A good manager can help mitigate the trauma of a workplace crisis. This applies to all types of upsetting events including sudden deaths, natural disasters, terrorism, robberies, product failure, layoffs, bad publicity, and/or workplace violence. Preparation is the key when facing a serious crisis.
Not sure if you are prepared or not?
- Find out if there is a crisis plan in place for unforeseen events. Too many organizations are surprised when a crisis occurs. If you are not satisfied with what you find, lead the charge to review and revise the plan.
- Learn about the basics of critical incident response in order to avoid pitfalls. All crisis counseling and communication are based on a model of resiliency. In a recent presentation, Bob Vanderpol, President of Crisis Care Network, said that resiliency factors include a variety of healthy behaviors such as a belief in something bigger than oneself to help move forward, good self-care, and access to a strong support system. Knowing how to communicate an expectation of recovery takes some preparation.
- As a manager, your employees will look to you for information and guidance. The EAP can be on site to talk to employees but the real message comes from leadership. Access your EAP quickly for help with messaging about the incident.
- People need information to move away from their anxiety. The EAP will help with a script to help you and other senior leaders and help you to get comfortable delivering the news. The message should be clear and direct. Employees will be comforted when they see you act with compassion and confidence. They want to know what you know and how the organization will be responding.
- Acknowledge that the events have impacted you and that you understand that others will be impacted too. Be prepared and open to a wide variety of reactions and show care and concern for others.
Good crisis leadership is critically important, yet many managers are caught off guard. Work with the EAP to position leaders as caring, honest and hopeful. You will encourage resiliency and help people get back on track quickly.