From Bushfires Generosity to Coronavirus Greed

Why Kind and Courageous Leadership is Critical.

Now is the time to show leadership and be leaders. When bushfires ravaged our eastern states, it seemed like the whole of Australia came together to support those who’d suffered. Fundraisers, including Celeste Barber’s which raised over $51 million, donations of much-needed supplies, even a massive charity benefit concert called Fire Fight Australia; the way we rallied together to help the fire-ravaged communities recover was positively awe-inspiring.

This concert raised over $9 million and was screened in the US, UK and New Zealand, as well as locally here in Australia. That was just last few months – now, we are facing a coronavirus pandemic, and things are so different.

Instead of the empathy and kindness on display during the bushfires, we have selfishness and greed as people hoard ridiculous amounts of toilet paper and other essential grocery items. Pensioners, low-income earners and others in similar positions who cannot afford to stockpile are finding themselves going without the basics. Those who couldn’t stockpile to the extent of the hoarders (for whatever reason) are having to venture many different grocery stores just to find a loaf of bread or roll of toilet paper.

There have been altercations over toilet rolls, due to the desperation people are feeling. When someone has a trolley packed high (before supermarkets had to place limits on items) with more toilet paper than they or their family needs, it’s understandable that tensions would boil over.

The thing that saddens me the most about all this is the incredible contrast between the selflessness during the bushfires and the utter lack of empathy on display now while coronavirus runs rampant. We were so kind and courageous then – and look at us now.

Looking at the psychology behind the hoarding mindset, the ‘every person for themselves’ school of thinking, the answer likely lies in two places. There’s the fear of the unknown, which some people don’t handle well. It causes them to panic and try to prepare for the worst, even if they don’t logically know how to do so. They let their fear guide them, and that leads to the second factor: the survival instinct.

Wanting to survive can do strange things to people’s minds; combined with the fear of the unknown, it’s a recipe for bringing out the worst in people. It takes a lot of courage to be the one to break the cycle, to stand up and say, “No, I will stop and think rationally. I will not take more than my share. I know there are others who need this pasta, rice and so forth.”

The next time you’re at the shops, why not pick up an extra packet of toilet paper for your elderly neighbour? Keep an eye out for anyone you can help, even if it’s as simple as loading bags into their car. These little moments of kindness are what bring back our humanity and keep our spirits up. It’s what being Australian is all about! There’s also the dopamine hit you get when you do something nice for someone – who doesn’t want a little happiness boost?

The same can be said for leaders, too. Not just being a leader in the community, demonstrating kind behaviour, but leaders in workplaces as well. It’s so critical that leaders continue to practice courage and kindness so that positivity reigns and things can continue as normally as possible.

You need to be brave enough to be honest with your team about the coronavirus’s effect on your business, and kind enough to help them through it. It means being empathetic when you’re forced to reduce hours, or a team member is expressing concern about the virus. We can change the way our teams cope with this pandemic by leading by example; being kind and brave is what we should strive for at all times, not just now.

No matter what, you must be aware of all the hearsay that is out there on social media. There’s plenty of fear mongering happening and flat-out false statements being made, which will only add to the fear. It’s important to not buy into the hysteria; you do not need to hoard toilet paper or whatever else, just be sensible and it will be better for all of us.

Just be kind. Just be courageous. Here’s hoping we can get back to the kind and courageous Australia we know we can be.

Finally pick up the phone and start connecting with others and ask them if they need help or if they are okay. This is the time we all need connection.

We are truly focused on being kind and courageous during this time and find out more about our FREE leadership memberships, webinars, courses, resources and keynotes for you here.

Stay Kind. Stay Courageous.

Sonia x

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