Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge

Mapping Effective Covid-19 Engagement: Four Responses to the Challenge

The second kind of challenge being faced by the courageous leader concerns decisiveness. It is very tempting to freeze when facing complexity, unpredictability and turbulence—such as seems to be the case with COVID-19. We are particularly inclined to freeze when there are contradictions swirling all around us—as there are in the polarizing pull between virus-related social distancing and so-called herd immunization policies (Bergquist, 2020). One is inclined to simply keep one’s balance when navigating the turbulent waters of contemporary societies. This often means vacillating between several polarized policies (Johnson, 1996).

Courageous Ruby Red leaders must take action rather than freeze. They must move forward rather than simply find balance—lingering on each side of the polarized policy long enough to determine the appropriate action to be taken on behalf of this policy (Bergquist, 2020). Just as the Wise Golden Yellow leader must help other members of the organization, community or society to appreciate the multiple perspectives that can be taken in viewing and analyzing the multi-tiered and dynamic challenges of something like the COVID-19 virus, so the Courageous Golden Yellow leader must enable her organization, community or society to take action and find an appropriate path—despite the fact that multiple directions can be taken. There are many forks in the road; however, in each instance, a decision must be made about the fork in the road to be taken. This resides at the heart of Ruby Red’s challenge: being decisiveness in the midst of polarity and contradiction.

A Map of Vision: The Azure Blue Response

The third leadership and virus-response map focuses on vision. This is a response style that emphasizes the formulation of a thoughtful yet motivating vision of what it would mean to win the war with the virus: How would we know if the virus is truly contained? The answer to this question will be elusive. It depends on the specific region of the world that is being considered. It also depends on the level of tolerable risk: how many deaths will be “acceptable” if we are to open up and revitalize the economy in our country or in the world? What are the tradeoffs between lives and livelihoods? There is also the matter of what we collectively desire regarding our world (or at least our community or country) after the virus has been contained or all (or most) people have been either self-immunized or protected with an injection. What is the envisioned state of the post-virus society? Do we want there to be any major changes – and toward what end do we direct these changes?


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About the Author

William BergquistWilliam Bergquist, Ph.D. An international coach and consultant in the fields of psychology, management and public administration, author of more than 50 books, and president of a psychology institute. Dr. Bergquist consults on and writes about personal, group, organizational and societal transitions and transformations. His published work ranges from the personal transitions of men and women in their 50s and the struggles of men and women in recovering from strokes to the experiences of freedom among the men and women of Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. In recent years, Bergquist has focused on the processes of organizational coaching. He is coauthor with Agnes Mura of coachbook, co-founder of the International Journal of Coaching in Organizations and co-founder of the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations.

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