- IMD Business School

How not to be a hostage to COVID-19: Episode 2

Being a secure base in times of threat and uncertainty
5 min.
April 2020

This is an episode in the video series How not to be a hostage to COVID-19. Psychologist George Kohlrieser, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour, IMD, brings his long experience as a hostage negotiator to the table. He provides practical advice for getting past fear and worry, helping us to retake a position of power and refusing to become a psychological hostage to the COVID-19 crisis.

In episode two, Being a Secure Base in times of threat and uncertainty, Professor Kohlrieser explains the concept of Secure Base Leadership. The Secure Base’s role is to shut down the brain’s tendency to look for danger and keep amygdala stimulation to a safe minimum.

A Secure Base’s second role is to inspire—during these times, that implies virtual leadership. This can help you change your emotions and move to a positive mindset, which will help both you and others focus on the ultimate goal.

Professor Kohlrieser gives a personal example of this type of leadership technique that occurred during a turbulent plane ride. When a fellow passenger panicked and started screaming, he was able to show caring by holding her hand. That gesture, and the language Kohlrieser used during the event, helped to alleviate the fearful passenger’s worry and keep her calm.

To view all videos, please visit our Leading in Turbulent Times page here.


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