Leading Organizations Through a Pandemic

Available for Interviews: Roger Hall.

Dr. Roger Hall has a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, is an Executive Coach to entrepreneurs and leaders, and is an in-demand public speaker throughout North America.


Talking Points from Roger Hall 
on Leading Organizations Through a Pandemic:

  •      When people are uncertain what to do, they tend to look at the behavior of those around them for the correct response. When everyone else is freaking out, then they assume that freaking out is the correct response. “Everyone else is buying pallets of toilet paper. I guess I’ll buy a couple pallets too.” I’m not a big fan of Napoleon Bonaparte, but I do like his quote: “A leader is a dealer in hope.” There is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is serious, but the fear of the pandemic is creating its own set of problems. In times of uncertainty, leaders can help their people have hope for a better future. Most anyone can handle a brief adversity, if they believe that there is a better future ahead.

  •      Fear is the most life-preserving of our emotions. Our brains are designed to keep us alive, so the ability to imagine the worst-case scenario helps us fend it off. This life-preserving part of our brain comes at a cost. When we are afraid, the slower acting, reasonable parts of our brains (the prefrontal cortex) can get hijacked by the faster acting fear centers of the brain (the amygdala). We can’t think rationally or long-term when we are afraid. (Try this thought experiment: Can you do long division in your head while being chased by a wildcat? No, because you don’t need to do long division when imminent death is at hand.) The problem comes when the worst-case scenario is unlikely to occur (total economic collapse and bodies lining the streets). This limbic hijacking prevents us from seeing a better future and working towards it.
  •      The job of leaders is to help their people see a better future and practical steps to getting there. In fear, people need a spare prefrontal cortex. The job of the leader, in times of uncertainty, is to provide that spare prefrontal cortex. People who have practiced emotional self-regulation (strengthening the prefrontal cortex) through quiet reflection, meditation, contemplation are the ones who are likely to be sought out as leaders. Those who are concerned, but not scared can provide an alternative model for how to behave. If a person is uncertain what to do and the leader is self-possessed, then that uncertain, frightened person will imitate the behavior of the leader.
  •      People don’t like bad surprises. Have you ever gone to a movie without seeing the preview, only to be badly surprised? Leaders give a preview of coming attractions. People do better when they know what to expect. Great leaders give their people a preview of coming attractions.  When people know what to expect, they can handle it better. If you have a new policy coming your way, let the people know it is coming well in advance of the new policy. Then they can become accustomed to the change before it actually affects them.


Interview: Roger Hall.

Roger Hall a business psychologist, executive coach, national speaker and author of Staying Happy Being Productive: The Big 10 Things Successful People Do and Expedition. He trains entrepreneurs, professionals, and business leaders to monitor and manage their thinking for peak performance.

Jo Allison
PR Managing Editor
Success In Media, Inc.

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