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Post-crisis, we need to create a new future

Prime minister David Cameron has promised to look at the deeper problems behind the recent rioting, looting and widespread anarchy across the UK. Many people are crying out for strong leadership to guide them to safety, recreate order and build a positive future.

One of the fundamental causes behind the rioting has been the lack of strong role models from local and national leaders that people can identify with. This in turn is linked to a lack of any sense of purpose, which can lead to despair and, in some cases, violence. What, after all, are the core, collective beliefs of our society? Our leaders need to provide a clear vision for the future. To do this, they really need to involve others in co-creating that future, actively engaging a wide range of community groups - particularly the groups who claim their voices are not being heard.

Right now, in the wake of widespread anarchy and chaos across the UK, people want to see and hear their leaders. They want reassurance, and they like to know that there is someone in charge who has a clear plan for tackling the current crisis. The UK now requires clear and cohesive leadership. This is no time for political infighting or point-scoring. The country's leaders need to be united. People want to be communicated with honestly and consistently. They need to be reassured that there is a coherent strategy to deal with the current situation. They also need to be listened to. Dealing with such a difficult situation is a real test of leadership skills. It requires a holistic approach - combining a clear, strategic approach with an ability to connect with others on a human level. Leaders also need the courage to make swift, bold decisions that could have big consequences - and to do this with absolute integrity.

These riots have caused tremendous damage already. Will they also damage the reputation of the Government, or will our leaders be lauded for dealing with the crisis effectively? Could we actually learn from this terrible state of affairs to build a better society for Britain? This really depends on how effectively leaders involve others in the process. Solutions need buy-in from the public in order to work. Post-crisis, we need to create a new future. How can we calm the disaffected, focus on the positive aspects of society and promote shared values? It is quite a challenge. The future of UK society depends on how effectively our leaders tackle this challenge and how successfully they involve others in the solution.

Simon Hayward (pictured) is managing partner, development, at leadership and employee engagement programme provider, Cirrus