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How Diverse Leadership Shaped Responses to COVID-19 Within the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

Read the executive summary in Arabic, French, or Spanish.


A great deal of evidence demonstrates the value of diversity and inclusion at the leadership table in challenging times. Recent research points to the fact that high-performing teams include leaders with diverse characteristics that are empowered and supported to offer their perspectives. A common element to successful leadership teams is diversity across multiple dimensions – not focusing on one aspect of diversity, but instead ensuring that there is a mix of different perspectives and backgrounds to inform decision-making and strategic direction.

Our group of researchers and practitioners was interested in understanding how, in the absence of established pathways for responding to systemic crises at this scale, a diverse set of leaders raised contested ideas, voiced differing perspectives, and ensured that a range of critical building blocks were considered in the response. The study was undertaken in partnership with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (International RCRC Movement).