Work is a place like every other and like good things, bad things can happen as well. The worst thing you can do when crisis happens is to blame someone else. Even if that someone is to blame.
When things go downhill, it can be the right time for you to prove your skills, resourcefulness, compassion and calmness. These four qualities can make the difference between an employee who does his job and an employee who is leader material.
But to take responsibility does not mean that you should dig deep and hide silently while waiting for your computer to delete the entire archive of the business or the machine breaks down irretrievably. Asking for help and asking questions is not the sign of weakness, but evidence that you take your job seriously. Confidence is a good servant, but an evil master. Like the fear: a little fear can ensure thoroughness, but if that fear grows into panic, errors will happen.
Because of that and like with everything else, the best recipe on how to manage a crisis at work is balance: a balance between speed and thoroughness, from taking a job alone and teamwork, and between action and reaction.
Crisis will not go away if you ignore it. If someone else is fixing your problems, that someone else should be receiving your pay check as well. While your managers can oversee that person’s initiative, they will certainly not miss your running away from responsibility.
Crisis is not time for analysing. When car accidents happen, the first thing to do is to help the injured and remove the danger to prevent further accidents. Same thing applies to work. First, fix the problem and stop it from recurring. Leave the finding the person responsible to someone else.
There is not a plan for every situation. If every situation could be foreseen, we would leave all work to robots. This is why when crisis happen it is best to follow your common sense and ask colleagues for advice instead of reading manuals.
Notify your superiors. Most important thing that is often forgotten is to inform your superior that a crisis has occurred. He will certainly appreciate you for keeping him in the loop and chances are, he has dealt with something similar before and will know what needs to be done in order to minimize the negative effects of the crisis.
Establish a crisis team to handle the matter. You certainly do not want the crisis to escalate by consuming the attention of your entire department or organisation.
Decide on a main contact person that will be responsible for all communication in times of crisis. This way, you will minimize rumours and make sure that all information that is given is true.
Be aware of fatigue. In events of crisis, stress and fatigue can have a negative effect on your team’s efficiency.
Do not act in haste. We know that you want to solve the crisis as fast as possible but you need to plan your actions carefully to minimize further damage caused by the crisis at your workplace.