The COVID-19 pandemic brings huge challenges to the delivery of health care in Aotearoa, and on those providing leadership across the Health & Disability sector. Leadership during this time will be demanding and stressful, members of your teams may be fearful and anxious, requiring reassurance and facts to understand the complex issue of COVID-19.

This page provides useful information to support leaders in their roles through maintaining their own wellbeing in times of crisis, enabling them to care for the teams they work with. Click the + symbol to expand each section.

  • Articles and links

    These links have been chosen for their leadership content in the complex time of COVID-19, with a focus on leading teams whilst supporting yourself as a leader.

    A very brief introduction to teaming

    The response to COVID-19 has meant people who may not usually work together – or even know each other – are coming together to tackle complex and urgent challenges. This is a one-page guide from The King's Fund on forming new effective teams in complex everyday work.

    3DHB staff welfare and wellbeing tips

    One page guides from 3DHB (Capital and Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs) with tips on a variety of topics.


    COVID-19: Peer Support and Crisis Communication Strategies to Promote Institutional Resilience (Annals of Internal Medicine)

    This short article from John Hopkins University Hospital in the USA outlines principles for leaders supporting health care workers through the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also a short video clip explaining the principles.

    Finding solutions in complex situations (The King's Fund)

    The King's Fund talks to Ian Bullock, chief executive of the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, about finding solutions in complex situations.

    Guidance for planners of the psychosocial response to stress experienced by hospital staff associated with COVID: early interventions

    This guidance document is intended to inform planners, managers and team leaders of the organisational and psychological processes which are likely to be helpful, or unhelpful, in supporting staff during the early stages of the response to COVID-19. It is collated from research, best practice guidelines and expert clinical opinion and produced by the COVID trauma response working group trauma group UK.

    How are you doing? – 5 questions (leadership during times of crisis) (Patient Safety Learning Hub)

    This short video talks about five questions leaders should be asking to support their team during COVID-19.

    How to talk about COVID-19 (The Workshop)

    Developed in New Zealand, this guide supports leaders to develop specific COVID-19 communications, supporting good decision-making and collective action.

    Leading virtual meetings – top tips (The King's Fund)

    Leading virtually can seem challenging, but a few basic technical and human skills will help you to engage with colleagues and ensure your virtual meetings are productive. Here are some hints and tips on working virtually adapted from Zoom and from the research of Ghislaine Caulat (2012).

    Making decisions in difficult circumstances (The King's Fund)

    A three-minute video from the King's Fund about how leaders can make decisions in difficult circumstances during the Covid-19 (coronavirus) crisis, including recognising and overcoming 'decision inertia'.

    Pharmacy leadership during COVID-19 (Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group)

    In this three-minute video Aarti Patel, general manager of the Canterbury Community Pharmacy Group, talks about pharmacy leadership during COVID-19.

    Responding to stress experienced by hospital staff working with COVID-19

    Drawing on research, best practice guidelines and expert clinical opinions, The King's Fund's COVID trauma response working group has created rapid guidance for planners putting in place psychological support for staff in the early stages of dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. This graphic is a quick reference version of the detailed guidance available on the website.

    Responding to the COVID-19 crisis: Professor Don Berwick

    In this video from The Kings Fund, Don Berwick talks about how leaders can take care of themselves and their teams during this crisis. He stresses the importance of tending to your own health, wellbeing and energy and urged leaders to continue to exchange ideas and support, leading with confidence and honesty.

    The path from crisis (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce via

    This article contains a good framework for assessing new COVID-19 practices and whether we should end or amplify them, and pre-COVID-19 practices that we should stop or restart. Written in the UK, it asks these questions in terms of a UK-based socio-cultural and political context.

    Why is leadership important right now? Prerana Issar, Chief People Officer, NHS

    The Kings Fund talks to Prerana Issar, the Chief People Officer for the NHS to ask her why leadership is so important during the COVID-19 crisis. Prerana also discusses important points about leading teams during crisis situations.

Videos from leaders in health care

We have had several health care providers in leadership roles record short videos on how they have been supporting their organisation, their teams and their own wellbeing in preparation for COVID-19. They have considered their leadership through the resilient health care approach of anticipating, responding, monitoring and learning during this complex and challenging time.

Helen Rook

Helen Rook, registered nurse and senior lecturer school of nursing, midwifery and health practice reassures nurses that they are well equipped to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rachel Prebble

Rachel Prebble is the organisation development manager at Capital & Coast District Health Board (DHB) and a clinical psychologist. She is leading the staff welfare and wellbeing response to COVID-19 for Capital and Coast and Hutt Valley DHBs. Rachel is working from home at the moment and presents her video from the garden outside her home in sunny Pukerua Bay.

Dr Carl Horsley

Dr Carl Horsley is an intensivist in the Critical Care Complex at Middlemore Hospital, and the clinical lead for patient safety at the Health Quality & Safety Commission.

He is an active member of the Resilient Healthcare Network (RHCN) and has presented widely on topics which include the medicolegal barriers to Safety-II, effecting change in complex systems, the implications for clinical simulation and the links between complexity and staff burnout. In this video, Carl talks about what COVID-19 means for the way we normally do our work.

Catherine Epps

Catherine Epps, head of health and technical services at Worksafe, talks about how she has been leading a resilient health care approach at Worksafe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last updated 30/04/2020