Needless to say, the threat is here in the USA from Coronavirus, (COVID-19) and regardless of how you may or may not be preparing for your own potential infection, we want to take a minute to discuss the impact it may have in regards to dealing with unexpected crisis situations, in places you may not expect.
Consider the fallout across China when the news started to break of the possible epidemic. Videos came pouring in of grocery stores, hospitals, transportation centers, etc of individuals beginning to scream, yell, hit, and kick each other over getting the last of the supplies. The same activities as they sought to get medical treatment, or get onboard planes, trains, or public transportation to get out and away from the “Hot Zone”.
While the impact here in the US is not likely to directly mimic these other areas that have far less support services and capacity to help the sick, it is possible that as the virus gains in its spread throughout millions of us here, there will be a higher number of persons suffering from anxiety, stress, and a building tension within us that could quickly erupt into crisis situations and/or behavior “out of the norm”.
We here at CCG would ask you to consider a few key points to managing crisis and de-escalation of verbal hostility so that you are better prepared for what could be the worst of human behavior that you have seen in quite awhile, if ever.
- Recognize that every one of us is feeling anxiety about either ourselves getting sick, or a loved one that dare get ill and be in a position of danger. No one is immune from knowing someone they are concerned over.
- Be extra patient when seeking assistance with health care workers, they are dedicating themselves to helping each and every sick individual with the utmost of care, while also placing themselves at risk. They deserve our kindness and compassion for the fact that they are even showing up to work and help as best they can.
- Consider going to stores or shopping locations at off hours when you may not expect to see as many others also shopping for items growing increasingly scarce in some locations. Waiting until the last minute is not likely the best plan and could position you in competition on the road, in the stores, etc.
- Consider the larger outcome, and what you are risking by engaging in a verbal altercation with someone who is clearly escalated. Follow the mantra “lose the battle, win the war”. Choose what you must stand by, for, and anything not meeting that standard, let go.
- Seek to be compassionate to those around you who may be in a state of extreme anxiety over the current situation, and recognize that fear is more often than not the precursor to anger. If you can empathize with their fears (excessive or not), it can help you find a more reasonable common ground to communicate from.
- Keep especially conscious of your own body language, tone of voice, and even proximity to persons who may be escalated and consider you a “danger” simply because they assume you may be sick.
- Recognize that if you need to sneeze, cough, or similar, it may spark persons nearby to immediately be concerned or overly upset. Make sure to take extreme precautions to avoid exposure of bacteria to anyone, even if you know it is just allergies. You cannot expect others to immediately understand and accept it due to the current situation.
We hope this helps give you a few extra tips to deal with the potential unintended fallout from the Coronavirus infections spreading around the globe, and of course if you are seeking additional and more in-depth tools to mitigate and prevent crisis situations, we recommend some of our online training courses for de-escalation found here: https://www.crisisconsultantgroup.com/products/online-training/