Chapter 7 Public leadership in tackling wicked problems: is it a crisis of leadership or a leadership crisis?
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The chapter focuses on challenges not previously encountered and how leaders respond to these. The Covid-19 pandemic is such a challenge. Often described as'unprecedented', to what extent is this true? When leaders face a crisis, one of two responses emerge. The first uses tried-and-tested ways where the leader will call upon default approaches using solutions that have worked in the past. This response is is referred to as a tame or technical response. The second acknowledges that a different way of thinking is required in tackling the presenting problem. The chapter describes this as an adaptive response to a wicked problem. Two historical case studies are considered; the outbreak of Spanish Flu and the Great Depression which are then contrasted with the UK governments response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thinking differently, reimagining leadership and reinventing responses by working collectively are suggested as essential hallmarks of good crisis leadership.

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