As our company faced one of the largest health crises in modern history, there was a heightened level of responsibility placed on leaders across the organization. Not only did they have to run our retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers, they had to keep their associates safe from a highly contagious virus.


“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our leaders were faced with many new and complex challenges,” Senchal said. “You could feel the pressure our leaders shouldered as they navigated how to keep our stores fully operational while ensuring the safety of our associates & customers was never compromised.”


Senchal Murphy, director of learning and development, recognized the overall need for leadership training to help managers understand how to lead through this crisis. She along with others on her team brainstormed different ideas to provide tools, tips and techniques to help leaders navigate the trying times.


Senchal and her team landed on a three-part series called “Leading in a Time of Crisis.” The series began with two handouts that provided crisis leadership tips as well as assessment tools to help our leaders improve their skills.


The third piece consisted of five videos, featuring various levels of leaders throughout the organization who addressed different aspects of leading in a time of crisis. These videos focused on topics like remaining calm, having empathy for associates, communicating and simply being there for their associates.


The handouts and videos were provided to leaders of others through our manager e-newsletter and posted to our leader intranet page.


Feedback, both solicited and unsolicited, has been positive, according to Senchal. Although the focus is no longer on a crisis, the team plans to continue to share leadership development materials in the future as leaders adjust to a “new normal” for their teams.