Leadership has always been a topical subject in both academic research and the business world. The success of an organisation is often attributed to its leader. Going by the research in social psychology, people use two primary strategies to navigate up the hierarchy. The first strategy is dominance, where people try to attain social rank by coercion, intimidation, fear or manipulation of behaviour, cognition and emotions. The second strategy is prestige, where a person aims at claiming a leadership position through the display of valued knowledge and skills.
The intricately woven relationship between a leader and his followers plays a critical role in the development of a nation, and any kind of dominance must be avoided. ‘Following’ is often presumed as merely doing what one is told to do and hence takes a backseat, but it’s equally important to assess one’s role as a follower. A truly developed country is created by not merely a great leader but responsible citizens and true patriots who refuse to engage in mental slavery or unquestioned surrender.
The state of a country is largely influenced by the modes of thinking of leaders and collective thoughts that drives the established norms of society. This article is an attempt to reflect upon different ‘modes of thinking’ from the context of individuals, society and state as it can influence our response to a crisis like this pandemic and its outcome. It builds on the foundation of human ‘agency’, the power people have, to think and act and how these choices that may be influenced by our background, social structure, environment and other factors shape the society.