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Lead Your Team Personal Growth

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Next Work Crisis (Even If You Don't Know What It Is Yet)

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Next Work Crisis (Even If You Don't Know What It Is Yet)
/ Credit: nito/Shutterstock

If you want to be a good workplace leader, you had better be able to put out fires when they flare up.

Bill Driscoll, New England district president of the staffing services firm Accountemps, said managers face a wide variety of crises on a regular basis, everything from data breaches and social media gaffes, to top employees quitting and financial reporting errors.

"Creating detailed plans for dealing with potential problems before they occur can keep a headache from ballooning into a full-fledged catastrophe," Driscoll said in a statement.

To help managers and supervisors avert crises or mitigate the damage when issues do arise, Accountemps offers several tips.

  • Have a plan: The old saying "hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" definitely applies here. Businesses should have plans in place to deal with potential crises and conduct regular "fire drills" so employees know exactly what to do and who to consult in an emergency. This will help everyone stay cool-headed when the pressure's on, while also cutting down on response times.
  • Be proactive: When it comes to critical projects, managers should be checking in on staffers regularly to cut down on last-second scrambling. They should ensure theirteam is on track, and has the necessary resources and information to meet its goals.
  • Create a transparent culture: It's critical bosses encourage honest communication among their employees. They should be promoting smart, strategic risk-taking, while also creating an environment where employees feel comfortable owning up to mistakes or sharing concerns.
  • Use data: Data analytics tools can enable managers to spot potential problems, and correct courses when needed, earlier than in years past. Business analysts can help leaders spot upcoming obstacles, such as a sudden decrease in sales. 
  • Learn from mistakes: When mistakes do occur, supervisors need totake the time to understand what went wrong. They should put key programs and campaigns under the microscope to pinpoint the root causes of issues to avoid similar problems in the future.

The good news for business leaders is that the number of emergencies they face each week appears to be on the decline. Nearly half of chief financial officers surveyed say they contend with at least one unexpected crisis a week, down from 80 percent who said the same 10 years ago, according to an Accountemps study.

The research was based on interviews with more than 2,100 CFOs from companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.