McDonald Graham, Psychology At Work
  • Drs. McDonald and Graham

Being a leader during COVID-19

Updated: Mar 27


Julie and I often share one of our favorite quotes during presentations: “If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” --Jon Stewart Stewart’s words resonate in a new way in light of the current pandemic.  A leader’s true values -- and mettle as a leader -- are revealed during difficult times.  Effective leaders:

  • Treat their teammates with respect and compassion, recognizing that personal challenges may interfere with work over the next few weeks.

  • Communicate a commitment to “teamwork” by modeling adherence to the guidelines set forth by our government and the CDC. (As citizens, we are all part of a national team that must work together to protect individuals at risk for death from this virus.)

  • Engage in ongoing self-care so that they can be ready for whatever comes next, and

  • Establish routine and predictability for themselves and others in areas where this is possible.


We know that for many of you, time is the most precious and scarce resource in your lives.  This current global situation has required us to cancel any and all non-essential activities, work from home if possible, and slow down the pace of our frantic lives.  We hope you will reframe this as a gift of time, despite any hardship the situation has imposed upon you and your loved ones. We encourage you to take advantage of it by reading that book you’ve been wanting to read for months, taking a walk at your local park and saying hello (from an appropriate distance) to strangers who pass by, volunteering to deliver groceries to those who can’t risk going to the store, looking at the stars with your sweetheart or your kids. Take time to savor the sounds, sights, and smells of spring--birds singing, wisteria blooming, bright sunshine on a blue sky day.  Practice gratitude for what you have, rather than succumbing to anxiety about what is gone. As you witness strong leadership over the next few weeks, take a moment to pause and say “thank you.”  And remember that being a true leader has nothing to do with position or title.  Leadership is how you show up for others and how you serve them.  And serving others is something we can all do to make a difference during difficult times. If we can provide any guidance or support during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of us at julie@mcdonaldgraham.com or lisa@mcdonaldgraham.com.  If you signed up for one of our Dare to Lead workshops in late April and early May or are considering registering for one, they are currently planned as scheduled, but that may change based on recommendations from the CDC and the government.  We are evaluating the situation on a regular basis and will update you with any decisions.   Warmly, Julie and Lisa



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McDonald Graham, Psychology at Work, is a certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise.
McDonald Graham, Psychology at Work, is a certified WBENC Women's Business Enterprise.