Leadership: How to lead in times of confinement and lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis

This e-Master Class will be held from 9-13 November 2020 from 10:00-12:00 each day. It will be live on Zoom, and active participation is required. 

Management in times of the Covid-19 crisis is about maintaining crucial services for society and preserving jobs for the future. This special situation demands from leaders the ability to direct, motivate and organize dispersed teams working under extremely heterogeneous and stressful conditions. But how do we cope?

'Leadership needs presence!' is a common thought among leaders. Being in the same room, employing direct contact and charisma is considered an indispensable prerequisite to successfully leading a team. Suddenly being cut off from usual habits and leading routines by corona confinement throws leaders out of their usual comfort zone. Many of them experience the sense of loss of control.

But just consider for a moment: Is this new situation a chance for change? This Master Class explores the now enforced decentralized action as an asset of value. It highlights the unique force of shared responsibilities, delegation, trust and responsibly used freedom. It focuses on successful strategies of leadership experiences in times of crisis, which might be helpful as well in times of regular business. And it reflects on leadership principles which were successful before and which will remain essential after the crisis. 

This e-Master Class collects the insight of top professionals of our media industry and aspires to put them into an applicable framework of leadership skills. It will need the active involvement of the participants – to share thoughts, clear their doubts and nail down take-aways for the future.

What you can take away from this Masterclass:

  • Insight into leadership skills based on evidence, effectiveness and success.
  • Firsthand practical experience of distinguished leaders of our media industry.
  • Assisted self-reflection on your own leadership skills including the elaboration of a personal action plan for the upcoming months. 
  • Coaching on your personal action plan if required.


Monday 9 November 2020

Module 1: The crucial role of 'roles'

The proper and flexible management of roles is a necessary ability in every organization. In particular for leaders it is a key skill. Not only do they have to manage their own roles in the context of the hierarchy of their organization, but they also have to assign, shape, oversee and manage the roles of their team members. Therefore they need a full understanding of the crucial role of ‘roles’.

The guest contributer for this module will be Brigitta Nickelsen, Directorate for Corporate Development and Operations, Radio Bremen, ARD. Brigitta will talk about her leadership principles, on her practice and take-aways from the crisis focusing on a good management of roles.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Module 2: Responsibility always equals 100 percent

Responsibility is a complex and dynamic balance of influence and power in an organization. It is comparted between different players in different roles on all hierarchical levels. And it always sums up to 100%. Leaders should have a good understanding of the principles of responsibility. One reason is the performance of their own role. The other is the performance of their team - bad management of responsibilities (i.e. by petty management) will make it weak instead of strong. 

The guest contributor for this module will be Eric van Stade, CEO of Avrotros in the Netherlands. He will talk about his leadership principles and his practice and take-aways from the crisis focusing on his perception of the leadership skill responsibility.

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Module 3: The economics of trust

Traditional organizations work on control and a vertical principal of assignment of tasks (top-down) and reporting of results (bottom-up). Everything has to be controlled. This is based on the military principal based of order and obedience. But does this yield the best results? There are many reasons to believe that there is a leadership resource much more efficient than the ability to control, and this is the ability to trust. Actually this is the most powerful resource a leader has at hand.

The guest contributor for this module will be Francesca Unsworth, Director of News & Current Affairs for BBC News. Fran oversees the BBC’s News and Current Affairs programming. She will talk about her leadership principles, her practice and take-aways from the crisis focusing on the issues of trust applied to a huge team working on a big number of different news programs.

Thursday 12 November 2020

Module 4: There is no leadership without bonding

Bonding is a concept coming from development psychology (‘Attachment Theory’ by James Bowlby), which has been adapted into management theory. In terms of organization it basically says that you can only lead those with whom you have a bond. The lack of bonding is a common problem in organizations and often leads to passive behaviour, bad performance and conflicts. Bonds are not stable and have to be renewed regularly. To manage your bonding with your team, your peers and your superiors is a key leadership skill and a very powerful instrument of leadership.

The guest contributor for this module will be Noel Curran, Director General of the EBU. He will talk about his leadership principles and the way he applied them for his staff during the crisis. His focus is: 'How to bond with a huge and very diverse team?'.

Friday 13 November 2020

Module 5: The concept of 'contracts'

A contract – a written or spoken agreement between two willing parties – in the daily work of a leader can be so much more than just a written work contract: Negotiating agreements on roles, responsibilities, targets and specific tasks is an indispensable instrument of daily leadership work. In that sense contracts are a complex and dynamic system meant to steer and manage an organization. Leaders who are aware that they are in effect continuously negotiating and closing petty-contracts with their team, peers and superiors, for example on roles and responsibilities, enhance their effectiveness by clear cut and transparent behaviour.

The guest contributor for this module is to be confirmed shortly. Please check back again for more information.


Faculty member


Business Innovation Strategy


09 - 13 Nov 2020


Registration Deadline

06 Nov 2020

Registration details

Fee: €350

Working languages


Contact detail

Nathalie Labourdette
Head of EBU Academy
+41 22 717 21 46