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Essential Soft Skills Required to Improve Risk Management in Leaders and Risk Managers

  • By Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP
  • January 19, 2024


soft skills for risk managersRisk management is crucial for organizations to thrive in the fast-paced business landscape. While businesses often focus on technical expertise when hiring leaders and risk managers, soft skills like effective communication, collaboration, adaptability, and problem-solving are equally important.

In this blog post, we will explore some essential soft skills necessary for leaders and risk managers to help them improve their risk management practices.

What Is Risk Management?

Risk management includes identifying potential risks that may arise and developing strategies to mitigate them. Its goal is not to eliminate risk entirely but to reduce its impact and likelihood of occurring. This reduction is achieved by identifying and analyzing risks, assessing their potential impact, developing strategies to prevent or minimize their impact, and monitoring the success of those strategies.

The Importance of Developing Risk Management Skills

Effective risk managers and leaders must have a deep understanding of the risks associated with their organization’s operations and be able to develop strategies to mitigate those risks. Without communication, leadership, and problem-solving skills, even the most technically proficient risk managers may struggle to build consensus, inspire action, and achieve the desired outcomes.

That’s why all risk managers and leaders must invest in soft skills training and traditional risk management skill development. When these areas are approached together, the result is a highly competent and effective leader who is well-equipped to manage the risks of any organization.

Key Soft Skills Required to Improve Risk Management Skills

Improving soft skills can be challenging, but it is key to building a successful career in risk management. Here are some valuable soft skills for managers and leaders in this field.

Communication Skills

These skills include both written and verbal communication, as well as active listening. Clearly articulating risks, concerns, and potential solutions to stakeholders is essential in mitigating and managing risks. Strong communication skills can also help build trust and rapport with team members and leaders.

Decision-Making Skills

Strong decision-making skills are vital in identifying potential risks, evaluating the best course of action, and implementing effective solutions. These skills include weighing the pros and cons of different options, considering all relevant information, and making timely decisions.

Problem-Solving Skills

Strong problem-solving skills can help professionals effectively navigate problems and find creative solutions. This involves analyzing complex situations, thinking critically, and coming up with innovative approaches to mitigate or manage risks.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to objectively analyze information and make reasoned judgments based on evidence. This is one of the most crucial risk manager skills as it allows professionals to evaluate potential risks from multiple perspectives and identify any underlying causes or patterns that may contribute to them.

Stress Management

In the constantly changing business world, professionals must be able to handle high levels of stress and pressure to make sound decisions and effectively manage risks. This skill involves being able to identify and manage one’s stress levels, as well as helping others on the team cope with stress.

Negotiation Skills

Risk management often involves negotiating with stakeholders, clients, or other parties involved in a project. Having strong negotiation skills can help mitigate potential risks by finding mutually beneficial solutions and avoiding conflicts. These skills include effective communication and reaching compromises that satisfy all parties.

Conflict Resolution and Conflict Management

Conflicts can have a significant impact on risk management if not appropriately handled. Professionals with strong conflict resolution and conflict management skills can address issues before they escalate into more significant problems that could affect project timelines or budgets.

Adaptability and Agility

Risk management professionals should be adaptable and agile in their thinking and actions. This means quickly adjusting plans or strategies when faced with unexpected challenges. Those who possess these skills are better equipped to anticipate potential risks and respond effectively, ultimately leading to more successful risk management outcomes.

Collaboration and Teamwork

Risk managers typically work with a team to identify potential risks, develop mitigation strategies, and implement solutions. Effective collaboration and teamwork require strong communication and decision-making skills.


Resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back from challenges or setbacks. In risk management, unexpected events or crises can occur that require quick thinking and adaptation. Training for risk managers should include developing resilience as a soft skill. It can help them better handle these situations and develop effective solutions.

Change Management

Risk management entails managing change effectively. This requires the ability to analyze the potential impacts of change, communicate changes to stakeholders, and manage any resistance or challenges that may arise. Strong change management skills can help improve risk management processes.

Management and Leadership Skills

These skills include prioritizing tasks, delegating responsibilities, making decisions under pressure, and leading a team toward achieving goals. Leadership training in these skills is critical for managing risks proactively and efficiently within an organization.

How TSSG Can Help with Training Risk Managers and Leaders

Developing risk management skills is not just about understanding financial risks and implementing mitigation strategies. It also requires soft skills that can make all the difference in effectively managing risks and making critical decisions.

By investing in soft skills training for corporate leaders on your team, you are equipping them with the necessary tools to handle risks and creating a positive work culture that promotes personal and professional growth.

Contact The Soft Skills Group (TSSG) today to learn more about our workshops specifically designed to improve leaders’ risk management skills. Let us help you take your company’s risk management approach to the next level and ensure its long-term success.

Diana Kawarsky, MA, CCP

Diana is President of The Soft Skills Group Inc., and a senior training & development professional with over 20 years of experience in delivery, design & consulting with Fortune 500 companies, Universities & Colleges in Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia. Read More