Leadership on the Management Consultation (MC) phone call get the opportunity to talk about the incident, and improve emotional regulation which puts them in a better position to lead having had the chance to gain support and empowerment from the EAP and colleagues. Knowing that a strong source of employee resilience comes from the interaction of leadership, how they conduct themselves post critical incident is key. Discussing these strategies is part of the MC and an important reason why they need to be on the call.
Getting leadership to the table to participate in the MC after a critical incident is often argued from the point of the need for assessment information. While this
remains to be true, very often the organizational contact’s primary task is to engage the EAP to send out a crisis responder(s). In addition, they may have little information about the actual incident and its impact. When this is learned, the management consultation becomes more of an order fulfillment process. Many EAPs are quick not to push back on this for fear of creating an adversarial relationship and so the order is placed, the crisis responder sent, and the rest gets figured out on the fly.
Here are some strategies to improve this process. First and primary is providing pre-incident organizational training to help key contacts understand the EAP process and the complete value of the management consultation. Why certain questions are asked, the pursuit of best practices and also to foster leadership resilience. Pre-incident trainings foster partnership, a key ingredient to the Multi-Systemic Resiliency Approach. Second, those struggling with feeling emotionally overwhelmed because of the incident may become avoidant and isolative in an effort to manage their emotions. This leaves them unavailable to the organization and their employees who are seeking their guidance. Concepts of telephonic Psychological First Aid, reframing highly charged interpretations, and using the existing peer support will help leadership gain a sense of control and confidence to move forward.