Everything you do has a degree of Risk involved; for example, you could be eating and choke to death. You could own a successful company listed on the stock market, and the economy crashes. Your company could decide to invest in what later turns out to be the worst investment ever. This is why companies hire risk managers to foresee these problems and help manage the risks involved.
However, to succeed in this career, you need the following qualities:
1. The Desire To Improve
Before any company hires you, the first thing they check is your qualifications and experience. They will check your educational background and professional background. While all this tells them about your particular skill sets, it's not enough to succeed as a risk manager.
Instead, companies want risk managers that are willing to learn and improve. You might have 20 or 30 years of experience as a risk manager, but it doesn’t mean that you can handle any risk. This is because risks are always changing, plus new situations and strategies to combat them will arise.
A successful risk manager understands this and is willing to learn. Great risk managers are willing to look past the traditional ways and instead learn as they go.
2. Impeccable Understanding Of The Company’s Risk Profile
While there are tons of risks that face companies every day, each company has a unique set of risks that affect them. For example, an airline would be worried about terror attacks, loss of market share, stiff competition, and a rise in oil prices. A company like Facebook would be worried if another social media app with better features were to be developed. It is even worse if users were to prefer the new app to Facebook.
As a risk manager, it’s your role to know the risks that affect your company. It’s also your role to monitor these risks and know when to act. This is where proactive and reactive risk management strategies come in handy.
Remember, you need to understand the company, how it works, its business environment, etc. before you can understand its risk profile. Therefore, learn everything you can about the company.
3. Analytical Skills
Risky situations need to be analyzed to know why they are risky and how they’ll affect the company. Risk managers will also analyze past events to calculate the possibility of the threat occurring again. You are also required to assess the company and identify areas that it falls short in terms of risk management.
However, assessing and analyzing the company or situation isn't enough; you need to know how to turn your analysis into ideas that help combat the risks.
4. Strategic Thinking
Risk management involves analyzing situations, markets, regulations, trends, etc. to determine the threats that your company faces. As mentioned earlier, knowing how to use the information is the key to risk management.
You need to have strategies that will help your company adapt, survive, or avoid the threats. The strategies need to be effective, especially now that you're trying to alleviate the risk. Successful risk managers know which strategies to apply in certain situations and the strategies that won’t work.
5. Working Under Pressure
Everyone claims that they can work under pressure, but only a small percentage can handle tasks where they are constantly under pressure to perform. Risk management is one of those jobs where every day you're under pressure, and it peaks when the threat strikes.
During reactive risk management, risk managers are required to be focused and immune to pressure. This allows them to make split decisions during these stressful times.
6. Good Communication And Influence
Once you figure out that the company will be affected by a certain risk, the next step is to inform the top executives. You are required to create detailed reports and present your findings to them. However, since most of these reports will have a lot of numbers, it might be confusing, and you'll have to rely on your ability to communicate.
As a risk manager, it’s your role to convince these executives that the threat is real and how it will affect the company if they don’t act. You also need to convince them that your strategies and recommendations will be effective.
The ability to influence others comes in handy during these situations when you need everyone in the company to work towards averting the threat.
Aside from having the right qualifications, you'll also need certain skills that are useful in your role as a risk manager. Most of these skills and qualities will develop as you work with different people and handle different threats.
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