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On courageous leadership in pandemic times

Posted: 15/04/20, Author: Jacqui Sjenitzer

Jacqui Sjenitzer, reflects on her recent leadership webinar session for the Community Led Support Network

On courageous leadership in pandemic times

The word courage comes from the latin word ‘coeur’ meaning heart. To lead with courage is to lead with our whole hearts, with all of who we are.

At NDTi, we’ve had to pivot and change how we’re supporting leaders in the health and social care sector as their leadership undergoes the test of its life and as they lead others through unprecedented change, which we’re doing through webinars and video calls, maintaining the continuity with existing leadership groups and staying responsive to what is needed, sometimes hour by hour, as things change so rapidly.

Among the themes coming out of those conversations is one of courage. What does it take to be a brave and authentic leader right now? When those we work with may be balancing being afraid, facing great uncertainty and risk, dealing with vicarious trauma from the sheer amount of human suffering they’re witnessing, some, may be balancing feelings of burnout with feeling alive and purposeful with their work, and all doing what social care is designed to do - being “made for these times”. 

We’ve been exploring our relationships with not-knowing and uncertainty, with what matters most (our value-base), with creating psychological safety and cultures based on trust, and developing the resources and emotional intelligence needed for personal and organisational resilience at this time. 

Courage is a practice; exercised and strengthened by daily decisions around what feels right, even though it might feel difficult, and rooted in what drives us as leaders. 

The sense, from an NDTi perspective, around leadership development right now is one of humility, respect and awe, for the amazing work leaders and their teams are doing right now; we know they always did. 

Jacqui Sjenitzer is the at the National Development Team for Inclusion (NDTi)

NDTi is an organisation that promotes equal and inclusive lives for people in their communities, particularly where ageing or disability are issues

Jacqui Sjenitzer's blog is a personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NDTi.

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