Two Penn State faculty members with expertise in crisis leadership will host an upcoming webinar about how executives and managers can lead effectively in challenging times. 

The experts, Paul Obidinski, a professor of practice in psychology, and Jill K. Wheeler, a lecturer in psychology, teach in the online Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership that is offered through Penn State World Campus.

The webinar, Leadership in Times of Crisis, is scheduled for Thursday, May 20, from noon–1 p.m. (ET). Registration is open through the Penn State World Campus website.

During the webinar, Wheeler and Obidinski will explore different kinds of crises that leaders may encounter, such as national crises, those that are prolonged, those that occur within businesses and organizations, and more. The discussion will cover the dynamics that led to the crises, the steps leaders can take to manage the situation, and ethics and communication as essential parts of leadership.

Jill Wheeler

“We’ve seen a lot of crisis situations arise, particularly over the course of the last few years,” said Wheeler, an industrial-organizational psychologist and consultant who has held leadership positions in several multibillion-dollar enterprises. 

For instance, the U.S. has experienced a wave of severe crises: The COVID-19 pandemic created a public health crisis, wildfires have threatened the western part of the country, and police-shooting deaths of Black Americans have led to protests and civil unrest.

The crises underscore the importance of successful crisis management and leaders who have the skills and knowledge required to make decisions and respond to the challenges, no matter the size or the scope.

Paul Obidinski

At the organizational level, companies could face a crisis after a product recall or a scandal involving the CEO. Crises may also have to be managed by leaders at various levels of the organizational hierarchy, from executives to mid-level managers. 

“We will provide a baseline for understanding that there's more than one type of crisis and there are different situations that get you to a crisis point,” said Obidinski, who has served as an attorney in private practice and held executive leadership roles at several Fortune 100 companies.

The webinar has been recorded for viewing after its live broadcast.

For those interested in learning more about the online Master of Professional Studies in Psychology of Leadership, Penn State World Campus will host a webinar on Thursday, June 3, at noon (ET) that focuses on the online master’s degree program.

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