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Crisis Management Skills

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September 28, 2022 Posted by in Crisis Communications

Crisis management skills are often neglected — until an actual crisis occurs. Then, it’s often too late for those skills to be expertly applied and useful. That’s why preparation, brainstorming, and drilling your crisis management skills should be made a top priority. Here, we consider some best practices.

In order to sharpen your crisis management skills, anticipate and prepare.

Start with a list. Think of all the ways your business can come head to head with a crisis. From there, figure out what you would need to do to handle, cope with, confront and prevent any kind of danger that may come your way (see list below).

Emergencies you may encounter (keep this list handy!): 

  • extreme or severe weather
  • building emergencies (think fire or flooding)
  • health issues (possibly COVID or other infectious diseases)
  • communication network failure
  • ransomware attack or hacking
  • active shooter
  • criminal activity
  • IT malfunctions
  • security breaches

In every situation:

Evolve your communications skills. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds, but there are ways to acquire the right skills to get your message out to the right people in the right way. When a crisis arises, communicate with your people in a timely manner. Include as much information as you can without overloading the recipients, or sending them into a panic. Be brief but informative. Make sure any directions or instructions are useful and easy to follow. Tailor your message so that your recipients won’t have to draw their own conclusions. Remember to continually keep your recipients updated.

Stay cool. It may not be easy when emotions are running high and your people may be in a panic. They will look to you and how you are reacting. Be calm. Be empathetic. Try to remain rational. Work off of any legitimate information that comes your way. You and your staff are all in this crisis together. Remember that everyone is looking to see how you are making decisions.

Be humble. You want to come off as cool, calm and collected, but you also don’t want to look arrogant or confrontational, especially if the situation involves violence. Be ready to let other people participate in the crisis solution; don’t insist on being the sole hero. Know that you’re not perfect, and that you may make mistakes, despite your best intentions. “Failure is not an option” is a great motivating statement, but failure may come, and it may not be easy to accept.

Be motivating. In an emergency, situations and circumstances can change in seconds. Your business staff could be knocked off course by fear or insecurity or not knowing what is going to happen next. Be sure to encourage them through it, tell them that you will all get through this together. Listen. Let them know that they are valued and supported and their lives are more important than anything, even your business.

Show courage, but not recklessness. As the leader of your business, you will be expected to be the leader of the crisis rescue, even if you are not physically at the location in question. What will fuel your courage: assessing your rescue ideas and solutions in advance, rehearsing and drilling the course of action with your staff. Eliminate what could be harmful or dangerous strategies.

See the crisis from your staff’s perspective. As mentioned earlier, a sense of empathy allows you to see things from others’ point of view. This strategy can also help you rescue staff and prevent further danger, because you are showing that you completely understand how your staff is feeling and reacting. You and your staff thinking and acting as one may eliminate confusion, chaos, anger and cynicism in the midst of the danger.

Be sure to include a mass notification system to support your crisis management skills

A mass notification system allows you to send emergency alerts to your staff throughout the crisis you’re facing. It includes features that let you contact and interact with your staff in real time, without worrying about weak signals or complicated usage. RedFlag offers a system like this with the following features and benefits:

One easy-to-use platform: One click sends your message. Your recipients receive it in real time. No delays.

Plan your message in advance. The best way to compose your instructions is long before any emergency happens. You don’t want to brainstorm and create messages in the middle of an emergency, no matter how good your mass notification system is. Don’t worry — you can always edit and change your message during the emergency, if need be. The good news is that the core of your message will always be there, and can be further finessed if possible. That means a lot less trouble when trouble is all around you.

Integrates with your existing IT: No hassles of integrating RedFlag into your system. It’s designed to be seamless and unobtrusive.

Your recipients receive your message the way they normally receive messages: Your one message goes to every platform. Your recipients can choose their preferred platform in advance: texts, email, voicemail, desktop alerts, Microsoft Teams alerts, and more.

Two-way communication brings you closer with your recipients: You don’t want to be ignorant as to where your people are, and if they are okay. This vital feature lets you hear from them. Take a head count and know who may need help.

Customization: Design your RedFlag mass notification system they you want it and need it to be recognized by your staff. Include your company logo or a “secret word” that only your recipients will recognize. Let them know that the messages are, in fact, coming from you, and they can trust your ongoing communications.

Accountability: You may need a detailed account of how you interacted and communicated with your staff during the crisis. This could be for insurance or legal reasons. Most importantly, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that your staff is safe and accounted for. Let the data show that you have done everything you have possibly could for your people, and that you invested in technology that will help your staff in any crisis.

Security: Your data and messages are protected and secure. They will not be pushed offline, or hacked. Your sacred business information will also remain secure. Your communications will go only to the people who need to see it — nobody else. You will have granted access to the people you choose in advance with permissions required.

Send from anywhere, including your smartphone: It’s possible that you may not be on the premises when an emergency happens, even if your crisis management plan says that you will be present. However, you can still protect and communicate urgent instructions from wherever you happen to be at that moment.

Bottom Line

Don’t wait until it’s too late to discover and evolve your crisis management skills. Learn in advance what it takes to be an effective crisis manager, and put that education to good use before a crisis occurs. Taking these proactive steps may lead to greater safety, and possibly prevention of injury or death.

Find out more about how RedFlag can help you at every step of your crisis management. Click here

Need help creating an all-hazards emergency response plan? Let us help you. Click here

The Crisis Ready Institute offers 8 soft skills every crisis manager needs for maximum effect. Click here


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