10 June 2022

Vsevolod Zelenin, MIM-Kyiv’s visiting professor, coach, and CEO for ZeleninLab shared his ideas about emerging Ukrainian leadership during the MIM TOOLBOX episode. Here are the highlights of his presentation.

- The war is an enormous crisis when all hidden talents are manifested and people pull themselves together. Those who can take responsibility, have enough energy and think outside the box come into the spotlight. They become leaders.

- A true manager discriminates against neither those who can lead nor those who cannot. As a coach, I insist on not expecting things people are incapable of. Support those who can be responsible by delegating and encouraging. However, do not compromise the reputations of those who were good leaders in peacetime. Involve them as consultants who support those who can lead in wartime.

- I think that after the war, corporate culture trends will reverse. In wartime, we need people able to be tough and take extreme measures. In peacetime, we do not need the iron fist rule style. Crisis-time leaders may try to extend their managerial styles into peacetime. That should be balanced by a softer approach and strategic thinking.

- Currently, there are four levels of leadership and four ways to practice them. Firstly, self-leadership. At this level, leaders understand their style and best-fitting strategies. Some are good at recruiting endorsement, others are taking responsibility, etc. Find what you can do best.

- Secondly, advanced leadership is when you learn from those who succeed. We all need to be quick learners during the war. It is high time to look around and learn about new technologies, strategies, approaches, etc., accept, and tailor them to suit your needs. And to do that quickly. 

- Thirdly, creativity and creative leadership. You and your team are generating new ideas and new ways of doing things. It is true leadership because others start following you.

- Fourthly, the so-called global leadership. It is when you think globally rather than tactically or operationally. You are looking ahead and seeing how your business can come to the next level. You become a global player able to bring your business to the global marketplace.

- We need to convert our winning leadership, our creative business solutions, and all the support we are receiving into strategic wins after our victory. It is a long way to our victory yet. We should not limit our ambition to military victory. We need to rethink ourselves and our country to match our military successes.

- The research on our motivation, values, and attitudes during the war was conducted. Why people are fighting so fiercely for Ukraine? The study showed that the Ukrainian strive for freedom and against intimidation contrasts with the Russian imperial ambition of the “strong hand”, rigid hierarchies, expansion, colonialism, and domination. There are two main concepts related to freedom or Ukrainian “volia” – liberty and the will to achieve the goal. It is up to us to build on our “volia” after the war.

- For the first time in 300 years we are manifesting our identity to the world. We are liberating ourselves through our self-identification. It helps us to develop a very Ukrainian corporate culture and winning leadership, one of many distinct national leadership styles. We are smart, resourceful, and quick, and we are ready to fight for our ideas. If our business leaders are ready to think of the whole world as their playground, Ukraine will advance beyond our expectations. For more information please visit the record of the episode