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From the Editor's Desk

Why the World Needs Self-Reflective Leaders

The coronavirus crisis facilitates the rise of autocratic and narcissistic leaders just when we least need them.

When asked what the post-Covid world might look like, French author Michel Houellebecq said, "The same - only worse." While the quip is funny on the surface, there is indeed reason for all of us to wonder where the world is headed.

In a recent webinar, Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Clinical Professor of Leadership Development & Organisational Change, shared his thoughts on what the current crisis means for leaders. Drawing from the teachings of the early Greek philosophers, he said that the inscription on the temple of Apollo in Delphi, "Know thyself", remains utterly relevant to this day. Indeed, a large part of his life's work has been to help executives become more self-reflective leaders.

"Most people are strangers to themselves," he said. A lot of them resort to the manic defence - filling their calendar with a flurry of activities meant to prevent them from having any time to reflect. They are always running, without knowing what they are running for or running to. Also, they feel drained, but they don't know why. Others, having reached the pinnacle of professional success, fail to find meaning. All too often, excess greed has left them very lonely.

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