What do leaders need right now? – Vitality


This week feels like we are in a VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity)  The Coronovirus seems to be impacting so many aspects of our lives at the moment, and the news can be overwhelming

I was a Crisis Manager during the Christchurch earthquakes.  I was fortunate and had terrific leaders and peers who pitched in and made it easier for all with the calm approach they took.  Our business managed to get through the crisis well, and it was that energy and willingness as well as calmness that made a big difference.

You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, the encountering may be the very experience which creates the vitality and the power to endure.  Maya Angelou

I love this quote because vitality is something that I think leaders genuinely need to both portray and experience in challenging times.  It is also something that builds from challenging times.  That doesn’t mean that we aren’t kind to ourselves and seek support when we need it, but people will take their lead from their leaders. We want our colleagues to act calmly and rationally and not be more fearful or experience more hardship than they need to.  Here are a few thoughts from both my experience and some of the best ideas from those around me.

Leaders can focus on three core areas:

Self Care – without this first you can’t be vital

  • Limit sensational news exposure. It’s draining and keeps your limbic brain engaged in fear, just get what you need and don’t obsess.
  • Focus on your wellbeing – sleep, exercise, healthy food, hydration etc

Care for loved ones

  • Keep calm – it helps others to stay the same
  • Listen – when we understand the concerns we can explore options and solutions and create thoughts will serve us rather than hinder us
  • Share your plans – people around you will know how they fit in


  • Business Continuity – participate in a plan that you are comfortable with and understand how it impacts your customers and your team, including logistics and a plan
  • People first – It’s always people first, no matter what task is involved If we pay attention to the people, the rest will follow.
  • Communicate – people like to know what you are thinking about and talking about even if there is no official news. Maybe a quick daily huddle (virtual or otherwise) will help


The potential upside of the current situation is that we can enhance our sense of community in a crisis and help and support each other.  These actions can create a strong commitment to each other in teams and families and carry on far into the future.  I hope that like the Christchurch earthquake and the Mosque attack that is the case for everyone.

Love to all those who are fearful or sick in the world.  We will get through this and be stronger on the other side.


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