What is the profile of a risk manager?

profile of a risk manager
The job description of a risk manager is often an issue. But the profile of a risk manager is often confused with it. Sometimes the profile uses the job description as a list of points of interest. I don’t see it that way. A risk manager is also a person besides the job. And the question then is, what kind of person would you like in that position? That’s why, for me, these traits fall into a human description, not into a job description. I list a number of things here, a list of topics that are not only useful for a risk manager. It is a non-exhaustive list.Author: Manu Steens In this post, I give my own opinion, not that of any organization

An exquisite profile, which one?

A risk manager profile has several very people-friendly qualities. These include (non-exhaustive list):

  • Languages
  • Communicative skills
  • Listening ear
  • Curiosity and interest
  • Stress resistant
  • Analytical thinking skills
  • Speed of thought and action

If necessary, a risk manager is willing to work on this, depending on the exact needs in the organization. In doing so, he builds friendship within the organization to a certain extent.

These properties further elaborated.

Languages

In a multicultural environment, in a multilingual country, such as Belgium, this is a sine qua non. English, Dutch and French are evidently. German can set you apart. But other languages are also a great advantage, because learning a language can help you think within another culture. And Europe is a cocktail of cultures.

Communicative

You must be able to move easily among the employees. In the corridors you get to know more about what is going on among the staff than at many meetings. Being communicative is also an advantage to create an interpersonal sense of security within your team. This is a phenomenon with positive feedback.

Listening ear

Don’t always say what you think. Listen actively: ask questions. This also creates trust, which can motivate people. It gives the feeling that people can come to you. This is important to create a friendly atmosphere in the team, but also in the entire organization, with the idea that people can always turn to you and your team. People are more likely to see you as a friend to a certain extent.

Curiosity and interest

A broad interest in all aspects of the entity in its near and far surroundings is very important. But also, to be open to specialist training. You need to be a T-shaped professional: a combination of in-depth expertise and broad general knowledge and skills. You are an adaptive innovator who likes to connect different disciplines. I see the connection of multiple (scientific) disciplines as one of the most important growth poles of science in general, and of the safety and security sciences in particular. Interest in these sciences and their interplay must therefore be genuine. Curiosity is essential in addition to interest.

Stress resistant

In crisis situations, the Risk Manager profile must provide advice in the CMT (Crisis Management Team) together with the Business Continuity Manager. This concerns both practical internal matters and external matters such as image and reputation. After all, these two positions are exemplary positions within the organization, which can be taken by people who are not easily distracted. Others need to be able to pull themselves up to them. This gives the feeling that people can count on you.

Analytical thinking skills

After the general questioning of what can go wrong, you must be able to identify and analyze the possible internal and external risks and implement measures and solutions and have contingency plans ready. To this end, you have the input of employees (process owners and specialists of the processes)

Speed of thought and action

Analyzing and planning is a big part of your job. When it comes down to it, you must be able to quickly create proposals of decisions. So, both system 1 thinking and system 2 thinking are necessary, each at the right time. (See also the book “Thinking fast and slow” by Kahneman) You can practice on that, and you can prepare yourself through expertise in the job. But that’s part of the job description.

Conclusion

The result should be that you can collaborate, innovate, communicate, be critical and creatively analyze and help solve problems.

In addition to substantive expertise, the risk manager must persuade everyone in the company to think about the risks and act in the spirit of the entity’s risk appetite, capacity, and tolerance. This requires communication and social skills and psychological insights, including gratitude coupled with humility. You put the others in the foreground. It requires intensive collaboration with all the services of the entity.

This way, all of that is important for supporting the job description with a set of human qualities.

Manu Steens

Manu works at the Flemish Government in risk management and Business Continuity Management. On this website, he shares his own opinions regarding these and related fields. Since 2012, he has been working at the Crisis Centre of the Flemish Government (CCVO), where he has progressed in BCM, risk management, and crisis management. Since August 2021, he has been a knowledge worker for the CCVO. As of January 2024, he works at the Department of Chancellery and Foreign Affairs of the Flemish Government. Here, he combines BCM, risk management, and crisis management to create a tailored form of resilience management to meet the needs of the Flemish Government.

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