Wellness Personal growth Coaching Emotional intelligence

Personal and professional growth in times of crisis

Watch the full recorded broadcast above.

The COVID-19 crisis has provided a high altitude experience for leaders – the need to perform at the top of your skills, in a hostile climate, without the “oxygen” of feedback or time to reflect. This extended period of heightened performance takes a toll, yet also presents an opportunity for growth. That growth, however, requires deliberate reflection.

On Thursday, July 23, 2020 we hosted a complimentary livestream with Ivey Academy faculty director Martha Maznevski and senior executive coaches Sharon Duguid and Rob McNamara to discuss why the pandemic has been so challenging for leaders of people. We explored unconscious responses, neurodynamics, and the impact of those on our behaviour and energy. We talked about the ways leaders can use the current crisis as a growth opportunity and how to grow in real time. Martha, Sharon, and Rob  concluded the session by highlighting the value of working with a development partner – such as a colleague, peer, or professional coach – and the key attributes you should look for in this relationship. To learn more about using disruption as an opportunity for growth from Martha herself, be sure to check out the virtual executive education program Leadership Journey: Finding Purpose Through Crisis.

Key webinar content

Core topics

  • Common stressors faced during the pandemic
  • How prolonged instability and uncertainty impacts leadership effectiveness
  • Policy decisions being made with a limited set of data
  • Relying on old behaviours during crisis and how it impacts decision-making and relationships
  • The notion of mortality and finality as it relates to organizations during crisis and how it’s a catalyst for reflection and a reminder of purpose
  • Anecdotal stories of progressive leadership during crisis
  • Using crises as an opportunity for learning and growth
  • The importance of dialogue among colleagues/peers and structure in relationships
  • Energy-level resilience and how to better regulate energy level
  • The relationship between courage and purpose
  • Purpose-based self-care

Memorable quotes

“Exemplary leaders are fraying the traditional managerial/professional relationships into greater care. They’re asking about families. They’re asking ‘how are you doing?’ We’re seeing management and leadership including – and welcoming – more humanity into the organization.

And for those organizations that are really on the front edge, they’re investing in leadership development. They’re investing in coaching and they’re investing in innovation while other organizations are dialing back and focusing on core operations. Finding creative ways to invest in people is a way to turn this crisis into a tremendous opportunity.” – Rob McNamara

“One of the unconscious, non-rational reactions to uncertainty is controlling what you can. If you can control the behaviour of the people in front of you toward specific, apparently solid objectives, it gives you the illusion of control – at least in the moment … understand and accept that part of that drive to control is coming from a sense of uncertainty.” – Martha Maznevski

“Human beings have an incredible capacity to rebound. We’ve got to trust … in our ability to come out of this better and stronger. But we will only do that if we’re really aware of how we’re managing ourselves in those moments of uncertainty and how we create our own sense of safety and stability.” – Sharon Duguid

Additional reading

7 Ways to Use the Current Crisis for Personal Growth, Psychology Today 
Leadership Journey: Finding Purpose Through Crisis, The Ivey Academy
Successful Leadership Tactics in a Time of Crisis, Entrepreneur 
Leadership in times of crisis, American Psychological Association 
9 Ways Crisis Makes You A Better Leader, Forbes 


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About The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School
The Ivey Academy at Ivey Business School is the home for executive Learning and Development (L&D) in Canada. It is Canada’s only full-service L&D house, blending Financial Times top-ranked university-based executive education with talent assessment, instructional design and strategy, and behaviour change sustainment. 

Rooted in Ivey Business School’s real-world leadership approach, The Ivey Academy is a place where professionals come to get better, to break old habits and establish new ones, to practice, to change, to obtain coaching and support, and to join a powerful peer network. Follow The Ivey Academy on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.