Responding Effectively to a Crisis

How we respond to crises is in large part a result of who we are as individuals and groups or businesses, including our belief systems, fears, what we stand for, and how strongly ingrained those beliefs are in our psyche. While it is within our natural instincts to try to protect ourselves in any crisis situation, quick and effective response is an important aspect of crisis management. So, how do we respond correctly when all the chips are on the table and the correct decision must be made?

Normally, when a crisis occurs and the situation gets dangerous, our first response is to flee, putting as much distance as possible between ourselves and the situation at hand. We know that action needs to be taken to stave off the loss of life but people are sometimes physically incapable of dealing with a crisis situation effectively. Whether we freeze in inaction or distance ourselves from whatever the problem might be, our ineffective actions might turn a situation that could have been controlled into a major disaster that spirals out of control.

However, sometimes there are those individuals who respond calmly and smoothly, saving lives and doing what it takes to bring the situation under control. Why is it that some respond better when met with adversity? Some would say situational awareness is the deciding factor, and individuals who have it are more apt to respond correctly and effectively when everything is on the line. One of the best ways to increase your situational awareness skills is through training, as those who have been exposed to crisis situations are more likely to respond favorably when they need to.

A clear sense of values also helps in a crisis, as those who exhibit good leadership skills — openness, honesty, and a commitment to others, among other traits — tend to impart a higher level of trust in those who might be depending on them when dealing with disaster. It is this trust that gets others to take action when motivated by an individual who possesses the right set of skills needed to lead during a crisis situation.

For more information about the different responses during disaster, visit: