Thought for the Week: Three leadership mantras to help navigate through crisis

In this series, we're inviting experts to share guidance, reflections and exercises to help social impact leaders through difficult times. This time, Cities4Peace director and leadership coach Mandar Apte shares the three different attitudes that can help leaders make sound decisions while managing their own mental health along the way.

The Covid-19 pandemic is a crisis of gigantic and unimaginable proportions. It has already affected us all – either directly or indirectly, throwing us in uncharted waters.

That’s especially so because of the nature of the virus spread – through asymptomatic carriers – which means that a carrier can transmit the virus to another person before noticing any symptoms of the infection. Almost overnight, we humans have been forced into a “Trust.No.One” world in which social distancing is perhaps the smartest thing to do to break the chain of spread.

As my friend Rajesh Setty writes in his new book, Six Foot World, even when the current situation returns to near normalcy, the damage done by social distancing is near-irreversible for the foreseeable future. 

It is even more important now to manage our mental wellbeing so that we can make decisions with compassion, dignity and grace

If the Coronavirus could speak, it has already given organisational leaders a wake-up call – about reinvigorating the purpose of their organisations and their personal leadership values. The key challenge that leaders will face in addressing the challenges posed by any crisis is their reluctance to change and their resistance to unlearn ways of the past. 

As leaders, our decisions matter. It is even more important now to manage our mental wellbeing so that we can make decisions with compassion, dignity and grace. During my quest to improve my own leadership skills, my meditation teacher, the global humanitarian leader, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, taught me that leaders who have mastered the three traits below will navigate gracefully through any crisis – whether on the personal or the professional front. I hope that they will resonate with you as you look to improve your leadership aura:

1. Passion:

Passion helps inspire and build successful teams and ventures. Do you still have passion to solve problems, and lead with zeal, energy and enthusiasm? Do you honestly and authentically reconnect with your passion, on a regular basis?

2. Dispassion:

Failure and conflicts will arise as we navigate any crisis. Do you move through the ‘ups and downs’ with grace, and without being overly affected by the situation?

3. Compassion:

Some harsh decisions need to be made during crises. Do you take the necessary actions with care and concern for those affected by your decisions?



Our ability to keep our passion alive, sense the future and make appropriate decisions will all depend directly on our state of mind and our consciousness. Ancient practices of yoga and meditation can help develop these traits. The online happiness workshops that I volunteer my time to teach can provide simple, profound breath and meditation-based tools that can empower you to gracefully navigate through the turbulence.

  • Mandar Apte runs Cities4Peace, a nonprofit consultancy that promotes peace and compassion. Download his free guided meditation here.


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