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Leading through Covid-19

Supporting health and care leaders in unprecedented times

The health and care system in the United Kingdom has faced a huge challenge over the past two years, placing enormous pressure on health and care staff and unprecedented demands on leaders, wherever they work. We hope that these short resources and shared experiences will offer some help in supporting leaders working in the NHS, social care, public health, local authorities and the voluntary and independent sector.

Managing self

  • Person sat resting on a bench

    Finding the space to slow down

    In a fast-moving environment with many competing demands, how can leaders find the time and space to slow down?

  • Two health care workers chatting and thinking

    How you see problems can change what is possible

    How we frame situations for ourselves and those we lead, and the ability to change that framing, is key to overcoming the challenges that we've faced during the pandemic.

  • Fatima Khan-Shah

    Self care and resilience during Covid-19: Fatima Khan-Shah

    We spoke to Fatima Khan-Shah about why it's so important to prioritise self care during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis.

  • Two heads dealing with divergence

    Coping with divergence: opening up, but not for all

    Health and care staff are experiencing a range of emotions as lockdown lifts. How can leaders support staff through this next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic?

  • Ian Bullock

    Finding solutions in complex situations: Ian Bullock

    We spoke to Ian Bullock, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Physicians, about how leaders can find solutions in complex situations.

  • Someone drinking a cup of tea

    Managing your energy

    The practice of restorative self care among leaders is hugely important for sustaining energy and building resilience.

  • A group of health and care workers

    Heroic leadership: the order of the day?

    Leadership is about relationships, not being a superhero. In these unprecedented times, here are five points to keep in mind that can support you and your team to retain your collective ...

  • Person sitting in a chair

    Managing anxiety: breathing

    At a time when many leaders and clinical staff are under enormous pressure, taking time to notice and reflect on your own breathing can help to anchor you in your leadership role.

  • A person speaking to someone on a video call

    The space to think

    At a time of immense pressure on both the health and care system and on individuals – and when everything is changing so fast – how can you find space to think about how you are leading?

  • Graphic showing different decisions

    Decision-making in uncertain times

    As the health and care system emerges from the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, how can leaders approach decision-making when the challenges they face seem so intractable and the co...

Working with others

  • A hand holding a person sitting in a chair

    Supporting others through loss

    By supporting colleagues through their experiences of loss, we can help to build important relationships for the future.

  • Amy Edmondson

    The importance of psychological safety: Amy Edmondson

    We spoke to Amy Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, about the importance of psychological safety in health and care.

  • Person who is maintaining motication

    Maintaining motivation in uncertain times

    As teams and individuals experience change as a result of Covid-19, we look at how leaders can support teams to stay motivated and move forward.

  • Carolyn Otley

    Sustaining resilience in communities through Covid-19: Carolyn Otley

    We spoke to Carolyn Otley, Community Resilience Coordinator at Cumbria CVS about what has kept communities resilient through the multiple waves of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

  • Navina Evans

    The nurturing role of leaders: Dr Navina Evans

    We spoke to Dr Navina Evans, Chief Executive of the East London Foundation Trust, about the importance of nurturing as a leader. (2-minute watch)

  • Jo Davies

    Poverty, parenting and mental health during Covid-19: Jo Davies

    We spoke to Jo Davies, CEO at WILD Young Parents' Project, to hear how the pandemic has shone a spotlight on health inequalities and impacted young families and their mental health in Co...

  • A team meeting virtually

    Leading teams virtually

    Leading a team virtually presents new challenges, even for seasoned leaders. Here we look at some ideas for building and strengthening virtual teams.

  • A person sitting with many emotions

    Leading in a crisis starts with acknowledging your own feelings

    We have been listening to leaders across the health and care system about their experiences during the Covid-19 crisis. Here we look at how people feel as result of these experiences and...

Learning from experience

  • A social care worker

    Leading in isolation during Covid-19

    Lesley Flatley reflects on her experiences of leading in isolation, as a manager in an independent care home, during the Covid-19 crisis.

  • Collaboration shown with various groups in the health and care sector

    Collaboration in a crisis

    The Covid-19 crisis has meant multiple organisations working together to address a shared challenge. But how can we become better at cross-sector co-ordination?

  • Sue Nightingale

    How the health system in New Zealand responded to Covid-19: Sue Nightingale

    We spoke to Sue Nightingale, Chief Medical Officer at Canterbury District Health Board, about how the health system in New Zealand has responded to Covid-19. (2-minute video)

  • People who work in health and care

    Discipline and agility in a crisis

    In a time of crisis, it is common to rely on command and control management approaches. So, how can we move away from this to create systems that combine both discipline and agility when...

  • Don Berwick

    Adapting to changing circumstances: Professor Don Berwick

    We spoke to Don Berwick, President Emeritus at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, to ask him how leaders can adapt during changing circumstances. (2-minute video)

  • Hand holding a number of images of health and care workers

    Responding to Covid-19: reasons for hope

    John James OBE, chief executive of the Sickle Cell Society, reflects on the challenges the organisation has faced during the Covid-19 pandemic and shares what he has learnt and what giv...

  • Jatinder Harchowal, Director of Pharmacy at London’s Nightingale Hospital

    Creating a common purpose and a supportive culture

    We spoke to Jatinder Harchowal, Director of Pharmacy at London’s Nightingale Hospital, about creating a common purpose and a supportive culture. (3-minute video)

  • Two people talking on a virtual call

    Leading council efforts through Covid-19

    More than one million workers in more than 400 councils have been helping to keep essential services running across UK during the Covid-19 crisis. Here, 15 council leaders share their to...