Considering the demand for leaders’ attention has been stretched thin during the COVID-19 pandemic, Derek Feeley, DBA, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), suggested a simple framework administrators can leverage to help them stay attuned to the big picture.

Feeley spoke during the first of several pandemic-related, interactive conversations sponsored by the IHI. The framework consists of three key leadership must-haves that leaders can keep in mind as they negotiate through this or any crisis, he explained.

  • Be transparent. “This is a time where folks need transparency from their leaders,” Feeley said. “We shouldn’t sugarcoat, and we shouldn’t pretend.”
  • Think and act as part of a team. “I see leaders who retreat into a kind of solitary thinking at this time. I see them overwhelmed by the daily pressures and forgetting to connect with the fears in their colleagues,” Feeley observed. “Every single leader who is dealing with this now needs a support system. We need to do this together at this difficult time.”
  • Demonstrate trusted calm. “People need their leaders to be assured and measured at this time. They need to be able to trust that it will be so,” Feeley stressed. “I have seen so many leaders ... do a lot of work to provide transparency, to [operate] in a team-based way, and to generate calm. Then, one moment of panic, anger, or frustration undermines all of that.”