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Community leaders share importance of leading during a crisis

Published: Nov. 12, 2020 at 10:20 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Forge “How to Lead Through a Crisis” zoom call featured four community leaders sharing their challenges and adversities with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four:

Steve Anderson, CEO of University of Kansas Medical Center, St. Francis Campus

Chief Bill Cochran, Chief of Topeka Police Department

Dr. Tiffany Anderson, Ed. D., USD 501 Superintendent

Keith Warta, CEO Bartlett & West.

They talked for more than an hour about how important it is right now to communicate and collaborate with employees and outside sources, the struggles of being a leader during the COVID-19 pandemic and giving advice to other leaders moving forward during this crisis.

Steve Anderson said, “We come upon something like this and we really learn how adaptable we are and it takes a lot of energy and a lot of willingness to be extremely flexible.”

Cochran added, “There’s really no set model for this COVID crisis, it’s just learning on the fly, adapting, what other people are doing combined with what you think best and having buy in from your staff.”

Warta shared the importance of understanding the impact of mental health because of things like working or learning from home. As a leader, he wanted to create dialogue with his co-workers and open up personally about how he felt with COVID-19.

“I have to express how things are striking me and be open about the uncertainty that’s ahead of us,” said Warta.

The four agreed having partnerships and relationships with the community before a crisis hits is also important. That it could become even more difficult to lead if not. Along with staying patient as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“It’s okay to ask people for help, it’s okay to ask people questions and you need to approach each day as a learning opportunity,” said Cochran.

Dr. Tiffany Anderson said, “Your mindset is your only barrier. We’re doing things right now that I never imagined that we’d be able to do and that’s not just in my area, I’m watching it all over the world.”

“I think the behavioral mindset needs to become a marathon,” said Steve Anderson. “I think that if you want to do something on a sprint, you’re going to burn out so you got to pace yourself out as a leader of an organization in order to not burn out.”

The full hour long event is available to watch on Forge’s Facebook page.

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