“Nothing is so bad that it’s not good for something” is an old Danish expression which my grandmother always used to say.

When I’m looking at the desperate need to enhance skilled leadership – not just good but skilled leadership – COVID-19 has provided a welcomed eye-opener. These times bring out the best of all leaders. It’s leadership that shows the best of the employee, and leadership that also shows the best across the entire company value chain – the organization, the top management, and the board of directors.

COVID-19 has taught us the hard way that inclusion rather than exclusion is the right way forward. That benevolence, earnest interest for other people and unison rather than silos build a sustainable bridge that will last long into the future. A bridge of solid materials that do not rust, but instead turns into a monument of beauty.

That is the bridge that I will walk – together with the many skilled leaders who truly want to lead. That is the bridge that I will walk together with the skilled leaders who will define skilled leadership, both now and in the future.

The bridge that I do not want to walk is together with the people who sit in their ivory towers and refer to themselves as leaders because of fancy job titles and network references on their CV, while reality reflects something quite different.

Thank you COVID-19 for giving us this push right in the heart. Thank you for this wakeup call.

There is no longer room for neglecting empathy when meeting new people on your path. Where inhumane leadership is accepted and tolerated and where bad excuses build the foundation for growth, weeds will grow that will limit people’s freedom and potential rather than improving and celebrating it. That is where you will see instant consequences and meet the limits of how far you can take your company.

The value of compassion

When applying heart-centered leadership, the value of compassion and how far we can take it is clearly embraced by the recipients, rather than relying on control mechanisms and relations that cause stress and fear and consequently shut down inclusion and innovation due to the brain being in a constant state of “fight or flight”.

We have been too hesitant to undergo a drastic change from incompetent leadership which does not honor empathy and compassion. Hence, we are now desperately seeking skilled, heart-centered leadership – the only type of leadership that establishes safety. Safety which is a foundation for sharing. Sharing which builds and rebuilds – and building and rebuilding which ensure growth through inclusion rather than exclusion. Because in the face of love, everyone is equal.