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What does a Crisis Manager do?

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  • Written By: Jill Gonzalez
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 08 November 2016
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A crisis manager is responsible for dealing with major events that have the potential to cause serious harm to a company. It is a very important organizational function that carries a tremendous amount of corporate responsibility. Without an effective crisis management program and a competent crisis manager, companies can experience crippling financial losses that are very difficult, if not impossible, to recover from.

Often, crisis management employees work in teams as a part of a company's public relations or human resources department. In order for a crisis plan of action to be effective, a company must have a clearly defined set of actions that must occur whenever a critical situation occurs. This plan of action must address the specific threats that need to be dealt with in a crisis, as well as how those threats should be handled. Management personnel are often the ones responsible for defining the parameters for these types of situations.

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In addition to being responsible for creating a plan of action in the event of a corporate-wide disaster, a crisis manager is also usually responsible for assembling a team of personnel who share responsibilities in the event of an emergency. This person might also be appointed as a company spokesperson, which means accepting additional responsibility for communicating with members of the media. Essentially, this means that the person in charge might be the one who has to give interviews to the media, hold press conferences, or issue press releases in response to emergency situations.

With this type of job comes a great deal of responsibility, which often translates to a great deal of pressure and stress. Crisis managers, therefore, need to work well under pressure and have the ability to remain composed even when there are dozens of different things that need to be taken care of at once. Individuals who hold these positions need to be able to function in a controlled, logical manner and be able to think quickly in any given situation.

A crisis manager is someone who carries most of the responsibility for maintaining a company's good public image when something happens that may make the company look bad. On a more positive note, crisis managers are usually compensated quite well simply because the job is extremely stressful and demanding. Overall, it requires a unique personality type to excel at this particular job, and not everyone is cut out to handle such an enormous amount of responsibility.

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Mammmood
Post 4

@David09 - I couldn’t have said it better myself – which is why I will never go into crisis management consulting.

As to your point about the public skepticism, believe it or not, I think that in crisis management you are taught that in fact the public is fundamentally skeptical about what you say.

Part of the art – or finesse, if you will – of becoming a good crisis manager is to say things that reflect your understanding of the skepticism.

I’m sure these consultants focus group and know what the general mood of the public is at any given time; a good crisis manager will not offer meaningless sentiment but will tap into the public mood, identify with it, and tactfully speak in a way to regain the public's trust.

People who can do that are as good as gold.

David09
Post 3

@live2shop - One of the things that make crisis management training difficult in our day and age is the increasing skepticism of the general public (and the media) about what these managers do.

In other words, when a company puts out a statement, we say things like they are “spinning” or in “damage control.” These words betray that we believe what they’re doing is somewhat disingenuous, at least from what I can tell.

In a media culture that is no longer dominated by a few news outlets but constant chatter over talk radio and the Internet, the general public is always looking to go deeper than accepting a company’s official public statement in the midst of the crisis.

You mentioned the BP Gulf oil spill. I think that nothing could have been said to redeem that situation in my opinion. All they could do was issue an an apology and demonstrate a commitment to fix the mess.

lovealot
Post 2

Some of the fast food chains have had some bad press about the unhealthy and fattening food they serve. It just takes a governmental agency to do a study and publish the results, naming particular fast food restaurants.

The company's crisis manager and his team needs to be prepared about how they plan to act when this situation comes. I would think that they would already have a plan in place, but there might be a different twist to the new situation. So they have to get creative.

live2shop
Post 1

This article made me think of the BP oil crisis in the Gulf. I hope they had a big crisis team because they really had to scramble for quite a while to get things somewhat calmed down.

I imagine the crisis manager didn't get much sleep. He was probably fielding questions from the media and being hounded by the government and environmental groups.

As I remember, the crisis team just kind of went numb, trying to keep from getting into deeper trouble. I don't know if their crisis management plan was equipped to handle problems as immense as this one.

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