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Have You Thought About Crisis Team Fatigue? 5 Tips to Avoid It and Re-Energise Your Team

Updated: Jun 22, 2021

Your crisis team has been on high alert, even in top gear, since March. Have you addressed the impact that this may have if something unexpected is around the next corner?

We have all been paying some attention to crisis fatigue – sadly it is a continuing risk for all individuals right now. Your crisis team has an additional challenge which is a little different from the crisis fatigue everyone else is experiencing.

Crisis fatigue for most stakeholders is founded in feelings of fear arising from the pandemic. Your crisis team will also be feeling fatigue from the constant pressure of adrenaline and stress resulting from their roles in managing the crisis – consciously or subconsciously.

This additional layer of fatigue for a critical group in your organization could be a real problem if another form of crisis emerges. Some of the potential risks include:

  • A failure to spot the new crisis or its potential impact

  • A failure to speedily plan and engage the right resources to address the new crisis

  • A failure to work effectively as a team

  • Critical absences and burnout amongst team members.

What can you do to avoid this? How can you create the sense of a break from the current fears and stresses and re-energize team members? Here are 6 tips to avoid crisis fatigue and re-energise your team:

  1. One good option is to give the team a mental break from the pandemic by turning attention briefly to something completely unrelated. You might do this by running a simulation of an entirely different situation and ensuring that it ends on a positive note: You’ve learnt so much!

  2. Another option is to take some time to change the pace and do a check-in with staff about how management of the pandemic is going. Even just this small change of tone from addressing the future unknowns to reflecting on what has gone well and what might need more attention can be a useful change of pace.

  3. Highlighting the work done by your crisis teams during this period is a good way to give credit to those who have been on the battleground for months.

  4. Perhaps it is also time to change up a couple of team members – by bringing in a few new faces you can refresh a sense of energy and reset the tone of communication within the team.

  5. It is also a great idea to reconnect the crisis team with top management / the CEO. Perhaps this has been happening already but it is worthwhile considering whether a cost of remote working has been that the boss no longer acknowledges team members in the hallways and elevators and this can have a bigger effect on morale than you might think! Try a team building activity or spend an afternoon working with a local charity – bonding over doing good is immensely powerful.

How did you personally live this period? What was it like for your organisation? What were the stress points for your crisis teams? Are you still as effective? Do you need refocus?

Lots to think about. We’re here to listen. Get in touch. And stay safe!

Cathy Heeley is a Singapore-based associate with CS&A International. She has 15 years’ experience as a legal counsel working with a top tier Australian firm and 14 years’ experience working as an in-house legal counsel with Kraft Foods, Mondelez International, Croda and Syngenta covering Asia Pacific.

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