Professor Tsfira Grebelsky-Lichtman

, an expert on political leadership and non-verbal communication was recently interviewed by Israel’s most read daily newspaper, Israel Today, about the COVID-19 epidemic.  Here are a few of her most fascinating comments:

  • [At the beginning of the epidemic,] in Israel, we were intimidated and we obeyed the instructions.
  • We have already been told that we defeated the Corona epidemic. On the other hand, we are now talking about a second wave and more closures. The public seems to understand that the leadership does not really know how to deal with the magnitude of the crisis and that its decision-making is very intuitive.  Professional knowledge is not a leadership expectation [that the public has of its elected officials].
  • In a study we are conducting at the Hebrew University and Ono Academic College in collaboration with Roi Katz from the Interdisciplinary Center, we researched in depth the speeches of leaders in the first wave [of the Corona epidemic]. We have seen Trump lick his lips, which is [known by professional analysts to constitute] a leak of tension and discomfort [that the speaker is trying to hide]. ]UK PM Boris] Johnson, for example, said something resolute with his hands but looked down – it’s a classic leak. For many leaders, the leaks came from their need to stick to the page and be precise, in order to produce unambiguity and credibility.
  • Another strategy that leaders have used and found ineffective is anger and guilt. We have seen Trump, Netanyahu, Johnson and [Canadian PM] Justin Trudeau, for example, expressing anger in facial expressions. Leadership-wise, it does not work – that is, the audience says “Why are you angry at us?’ Are we to blame for the situation?” It is precisely the ability to look at us with a look full of appreciation and solidarity that strengthens the cohesion around the leader.
  • I think this week’s picture of Trump, wearing a mask, is one of the most dramatic in recent months. He has realized that leadership without personal example is worthless.

The full article can be found at: