How do you manage a crisis?

Many of us had an enjoyable Easter Sunday yesterday.  For our family we attended church together and then had a wonderful lunch and then enjoyed the afternoon together watching our favorite college baseball team, the Vanderbilt Commodores, defeat the Tennessee Vols again.

On another front, a very public one, it was a challenging afternoon, and one that will not soon be forgotten.  In front of million, Kevin Ware of the University of Louisville had one of the most unfortunate and tragic injuries I have every seen in a sporting event.  I will not show any video or photos of the injury here, but his lower leg suffered a compound fracture that practically make his lower leg bend at a 90 degree angle.  My thoughts and prayers are with Kevin and his family at this time.

My point in this post is not to dwell on the injury, but to think about what you should do when tragedy or misfortune enters the workplace.  We live in a fallen world and unfortunate things happen on a a regular basis.  People are injured either at work or in their personal lives and we, as leaders, need to understand how to deal with communicating and managing those left behind in the workplace.  Let’s spend a few minutes talking about things you should do.

  • Care for the injured-In some cases the tragedy takes place in the office or workplace and the first item of business is to make sure that those who are injured get the care or help they need.  This could range from CPR or a defibrillator for those with cardiac issues to a wide variety of first aid treatments depending upon the issue.  Care for the victim is #1.
  • Have the right people in the right place-too often there are bystanders who just get in the way when issues occur.  It is of great importance to limit those in any area where an accident or tragedy occurs.  The bystanders will just get in the way.  Make sure those giving care have ample room and use others to steer the sight seers in other directions.
  • Get the story straight-Too often the rumor mill will supplant the truth or real story when a tragedy occurs.  It is of crucial importance for the leaders in any business to get the story straight and into the hands of those who want to know as quickly as possible.  Even if the story is limited, tell what you know and offer to have updates at designated times.  Leaving a void only allows people to fill these voids with incorrect or inappropriate information.
  • Provide comfort and counseling-Many of those in the workplace will need support when a tragedy occurs to one of their co workers.  It is of great value to have this support available and in the workplace during and after information is shared.  You never know who will be affected and I have been surprised many times at those who take bad news in ways I would have never imagined.

Tragedy will occur, the odds show this, and you as a leader will be charged with managing issues you never read about in school.  Having a cool head and a good plan will go a long way in helping to support and comfort others in your workplace when that unfortunate incident occurs.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Kevin Ware and his family.   I am thankful that there were skilled medical personnel on site to help him and I know that the coaching staff of his team will take care to comfort the teammates.

Make sure your workplace can do the same.