As a leader, you may find yourself in a situation where you have to manage people during an emergency. Whether it is a tornado or other natural disaster, hazardous material contamination, an active shooter or a medical emergency, your employees and staff will automatically look to you to get them through it. But how do you do that? Here are seven emergency management tips:
Calmness. Above all else, stay calm. This will help you think more clearly and lead to better decision making. It will also help keep everyone around you calm.
Confidence. While vulnerability can be a positive trait in a leader, an emergency is not the time to share your feelings of inadequacy. People need someone to rally around in an emergency who they think will lead them through it, and they want someone who exudes the confidence that everything will turn out right.
Decisiveness. Don’t be wishy-washy in making a decision on what needs to be done. Make sure you’ve given your options some thought, but during an emergency you will have to assess them quickly and act on the best one.
Education. Taking time to learn how to deal with various emergency situations before they happen will improve your confidence in your decision-making skills during a stressful time.
Resourcefulness. Each situation will be unique, so it may present a challenge that you weren’t prepared for and which requires a new strategy. You don’t have to be McGyver, but be prepared to think quickly and take advantage of the resources you have at hand to provide the best outcome.
Empowerment. In any group, a few people will be willing to step forward and help out. Empower them to do so with specific tasks, but also be willing to listen to their ideas. This eases your burden and creates a wider sense of confidence among the group.
Empathy. Recognize that people in your group will have different responses to stress – crying, angry outbursts, denial, pessimism, even joking. In all likelihood, they are all scared. Put yourself in their place and think what you’d want out of a leader in that situation.