How to Respond to Crisis Like an FBI Special Agent

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

We all would like the distinction of responding to a crisis like an FBI Special Agent. The phrase of cool, calm, and collected comes to mind, along with wisdom, leadership, and a big umbrella of management techniques.

Special Agent training doesn’t end at Quantico; more specialized training is required for the various divisions. Suspected crimes that use the FBI’s investigative capabilities are violent crime, terrorism, counterintelligence, cybercrime, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, white-collar, and WMD.

I’m not equipped to address any of those issues! But I write about them in my suspense novels, and I’ve certainly experienced a few critical situations. Our crisis may never be to the extent of special agents’ expertise, but sometimes separating fighting siblings, dealing with an irate neighbor, or negotiating in a fender-bender can be just as volatile. Logic and common sense should take the lead in dealing with unpleasant happenings.

By examining the initial and ongoing training every agent receives, we can begin to put some of these admirable strengths to work in our own lives.

The following eleven tips will help us work through tense circumstances without allowing emotions and pressure to threaten the outcome or our sanity.

  1. Respect all those involved.
  2. Commit to resolving the problem regardless of how long it takes.
  3. Acquire the knowledge to problem solve and exhibit good judgment.
  4. Enlist traits to mediate and resolve conflict. Dealing with emotional and difficult people can be a challenge.
  5. Use a calm voice. This sets the stage for civil discussions.
  6. Analyze what has transpired that caused the problem. Listen objectively and ask for clarification from those involved. Repeat what was said for confirmation.
  7. Respond positively to all parties. The outcome is valuable to all those involved.
  8. Take leadership seriously and learn to seize control of negotiations.
  9. Prioritize a plan of action and take responsibility.
  10. Make decisions and accept the consequences.
  11. Learn from others who have mastered the strategies needed in times of crisis.

We don’t have to be FBI special agents to act responsibly—but we can initiate learning how to proceed appropriately when life tosses a wrench into our paths.

Can you provide a tip to help us manage a crisis?