Soft skills in a hard world: Why emergency management and business continuity leaders must update their professional toolbox

Michael Gladstone, Director of Emergency Management & Planning, WeWork and Shaun Brown, Global Incident Manager, Bloomberg

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Abstract: In today’s rapidly changing threat environment, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the roles of emergency management (EM) and business continuity (BC) professionals are continuously evolving. Today’s EM/BC professional has become more mission-critical than ever, with their position placed under a spotlight as companies of all sizes prepare themselves for the next unknown, but inevitable, crisis. A common problem, however, is that many professionals with the requisite hard skills lack a light touch when it comes to communicating the goals they are striving to achieve. This paper discusses the importance of soft skills for the crisis management guru. The paper lays out which of the multitude of soft skills are the most critical, outlining ways for EM/BC professionals to build, utilise and maintain their soft skills, with case studies that exemplify the use or misuse of such skills.


Keywords: communication; hard skills; relationships; soft skills


Michael Gladstone is the Director of Emergency Management & Planning at Wework, where he specialises in building emergency management programmes from the ground up, instilling confidence and competency in crisis management teams around the globe. Michael holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, a master’s in education from Columbia University, and a master’s in international law and global security from Georgetown University. He is certified as a CBCP through DRI International.


Shaun Brown is a Global Incident Manager for Bloomberg LP, where he leads a team of incident managers. He is also an army officer, and recently assisted in the planning and execution of base-wide exercises in the Middle East. Shaun holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Texas, a master’s from American Military University and an executive certificate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management.


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