The incursion of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) reached global scale in 2020, requiring a response from leaders worldwide. Although the virus is a ubiquitous problem, world leaders have varied appreciably in their responses resulting in substantially different outcomes in terms of virus mitigation, population health, and economic stability. One explanation for this inconsistency is that leaders have taken differential approaches to making sense of the crisis that, in turn, have driven their approaches to decision making and communication. The present article elaborates on the role of leaders as sensemakers and explains how a leader's sensemaking approach is a critical element in successful crisis management efforts. Through the charismatic, ideological, pragmatic (CIP) leadership model, a sensemaking-focused theory of leadership, it is explained how specific, relatively stable sensemaking approaches manifest and what actions leaders engaged in those styles are likely to take in times of crisis. These connections are then reinforced through case examples of 3 world leaders, framed through CIP, and demonstrate how their sensemaking approach has influenced their response to COVID-19. The article concludes with a discussion of the impacts that these differential approaches to COVID-19 may have on the global community, and recommendations for more explicit incorporation of sensemaking into our understanding of leadership. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).