What makes a good risk manager?

What makes a good risk manager?

Four key attributes of a successful and effective risk manager.

By Junita van der Colff, Advisory Manager at ContinuitySA

In previous blogs, I introduced the new way of thinking about risk as a potential generator of opportunity as well as threats, and five principles for ensuring enterprise risk management adds value. As risk management becomes a more important and positive role within the enterprise, we have to consider what makes for a good risk manager.

Whatever conclusions are drawn, the following seem to me to be key attributes of a risk manager who is able to ensure that risk management delivers positive value:

  • Business acumen. Risk, and its flipside of opportunity, affect every component of the business. The risk manager thus needs to understand how each works and interacts in order to assess and challenge risk information.
  • Good communication ability. Risk managers must be able to communicate the benefits and methodologies of risk management to all levels of staff, as well as address the strategic interests of executives and boards.
  • Flexible and resilient. Risk managers need to be able to adapt to the audiences they are communicating with. But they also must be able to adapt their policies and strategies in response to changing circumstances—and they must be resilient enough to stay calm and provide leadership when a crisis does hit.
  • Innovative and progressive thinker. Risk managers have to find ways of getting their colleagues across the organisation excited about the need for risk management, and its potential benefits. They need to be able to challenge the business in stimulating ways that link risk and opportunity.

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