Wellness Forum recap: Leading in a time of crisis

Good leadership is essential during times of change or crisis. In the latest Wellness Forum, Chief Medical Officer Theresa Brennan, MD, FACC, offers tips for leaders at all levels as they guide their staff through uncertain circumstances.

These forums are provided by the Department of Psychiatry, Employee Assistance Program, and COPE.

Here are a few takeaways from the forum:

  • Take care of your team.
    • Know your team members: Recognize each individual’s strengths and challenges.
    • Keep your staff safe: Make sure they are wearing a face covering and that they stay up-to-date on the latest safety guidelines.
    • Recognize people’s stressors and behaviors: Stress may cause some people to withdraw, or act in ways they don’t normally act.
    • Be engaged: Schedule routine Zoom meetings to talk about how everyone is doing and what’s going on.
    • Be visible: People want to know that you’re in this with them.
    • Be human: We are all going through similar struggles, but it may impact some people more than others. Have human compassion. When things are changing, leaders need to be thoughtful about how these changes will impact their employees. Always share your thoughts and expectations.
    • Be flexible: There are other perspectives that may contradict what you think is right. Step back and take a breath, particularly with disagreements, and try to look at each situation in an unbiased way.
  • Communicating is even more important in a crisis.
    • Tell your staff about what you know, even when things aren’t finalized.
    • Admit when you don’t know something and own up to mistakes. Honesty is important.
    • Address every concern that comes forward, especially safety concerns. Emotions are strong, and it’s important to not minimize these concerns.
    • Initiate conversations with people in the hallways and ensure you are here for them.
    • Be responsive and reply to emails.
    • Be thankful and recognize the talent around you. Acknowledge those who step up.
  • Be a role model: People may look to you as a leader even if you’re not in a formal leadership role.
  • Follow the rules: It doesn’t show good integrity if you are asking others to do something and you aren’t doing it yourself. Leaders are under a microscope and others look to you for guidance.
  • Take care of yourself.
    • Whether you realize it or not, your attitudes and behaviors may rub off on others. That’s why it is important to take care of yourself.
    • Connect with others.
    • Find the silver lining: Look for the good wherever it is. If we don’t find the positives, we’ll wallow in the negatives.
    • Have someone you trust who you can talk to. They can offer support, especially if they understand what you’re dealing with.
    • Have faith and hold on to your values.


See all past forums

1 comment

  1. So fortunate to have you as a leader! Thank you for this important message and showing this compassion!

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