Top 10 List to Help Manage Reactions During a Crisis


By Kathy Parry

Keeping an organization resilient through a crisis requires a plan. Reactions to the crisis are one of the most critical pieces to control. If reactions get out of hand, reputations, bottom lines and customer/client/resident satisfaction are negatively impacted. Use these ideas to keep reactions positive and productive.

  1. Stay Transparent

    When an organization is being stretched by a crisis both employees and clients/customers/residents are looking for clear and honest information. Provide this and always reveal when you do not have all the information.

  2. Scheduled Communication

    Set times and post, email or announce when you will give updates with information. Knowing when more information is coming helps calm reactions.

  3. Establish an Outside Communication Strategy

    Think about not only your internal team, but who you serve. Set up a team to keep your client/customer/residents updated. This is an important step to take before the crisis even happens.

  4. System to Answer Questions and Concerns

    How can employees get their questions and concerns answered? Make this a part of your inside and outside communication plan

  5. Understand of the Types of Reactions

    Not all reactions are the same. Help your teams understand that their reactions can affect the situation in a positive or negative way. A reasonable timeframe should be set for the emotional first reaction, then steps to manage the crisis should be in place.

  6. Identify Team Members to Skilled in Helping Others

    Some individuals handle crisis with a more moderate reaction. Identify these individuals and use them in your communication efforts

  7. Train for Concentrated Listening

    Before crises happen, train your teams on active listening skills. Emotional reactions tend to block out facts. But if your team is trained in concentrated listening skills, information is communicated more clearly.

  8. Publish a Timeline

    Keep in control of the crisis by putting some of the issues in your control. Adding a specific timeline helps your team understand their role and expectations.

  9. Encourage Stress Reduction Activities

    Ask employees to implement five minutes of stress reduction each hour. Breathing, guided meditation, water break or a walk.

  10. Evaluate the System for the Next Crisis

    At the end of each day record and evaluate how your team reacted, what steps were taken to handle customer/client/resident reactions and the effectiveness of your communication.


Kathy Parry is the Corporate Energy Expert and author of The Rubber Band Resilient Leader. She helps organization stay resilient, energized and effective during transitional events. Learn more about her strategic workshops and keynote speaking at Kathy is frequent ABA's Marketplace speaker.

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