Leading with Trust – 9 Young Global Leaders Explain How

To make more impact in 2022, young leaders will need to lead differently.

Trust is the cornerstone of a flourishing society; it enables meaningful interpersonal interactions, generates economic activity, and spurs innovation. But, as the conditions of our lives and habits have changed dramatically through our COVID reality, so has our capability for engendering trust. Traditional emotional expression has been dampened by masks, and certainties about the future have given way to queries – even in countries as stable as Switzerland.

As we continue to confront changing conditions, we have an opportunity to forge possibility out of uncertainty. Out of the most critical economic crisis since the great depression of 1930s, the public appetite for new economic and social models is growing. Local, regional and global vulnerabilities in supply chains, healthcare systems and economic and governance regimes have come to light as systemic pain points to be rectified.

It is time to focus on rebuilding trust to adapt and leverage our new global dynamics. Trust will shape how expertise, resources, and innovation are directed to develop more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.

Most of all, we need global leaders to build trust with one another to navigate wise and responsible decision-making. As countries’ responses to the pandemic as well as to its economic, political and social ramifications evolve, how can leaders continue to advance common goals and inspire a shared vision of sustainable prosperity?

We asked nine Young Global Leaders how they plan to lead differently in 2022 to drive more impact in their organizations and communities. Here is what they said.

Empathy is the key ingredient

Umra Omar, Safari Doctors, Executive Director

As a result of the pandemic, leading responsibly meant investing more in building resilience and trust in our team to create a conducive working environment. My approach in leadership moved from pacesetting to affiliative in nature, focusing more on empathy as the key ingredient to connecting within the organization and with our communities. In 2022, I look forward to leading by following and addressing the nuances presented by the people. By engaging rather than instructing, through operational flexibility and personalized relationships to create emotional proximity.

Fostering a culture of support and feedback 

Amit Paley, The Trevor Project, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

2022 is about building upon the lessons we’ve learned and the advancements we’ve made amid great turmoil — and confronting ongoing challenges through innovation. I am proud to say that The Trevor Project is actively growing as an organization, as we are exploring how to scale our crisis services internationally and expand the scope of our advocacy, research, education, and technology programs to serve a greater number of LGBTQ youth than ever before. As the leader of a mental health organization, I also think it is imperative to foster a culture of support and feedback and to continually implement creative initiatives to support employees’ mental health and wellness.

Building social change through integrity, inclusion, equity and quality

Faraja Nyalandu, Shule Direct, Founder & Executive Director

As a value-driven organization, I want to demonstrate how values can influence social change. As we continue to push for improved learning outcomes among students in Tanzania and across East Africa, it is important to underscore our ambitions of fostering greater integrity, inclusion, equity and quality. We are leveraging technology to support equitable access to quality education for all children, these opportunities will support them to learn and improve their potential.

No better time for disruptive technologies

Dr. Lamya Al-Haj, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology, Sultan Qaboos University

Moving into 2022, I see leadership with a new set of glasses. I believe that there is no better time for disruptive technologies than today. It is clear that developing creative remote work environments, automating processes and investing in people is becoming increasingly important. I learnt that in order to thrive, we have to learn how to “unlearn” and “relearn” rapidly – ultimately, we are only as strong as our weakest links thus we need to empower as many people as we can and to leave no one behind as we move forward. To support this, life skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, agility and resilience are all necessary traits leaders require.

Justice requires leadership with compassion

Maleeka Bokhari, Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice of Pakistan

As Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Law and Justice, I have the honour of being part of the legal team that drafted the historic Anti-Rape laws in Pakistan. In 2022, as Chairperson of the Special Committee, formed pursuant to Anti-Rape Act, 2021, I will lead with utmost conviction and perseverance to ensure that the laws are implemented in true letter and spirit to ensure certainty of conviction in cases of sexual crimes. In addition, delivery of access to justice to victims of rape will require public service and leadership with compassion, focused on service delivery in a victim-centered manner.

Empowering female entrepreneurs

Raya Yusuf-Sbitany, Chief Executive Officer, Derma Beauty Lab

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a real-life “stress test” for businesses. The challenges we faced have underscored our true commitment to values such as sustainability, ethics, gender inclusion, and our people. Fast-forward almost two years, we are thankful that we have somewhat returned to normal – we see our business growing, we have even more employees than we had pre-pandemic, and are proud to have launched a new program to empower female entrepreneurs, especially women who had lost their jobs during the pandemic.

According to UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Magazine, the three top categories of potential positive consequences of COVID-19 are social connectedness, political/structure change and solidarity.

Addressing the COVID-19 divide for a better normal

Henry Motte-Munoz, Founder and Executive Chairman, Edukasyon.ph

2022 will see us enter a new, and hopefully better, normal. To empower Edukasyon.ph’s community of 8 million learners in the Philippines, we will firstly invest further in career flexibility, as we believe in giving teammates (regardless of their rank) more control over their work setup, and career development can foster wellbeing, engagement and retention. Secondly, we will keep personalizing the education journey of our students to address a divide that COVID-19 has highlighted more than it has created. And finally, we will seek deeper cooperation with governments, whose vast resources and regulations are key in reducing inequalities.

Maximizing positive impact in 2022

Delfina Irazusta, Founder and Executive Director, Asociacion Civil Red de Innovacion Local (Local Innovation Network)

To solve the world’s inequities that were deepened by the pandemic, organizations should seek to generate the maximum positive impact in 2022. Today the world demands, and at the same time offers, infinite opportunities to create value through knowledge. I believe that increasing public-private collaboration can help us take advantage of the knowledge economy for social progress. For instance, in 2022 the local innovation network will promote the program “Cities of Knowledge.” With this initiative, we will seek to support cities in the two necessary pillars to generate opportunities in the knowledge industry: talent training and infrastructure for innovation and connectivity.

Impactful leadership more crucial now than ever

Rhea Mazumdar Singhal, Chief Executive Officer, Ecoware Solutions Private Limited

The last 2 years have been about survival and the reality remains that COVID-19 continues to disrupt millions of lives across the world. Impactful leadership is crucial now more than ever. Leaders need to focus to create diverse and inclusive workplaces – these environments value all stakeholder contributions and more importantly retain talent. As we recover from COVID-19 and try to navigate other global threats such as climate change, digital disruption, global shortages and supply chain issues, we need to make sure we collaborate, innovate and are agile in order to truly be impactful towards people and the planet.

A version of this article was published on the World Economic Forum Agenda as part of the World Economic Forum’s 2022 Davos Agenda,  January 17-21. 


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