11 Risk Management Tips for Leaders


There are 11 simple tips for all leaders in managing risk.

“Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.”

Every day leaders around the world and their teams face into the challenge that is managing risk. Yet, the concept of risk management is presented in a complicated “framework driven” way.

What if we could make risk management clearer for managing our lives?

So, in the interests of simplicity, here are 11 risk management tips for leaders.

11 risk management tips

Tip 1 – Work Together

Risk management matters for all employees in every organisation. ClearRisk outlines “10 Reasons Risk Management Matters for All Employees”, highlighting the immense value in working together to manage risk.

Tip 2 – Think Differently

Apple shone a light on “thinking differently” to achieve an impact on its customers and its people.

Undertaking risk activities is no different to innovating in other areas, and allowing a nimble approach to risk management is critical to successfully embedding risk thinking.

Tip 3 – Leverage Support

We cannot do anything alone. Leveraging the support of your colleagues helps ensure we do the right thing by our customer and each other.

Tip 4 – Connect Everything

Conserve in their article titled, “The Fundamental Risk Management Skills that Every Leader Should Posses” details that you need an eye for the finer detail and the ability to see the big picture. This is the key aspect to being able to connect everything together when it comes to managing your risks.

 …you need an eye for detail, being able to spot gaps where further research is needed and being able to see the finer points of day to day risk management as well as the bigger picture.

Tip 5 – Plan for the Worst

The Global Financial Crisis 2003 and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 have shown that in the last 20 years, significant events are part of running any business. Being optimistic is critical to business success, but even better is to plan for the worst for your customers and your business.

Tip 6 – Research and Learn

The world keeps changing but the one thing that stays the same is the importance of continualy research and learning. Quite simply, we all should never stop growing our minds; the broader, the better.

He who learns but does not think, is lost! He how thinks but does not learn is in great danger. – Confucius

Tip 7 – Look Below the Surface

The iceberg image is a great anology for the critical-thinking activity in risk management, to look below the surface. Whether it be root-cause analysis, bow-tie method or 5-why’s; exploring further ensures we get to the cause, rather than just the symptom(s).

Tip 8 – Embrace Technology

Attempting to succeed without embracing the tools immediately available for your success is no less absurd than trying to row a boat by drawing only your hands through the water or trying to unscrew a screw using nothing more than your fingernail. — Richie Norton

Technology is the enabler to allow us to have the important conversations; without the right tools, the management of risk get’s lost in the process rather than the outcomes.

Tip 9 – Don’t be Blinded by Reward

History has shown repeatedly that a sole focus on reward will result in poor customer and business outcomes. If we open our eyes to a greater purpose and being there for our customers in their time of need, well, that is the most powerful reward any of us can ever want. We may even achieve “lifelong relationships” that last generations.

Top 10 – Balance All of the Parts

Just like our bodies and minds need the right balance, so do our organisations. Through balancing all of the parts, we will achieve the right level of success for our companies, our customers and our societies.

“We can be sure that the greatest hope for maintaining equilibrium in the face of any situation rests within ourselves.”- Francis J. Braceland

Tip 11 – Monitor What is Around You

In today’s world it is easy to get distracted by the one thing in front of you and to lose sight of all the things you need to monitor. In managing risk, we need to monitor multiple things as once, both internal and external to our organisations and ourselves.

One thing that makes it possible to be an optimist is if you have a contingency plan for when all hell breaks loose. – Randy Pausch

The most important part of managing risk is people, so ensure you make risk management an enjoyable part of everyone’s working lives with this simple 11 tips.