What kind of leaders should the world look up to? Discussion in Lviv

4 Jun 2024

«Leadership crisis at a time of global challenges» – one of the most pressing topics today gathered interested participants in a discussion organized by UCU Business School and UCU Center for Leadership in Lviv. Together with speakers Gerard Seijts, Sophia Opatska, Nazar Kupybida and Andriy Rozhdestvenskyy, the participants talked about how leadership affects the quality of decisions made in politics, war, business, and the social sphere, as well as what the current leadership crisis is and what solutions we can find together.

Dean Williams, president of the international research and consulting group The Leaders Compass, claims that a leader is a person who conveys reality as it is. According to Andriy Rozhdestvenskyy, CEO of UCU Center for Leadership, a true leader must have three main qualities: competence, dedication, and a strong character. We see incredible examples of leaders, but at the same time we lament that they are lacking. The modern crisis of leadership can be «cured» only with the help of the development of leaders. At the same time, the most important thing in finding candidates for high positions and training leaders is their desire to do something big, valuable, and it’s not about money or fulfilling KPI. It’s about leaders wanting real change.

Business leaders have more credibility than state leaders – but that’s not something to be proud of – comments Gerard Seijts, professor of organizational development at Ivey Business School. After all, leaders make conceptual decisions that affect organizations, teams, and the world, and this is incredible pressure. Especially in today’s Ukraine, in times of war, when the world demands Ukrainians to defend democracy.

«The world requires Ukrainians to protect democracy. I don’t know how you do it, but the whole world should learn from you», said Gerard Seijts, professor of organizational development at Ivey Business School.

Gerard Seijts believes that it is the Ukrainians who are now becoming an example of true resilience, and it is they who should be asked how they manage to do it and listen to their advice.

Regarding the role of a true leader, he added: «We need to ask ourselves, «Who am I becoming when I do something?» It’s about self-reflection, which helps a lot. Maybe we should stop and slow things down? Find time for growth, learning and developmen» – advises Gerard Seijts.

«People should be given more freedom, managers should be able to make decisions with less control» – Nazar Kupybida notes.

Together with the participants of the discussion, the speakers tried to find answers to «What is the cause of the leadership crisis today?», because this is a rather complex question.

Sophia Opatska commented that this is mainly due to the fact that people do not understand the risks they are taking and the lack of humanity in the so-called leaders. There is also an opinion that we ourselves are responsible for the leadership crisis, because we independently push leaders to make decisions, and in recent decades we elected people who will make convenient choices for us, and not difficult and important decisions, – believes Sophia.

«On the example of UCU, the key to overcoming the leadership crisis is communication, not only horizontally or vertically, but also diagonally. And the main thing is that it’s open!» – Sophia Opatska stressed. It is honest, sincere communication and a people-centered approach that Sophia advises to pay attention to.

We thank the speakers for their deep insights and important words for reflection and all the participants for their participation and activity. Very soon, we will also share with you the material from the Kyiv event.

UCU Business School is a school with European values ​​and approaches that has been developing an open and responsible business community in Ukraine for 16 years. A modern educational campus in Lviv, the best practice teachers and foreign lecturers, partnerships with the world’s top universities, an active alumni community. The mission of the school is «Ukraine on the business map of the world», because here they believe that only strong companies with ethical approaches and global thinking are able to strengthen Ukraine both internally and its brand on the world map.

UCU Center for Leadership is a joint project of UCU Business School, the UCU Institute of Leadership and Management, and UCU School of Management, implemented in partnership and cooperation with the Ivey Business School Leadership Institute. UCU Center for Leadership‘s mission is to develop a new generation of leaders in the business, public administration, nonprofit, and military sectors through education, research, and partnerships with leading global institutions.