dispute but still Ukraine always choose to vote against India. Ukrainian leadership tried to take good Indian people for granted and now when invaded, they are asking for help from India. India still helping Ukraine with medical aids and other assistance, but this is because of the stronger values of Indian people to protect anyone who ask for help. Indians believe in Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (The world is one family). In life, we tend to ignore genuinely good people because of other people influence and then later had to pay the price. So, whether in corporate or in personal life, please don’t take good people for granted.

Trust is a process, and it takes time. Only time will tell us on what will happen to Ukraine, but this crisis has once again put the spotlight on the failed institution like United Nations to protect weaker countries from the powerful nations like USA and Russia. More worries are in store for mankind as I am afraid that this conflict is not going to stop here. It can potentially lead to weapon race and global economic crisis.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Satish says:

    Prit it is a fantastic write up. Well balanced views. And very important thoughts.

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