How to Lead During the COVID-19 Crisis: West Michigan Woman Interview with Bob VandePol

How to Lead During the COVID-19 Crisis: West Michigan Woman Interview with Bob VandePol

April 22, 2020

On April 22, Bob VandePol, MSW, Executive Director of Pine Rest Employee Assistance Program was interviewed via Facebook Live by Jennifer Pasqua from West Michigan Woman. The topic was “How to Lead During the COVID-19 Crisis”.

“Effective crisis leadership includes emphasis upon transition to a future focus and next steps,” said VandePol. “Response that compassionately acknowledges the impact of the incident and communicates pertinent information is foundational but not enough.”

“People derive a healthy sense of order and efficacy when gently but decisively steered away from reactive decisions toward routine, concrete, productive tasks. Doing so communicates an expectation of recovery that empowers and is likely to be internalized by them.”

“Powerlessness is terrifying. Leaders do well to focus people away from powerlessness toward what they do have control over. Healthy, life-giving control mitigates anxiety and allows natural resilience to occur. Inertia shifts into momentum. These tasks may need to be temporarily adapted but serve to promptly restore an increased sense of safety.”

Note there’s a little hiccup in the middle of the conversation, but just scroll through that part.

Bob VandePol serves as Executive Director of the Pine Rest Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Prior to spear heading our EAP program, Mr. VandePol was president of the world’s largest provider of critical incident response services to the workplace. Active as a keynote speaker, he has published and been quoted in business and clinical journals, co-authored book chapters addressing workplace response to tragedy, and has been featured as subject matter expert in numerous video training series. He managed CCN’s Command Center in Manhattan after the 2001 terrorist attacks and frequently consults regarding how executives can lead organizational recovery during crises. He brings tremendous insights in the EAP programs and services with his experience in crisis response training, consultation, and service to faith-based organizations.

Mr. VandePol can be contacted at 616.258.7548 or

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