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Management - Steps to Effective Crisis Management

The BAU (Business as Usual) activities are, in a way, quite drab. You, as a manager, get to work and make sure everything starts and ends well. You trust your team to deliver and they do on most days. The daily grind as such is not really all that difficult to manage. Then there are days that test you as a human being as well as a manager. Crisis and exceptions management is not easy and they can bring a company down if not handled effectively.  

Steps to effective crisis management  

First things first. There are a few things that should be done as soon as a crisis pops up:  

Gather as much information about the issue immediately and begin disseminating it within the team. Keeping everyone up to date and informed is vital.  

  • Always make sure you are around to respond and refute any incorrect claims and diffuse incorrect information as and when they come up.  
  • Once you have these two pointers covered, move on to the issue itself.  
  • Take out your crisis management plan and see what has to be done. You should have a few plans ready to go at all times. 
  • Anticipate crises and make sure you have plans for each of them. The idea is to not have to do any thinking or coming up with a plan when the boat starts sinking. In a crisis, your responses have to be rehearsed and you should not seem to be ‘winging it’ at any given time.  
  • Start at once. Do not wait for the issue to get worse or stabilise by itself. There is no guarantee that it will, so start working on it. The longer you wait, the more damage will happen.  
  • Establish roles. As per your management plan, create and assign roles to the team. Pick the ones who you know you can count on and assign temporary roles where these members can perform with ease. Your core team will have to work efficiently and mitigate the effects of the crisis.  
  • Do not assign blame. While a thorough report of the proceedings can be created after the crisis is handled, do not assign blames on people or teams and rile them during the crisis itself.  
  • Reflection. There has to be a team or a few members, depending on the size and potential repercussions of the crisis, who should be kept out of the problem-solving core team. They are the eyes and ears who will add perspective to the situation and offer an outsider's view. This is not always necessary but can be invaluable if the crisis is a big one.  

After the crisis is handled successfully, create a report, log it, and ensure that as a manager, you will not let this allow this to happen again.  

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