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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 81-84

Response to the COVID-19 pandemic in India: Case studies on leadership in crisis situations

1 The INCLEN Trust International, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Community and Family Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
3 GRID Council, Delhi NCR, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Archisman Mohapatra
D-401, Saket Dham Apartments, Sector 61, Noida - 201 301, Uttar Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijhas.IJHAS_112_20

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On January 30, 2020, India reported its first case of (COVID-19). In this article, we explore insights into leadership in crisis situations as the country combats the pandemic. We examine dimensions of leadership from two perspectives – positional, and systemic, and the success and challenges that lie therein. We consider the leadership-in-crisis vignettes using the address by the Prime Minister wherein the declaration of nation-wide lockdown was made (positional), and that of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which suffered from a leadership vacuum as it combated the pandemic (systemic). We report that strategic communication could help bring stakeholders on-board with ease and enthusiasm, complementing a preemptive and graded national response, while systemic failures or stand-stills could compromise the pandemic response despite wide societal engagement and broad political will. Crises situations increase the demand on leaders exceptionally and make their role much more complex, expansive, and time-sensitive. However, at the same time, the system must build the inherent resilience to absorb and overcome shocks, and circumvent dependencies. In summary, leadership-in-crisis requires self-adequacy.

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