Crisis Traits And Competencies


By Dr. Jakaria Dasan, Director, Corporate Communication Centre


A crisis is a significant calamity that can arise from a natural disaster, illness, human error, intentional purpose, or any combination of these. When it comes to the workplace, a crisis is an unforeseen event that serves as managers' ultimate test. Insufficient knowledge can quickly cause panic attacks and impair one's ability to think clearly. As a result, as the crisis worsens, the situation gets worse.

Notably, maintaining composure is the best course of action. It is required of you as the crisis management accountable officer to provide a great deal of explanation. Your first response is to go back to the four traits of a crisis that will help you deal with it effectively.

The element of surprise comes first. A crisis strikes without warning and without any indication of when, what, or how it may manifest.  Without adequate planning, you won't be able to control the situation and will be taken by surprise.

At that point, the second crisis characteristic—a lack of information—appears. Your delayed reactions to the issue will highlight the team's shortcomings. It makes sense that having less facts makes it harder for you to make a strategic decision.

When a crisis strikes, things usually happen quickly. Things happened so quickly that you were barely able to get enough sleep or healthy meals. You'll feel emotionally spent and depleted. Actually, this third trait makes you just focus on the here and now, forcing you to make a snap judgement.

Fourth, the media, authorities, stakeholders, and rivals will be closely observing. Every action feels as though it is being examined closely. The stress of being unprepared will only make matters worse.

Crucial crisis management techniques are essential crisis competencies. The first competency is effectively leading the crisis to its conclusion, which calls for a capable team and a strong leader. It is the team leader's responsibility to lead, not to manage, the crisis. First, trust must be built, and positive behaviours and deserving deeds shape perceptions.

Second, by identifying risks and organising solutions in advance, organisations can strengthen their crisis management capabilities. Establishing a fundamental communications framework is equally crucial to avoid wasting time in an emergency. Be aware of who makes decisions for you, how to reach them, and the messages you are sending. Keep the contact details for your security team, human resources, pertinent departments, communications team, and anybody else you might need to get in touch with readily available.

Thirdly, you must possess the ability to understand your audience and the media ecosystem as an environment. Put differently, it is crucial to adjust your communications plan according to your surroundings. It is imperative to possess an understanding of your target audience, cultivate connections with prominent figures in the media and industry, and prioritise each choice you make.

In conclusion, you need to be aware of the four hallmarks of a crisis before you can effectively manage one: the element of surprise, the lack of appropriate information, the rapid tempo of the event, and the intense scrutiny. You'll feel more at ease and prepared to steer the crisis through to resolution if you combine this understanding with the crisis competencies.


Dr. Jakaria Dasan is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Business, Economics, and Accountancy at Universiti Malaysia Sabah. He holds a doctorate in human resource management and is a Corporate Communication course lecturer. One of the main subjects of his Corporate Communication course is crisis management. In addition, he is the Director of the UMS Corporate Communication Centre, where he has some expertise in managing crises.

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