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Only half of managers can handle a crisis


Most managers (94%) reported facing crises during their career, but only half (55%) coped

Only half (55%) of managers report being able to handle crises at work professionally, according to Bouncing Back: Leadership lessons in resilience, a report issued by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Most managers (94%) divulged having faced crises during their career, with 78% blaming a lack of support from senior management and 68% citing culture failure as responsible.

The most common workplace crises were significant conflict with a colleague (54%) and unfair treatment (49%), closely followed by project failure (36%). Managers struggled to deal with these crises and four-fifths (81%) claimed their confidence suffered as a result. Almost two-thirds (63%) said their capacity to do their job was impaired.

The researchers found the impact was even worse on a personal level; only 36% believed they dealt with the emotional effect well. Four out of five (82%) managers described this emotional impact as severe or very severe.

Among managers that have dealt with a crisis before, 77% take a more active approach to risk management. This includes encouraging colleagues to discuss what they learned from the situation more openly (81%) and to communicate more effectively (83%). Most managers who have overcome adversity (84%) said that they are more prepared to handle a similar crisis in the future, and 85% reported that they now actively work to create and maintain a good workplace culture.

Ann Francke, CEO of the CMI, said that surviving a crisis starts with destigmatising adversity and making it easier to learn lessons. “We need to have more open and inclusive cultures that tolerate risk and learn from challenges,” she said. “On a personal level it means learning to accept, to look forward, and to become more self-aware as a leader. We can learn as much, if not more, from defeat as from victory. Managers need to build resilience so they and those they lead can achieve more, survive better and bounce back stronger.”