COVID-19 Crisis: Leadership Challenges in Public Institutions

Apr 28, 2020 , Ljubljana, Slovenia Webinar
Apr 28, 2020 Leadership for Managing Reforms

As every crisis is an opportunity, this webinar will focus on leadership challenges in public institutions and the following questions: How can we connect and co-create in the changed environment? How can this process be authentic for each country and still connected with what the world is doing? How to understand where the opportunity in the post COVID-19 period lies? What do leaders need to prioritize? How to avoid crisis management to become one-person show and instead demonstrate co-operation? How can they efficiently engage people?


The CEF has been putting the topic of leadership high on the agenda to support public officials that manage reforms. Just before theCOVID-19 crisis we held a workshop “Coordinators of Economic Reform Programs (ERP) as Inspired Leaders”, for high level officials responsible for annual developing of the ERP documents in the Western Balkans and Turkey. They are confronted with leadership challenges in the ERP document development process. At the same time, their work is challenged by the needed adjustments of the existing public financial management (PFM) systems of their countries.

The COVID-19 crisis has suddenly increased uncertainty to unprecedented levels. Existential fears are arising. Reliable data for decision making is scarce. There is a challenge to keep people connected and motivated to create quick solutions and adapt to unfamiliar situations. This elevated leadership challenges that in the “usual times” no one would have expected. It strengthened the need to co-operate in the existing systems and also to co-create new responses to the challenges we are facing.

The leadership challenges are therefore opening questions on the functioning and ruptures of the “pre-COVID-19” systems. They invite to create new solutions, keeping in mind that the systems and operations inside the systems are created by leadership structures. These are important points for reflection in the context of CEF’s support of public institutions in the processes of reforming their PFM systems.  

The pressing COVID-19 crisis shows that the way forward is co-operation. Co-operation can be an empty word. Or, we can give it an actual meaning by active listening and open sharing. They are the basis for connection and consequentially co-creation.

How will you benefit?

This webinar will:

  • Address leadership challenges arising during the COVID-19 crisis, recognizing that the developed solutions might stay for a longer period of time and even become the new normal.
  • Highlight the nontechnical factors influencing the decision making on the way forward through and beyond the crisis.
  • Explain the concept of “change agents” and their leadership role in the reform processes. 
  • Reflect on the concept of co-operation in the change and reform processes. Does it reflect the active listening, open sharing that are the basis of connection and co-creation?   

Who should attend?

This webinar is open to all experts, managers and leaders from South East Europe and beyond, that work on the implementation of reforms at different levels in their countries and/or are facing the COVID-19 crisis related challenges. 

Place and Time

The webinar will take place on April 28, 3 pm - 4 pm

Please register on our Online learning campus and then Enroll in the webinar. We will then share the password with you.

The webinar will be delivered in English.


Matthew Andrews, Senior Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School

His research focuses on public sector reform, particularly budgeting and financial management reform, and participatory governance in developing and transitional governments. Recent articles focus on forging a theoretical understanding of the nontechnical factors influencing success in reform processes. Specific emphasis lies on the informal institutional context of reform, as well as leadership structures within government-wide networks. This research developed out of his work in the provincial government of Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa and more recently from his tenure as a Public Sector Specialist working in the Europe and Central Asia Region of the World Bank. He brings this experience to courses on public management and development. He holds a BCom (Hons) degree from the University of Natal, Durban (South Africa), an MSc from the University of London, and a PhD in Public Administration from the Maxwell School, Syracuse University.