Podcast: The Psychology of Leading in Uncertain Times


Mindful actions from the top down will help organizations turn anxiety into productivity.

Gordon Rudow and Sam Glick

2 min read

Editor’s Note: The following podcast is part of an ongoing series offering our strategic advice and expertise on what healthcare industry stakeholders should do in response to the rapidly evolving novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This podcast conversation was inspired by the Oliver Wyman article, "The Psychology of Leading in Uncertain Times."

COVID-19 is a time for leaders to turn panic into productivity. As organizations continue to navigate through unprecedented times, decision-makers must especially sharpen their psychological and emotional skills amidst a unique era of "business as (un)usual." 

"Coronavirus is unprecedented in its scope and impact, but as leaders, we can be a force for good," Gordon Rudow, Partner in Oliver Wyman's Health & Life Sciences and Organizational Effectiveness practices, told Oliver Wyman. "We can accelerate a positive path forward by taking control of our brains, caring deeply for those around us, and managing the challenge in a way that brings out the best, rather than the worst, in our collective humanity."

In this episode of the Oliver Wyman Health Podcast, Gordon discusses three ways leaders can transform anxiety into empathy with host Sam Glick, Partner in Oliver Wyman's Health & Life Sciences practice. 

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Memorable Moments From This Episode:

  • "If you are a more empathetic doctor than the doctor right next to you who's also treating a patient with the same illness, the person you are serving will likely recover faster from a common cold, anxiety, depression, and so on."
  • "If you are overly anxious or worried about the business and you say everything is fine, but people feel that anxiety beneath your words, they're going to feel it with increased concern as you go deeper into the organization, with less understanding of the implications or the causes."
  • "This is a time where many employees are going to be in tough situations that the leaders of their organizations simply can't control. Hospitals don't have enough personal protective equipment and it's not for lack of trying. They just can't get enough right now. Hotels, airlines, and cruise ships are having to lay off employees because of the economic situation and because of demand, not because of any mistake the leader made. We've all seen the headlines. Those tough situations are being rallied around and we see a real team spirit."
  • "Giving people the conditions that allow them to bring their best forward and to stretch beyond their comfort zones is essential right now if you want your organization to perform effectively in this [pandemic] environment."
  • Gordon Rudow and
  • Sam Glick