Volume 6 no 4

Leadership during COVID-19 (Special Edition)

Volume 6 Number 4 In This Issue


Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD

In this special issue of CJPL, you will find some of the COVID-19 related work that the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders (CSPL) has been doing and continues to do for you. Within days after the pandemic had been declared, and even before British Columbia imposed its restrictions on conferences, the CSPL was one of the first non-profit organizations to cancel its annual meeting, which was to be held in Vancouver.

read article

Ensuring our own wellbeing as we care for others during the COVID-19 Crisis

Mamta Gautam, MD, MBA, FRCPC, CCPE, CPE

As individual physicians, we can practice strategies to increase and maintain our personal resilience. Feeling stress does not mean we are not coping well or not able to do our job.  In fact, it is a normal human response, and may be useful in allowing us to function during this difficult time.  The important thing is to manage it effectively so that stress does not become distress.  Using the 5 Cs of Resilience framework,1 there are tangible things we can do to remain well. read article

Leadership agility in chaotic systems

Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD, FRCPC, and Mamta Gautam, MD, MBA, FRCPC, CCPE, CPE

What are physician leaders to do in a chaotic system? Be agile in swiftly changing leadership style in response to what is needed and when. Although it might feel uncomfortable for those familiar with distributed leadership, there will be moments during the COVID-19 crisis when one will have to be a “control and command” leader. At those moments, remain honest and admit that you don’t know when you don’t know. read article

COVID-19 cannot take away our freedom to choose

Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD, FRCPC

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl1 explains that, although Nazi captors could control his entire environment, only he could decide how it was going to affect him. Despite the external situation (stimulus), he had the freedom and power to choose his response (Fig. 1). He had response-ability, the ability to choose, the human freedom that no one can take away. This short bulletin explains how we can apply this concept during the COVID-19 crisis.  read article

Control and influence, let go of the rest

Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD, FRCPC

In bulletin 3,  ”COVID-19 cannot take away our freedom to choose,”1 we described how leaders can take advantage of their freedom of choice between COVID-19 stimuli, which are coming at us quickly, and their response, which can be reactive or proactive. In that space between stimulus and response, in that moment of self-awareness, we can discover what we have control over, what we can influence, and what we cannot control.  read article

Top up your tank

Mamta Gautam, MD, MBA, FRCPC, CCPE, CPE

Imagine your dream car — sleek lines, high performance, total luxury. You finally get to drive it, racing around in it as long as you can, impressing yourself and everyone else as you pass by. Until it runs out of gas. Then, regardless of its potential, your amazing car grinds to a halt and is not going anywhere!  read article

Narrative influences change: the COVID-19 experience

Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD, FRCPC

COVID-19 is as much about the narrative as it is about the facts.

The way the pandemic evolves is mostly determined by human behaviour. Facts alone don’t motivate humans into action, particularly in the face of limited data and uncertainty. read article

Self-compassion: cultivating physician resilience during the pandemic

Paul Mohapel, PhD

As the current COVID-19 pandemic rages on, physicians are facing increasing risk of stress and burnout. Various conditions have been linked to the onset of physician burnout: repeated exposure to patients’ pain and suffering; shouldering the burden of responsibility to help patients; read article

Preventing and managing fear

MGen Andrew Downes, OMM, CD, QHP, MD, Surgeon General, BGen Marc Bilodeau, CD, MD, Deputy Surgeon General, Canadian Armed Forces

Fear is a powerful emotion that can arise in response to a real or perceived danger or threat. It induces a physiological response and can trigger fight, flight, or freeze behaviour. The threat may be to oneself or others and may include multiple dimensions, such as health, safety, finances, and reputation. read article

Personality styles under stress: leading through the crisis

Monica Olsen, BScN BA, MHRD

Given the uncertain timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders will increasingly need to tune into what they need to remain calm and focused, so that they are in a better position to influence and calm others.  read article

Anger in the time of COVID-19

Mamta Gautam,  MD, MBA, FRCPC, CCPE, CPE

If you’ve been feeling surrounded by more angry people lately, you are not alone. As the initial intensity of preparing for the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated enthusiasm and adrenaline settles, I am also noticing a rise in anger.  read article

Mindfulness-based approaches to reduce stress and burnout

Paul Mohapel, PhD

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, physicians are facing increasing risk of stress and burnout, including physical and emotional exhaustion, compassion fatigue that leads to depersonalization, and a loss of meaning and efficacy in their work.1  read article

Agile, servant, and compassionate leadership: antidotes to perfectionism during uncertainty

Johny Van Aerde, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Many innate survival behaviours that served us well as cavemen work against us during the uncertainty created by the current crisis. Evolution wired us to be cautious about new situations and potential threats. However, that neurological wiring increases our distractibility, as continuing changes and the daily onslaught of COVID19-related information shift our attention frequently.  read article