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  • Writer's pictureHassan Younes

5 Ways Leaders’ Complacency May Have Caused the COVID-19 Pandemic

Had global leaders not been complacent, the COVID-19 pandemic wouldn’t have festered and caused so much havoc. And many lives would’ve been saved.

Quantifying the devastating damage COVID-19 has had on the world is almost impossible. It’s been years since the outbreak of the virus, but the world is still reeling from its effects.

At the peak of the pandemic, over 100 million people got sick worldwide and thousands died every day.

Additionally, we had to physically distance ourselves from each other to limit the spread of the virus. And over time, the whole world went on lockdown and people stayed indoors all the time.

These changes impacted our social lives as well as our mental well-being. It caused increased levels of anxiety in many people, which limited their quality of life.

Such was the impact COVID had on each individual. As a community, the effects were equally devastating.

To start with, it disrupted the education system and brought commercial activities to a screeching halt. This inactivity put many people out of business and a lot of people lost their jobs. Several economic sectors and industries were also forced to shut down.

In essence, the pandemic set the world back several years. And it will take a lot of time before the world fully recovers from it.

But did you know that this situation could’ve been averted?

The pandemic, when it broke out, could’ve been stopped from becoming a pandemic. Unfortunately, political and health leaders all over the world were complacent with the virus. That’s why it turned out the way it did.

This article will examine 5 different ways in which leaders’ complacency brought about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 5 Ways

Way #1 - They Underestimated the Virus

The biggest reason for COVID-19 spreading all over the world was that people underestimated the virus.

When the outbreak started in China, the Chinese government didn’t take proactive measures to curtail its spread. They underestimated the potency of the virus and even tried to cover things up instead. That was why the virus quickly spread from there to the rest of the world.

Governments of other countries were also complicit in this behavior. When reports about the virus first emerged, they paid no heed to it. They didn’t give a thought about it coming to their shores and the effects it could have on their countries.

By the time these leaders started taking measures to curtail its spread, it was too late. COVID-19 was already fast becoming rampant in their respective countries and would soon deal a devastating blow to the whole world.

The underestimation or disregard of a potential danger is a major symptom of complacency. It manifests through lackadaisical and nonchalant behaviors.

When you have these qualities, you’ll see potential dangers but won’t take proactive actions to evade or curb them. As a result, a danger you should’ve avoided would eventually befall you and cause major damage in ways you never imagined.

Way #2 - They Undervalued Science

The COVID-19 pandemic wouldn’t have lasted long if global leaders didn’t undervalue science.

At the onset of the pandemic, several scientific studies were conducted on how to combat the virus and curb its spread. However, many national leaders didn’t support these studies or take them seriously. They also disregarded the results of the research concerning the virus.

Some leaders even politicized the recommendations from the research and criticized the scientists. This created division amongst their citizens and further paved the path for the transmission of the virus.

When leaders neglect the recommendations of experts on a serious issue, things usually end in disaster.

Oftentimes, it happens because they’re complacent. Instead of taking time to understand matters that are foreign to them, they’ll rely on personal opinions, which tend to worsen the situation.

As a leader, you have to keep improving yourself every day in order to be better. Part of this involves understanding new innovations and paying heed to the recommendations of experts. Doing so will help you banish complacency from your operations and help you excel.

Way #3 - They Responded Slowly to the Outbreak

When news of a new coronavirus emerged in China, world leaders were slow to respond to the threat. They didn’t tighten their borders or set up measures to prevent the virus from entering their countries.

Even when they started having cases of the virus in their countries, they were slow to take action. And by the time they started putting things in place, the virus had spread far and wide. Curtailing it had become a more difficult and tedious task.

Leaders have to be proactive in preventing their operations from different threats. Then, the next best thing is to take swift action whenever issues occur. Delaying action may cause irreparable damages.

As they say, stitch in time saves nine.

Way #4 - They Relied on Past Successes

The world had successfully combated different dangerous viruses before the arrival of COVID-19.

Influenza, Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), seasonal flu, and even Ebola are examples of such illnesses caused by different viruses. Governments introduced systems and policies to arrest the spread of those viruses and prevent severe human losses.

Due to past successes, they approached COVID-19 in a business-as-usual manner. They didn’t build better systems and update their policies and protocols concerning battling transborder infections.

That was why governments all over the world responded slowly to the outbreak. As such, managing and combating the virus took so long. And as a result, the pandemic claimed many lives.

When you rely on past glories and stop improving yourself and your operations, you’ll become vulnerable to complacency. It will creep into your operations and stunt your growth and development.

When you show complacency, it will only be a matter of time before a threat wreaks irreparable havoc on your organization.

Way #5 - They Lived in Their Comfort Zone

Global leaders were stuck in their comfort zones when COVID-19 happened.

Most of them operated within a void where they felt comfortable about the health status of their nations. Their health protocols were old and outdated, but they didn’t update them. Because to them, since it’s still working, it’s good enough.

So, when a new threat appeared in the form of the coronavirus, they had no clue how to combat it. As a result, their response was slow and recommendations on curtailing its spread didn’t come in time.

That was why the virus had such a deep impact on our lives – and still does.

When you live in a comfort zone, you will grow complacent and won’t bother to improve your systems and processes. You’d be oblivious to threats to yourself and your organization. And your responses to dangerous threats will be slow and your solution delayed.

All these will have a significant impact on your growth and success.

Don’t Allow Complacency To Damage Your Organization

SARS-CoV-2 is a highly contagious virus that has caused millions of deaths all over the world. It also impacted our social lives and forced many people out of their jobs or businesses. It dealt irreparable damages to different sectors of our economy too.

Had global leaders not been complacent about the COVID-19 pandemic, it wouldn’t have festered. It would have been curtailed and stopped from hindering the growth and development of humanity.

By banishing complacency and being proactive in their leadership positions, the world would’ve been a better place today. Millions of lives would’ve been saved and millions more would be in better health today. Several economies would also be robust and financially stable.

What happened to the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic is a cautionary tale of why you should always defeat complacency in your operations.

Doing so will prevent it from impacting your personal and professional growth. This way, it won’t slow down your success or prevent you from achieving your dreams.

Would you like to learn more about overcoming complacency and growing a successful organization?

Get in touch and find out how my speaking services can help you out.


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