As a massive ‘Game of Thrones’ fan, the image of Daenerys emerging out of the ashes unscathed having hatched her baby dragons in fire, inspired me to reflect on the immense opportunity in front of leaders right now, amidst the COVID-19 chaos.

I think of this scene, Daenerys’s courage, unwavering belief and choice to be the leader her people needed her to be, to guide them into the future.

At this precise moment, as fear grips stock markets, workforces and the public at large, I wonder if there has there ever been a time in recent history that strong, grounded, creative leadership was needed more? When the system is hurting, we turn to our leaders for strength and guidance.

Plenty of people will be operating reactively to the fear they are seeing and the pressure mounting across the globe. We will all have seen evidence of this already. The question is – in this time of immense volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, what is our choice and what do we choose to be known for our in our leadership right now?

Diamonds are forged under great pressure, and so is great leadership. Now is the time for all leaders to lean deeper into their creative leadership capacities than they have ever had to do before, to ground and settle, exude perspective and calm, to unite and include, inspire and create hope. And of course, we need to step fully up to responsibility, and plan strategically in full awareness of the full system and social environment, but doing so with care, compassion for those around us, knowing that the impacts are being felt far and wide.

Our leadership will not only be defined on ‘what’ we do as leaders responding to the challenges and pressures on us, but ‘how’ we do it. We have a responsibility to be the leaders worthy of following, to be brave enough to connect with our and others vulnerability, to see and seize opportunities to create and innovate, to be brave (and wise) enough to let go and to face the fire, knowing that we will all be well on the other side.

Undoubtably challenging times will be ahead. But with strong creative leaders who connect with the needs of their human systems, we will emerge – and be better than before.

Sonya Trau

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