Sound the alarm!

Here's how to put out the fires that can ruin your career

and fight fire with fire.

When preparing your personal-crisis management plan, you may wonder how staying in a hot spot — even if only temporary — will benefit you. After all, if you don’t want to get burned, don’t play with fire, right? Not necessarily. While your first instinct may be to flee the scene to safer territory, you could actually stand to gain more than you think by staying put and riding out the ensuring crisis at your company.

“The ability to plan for difficult times and work to make sure that negatives are minimized when they’re encountered is an essential part of effective leadership and management,” writes Jeffery R. Caponigro, president and CEO of Caponigro Public Relations Inc. in Southfield, Michigan and author of The Crisis Counselor: A Step-by-Step Guide to Managing a Business Crisis (Contemporary Books, $ 16.95).

The potential opportunity to put your problem-solving skills to work and show management what you’re really made of are just two reasons to stick around until the flames are extinguished. Caponigro shares another important reason why you should consider keeping a cool head when things get a little hot at your place of employment.

“All employees need to help protect the company’s most valuable asset — its reputation — by assuring that they are prepared for the inevitable crisis situation and can react decisively and confidently to successfully minimize the damage caused by it,” he writes. “Employees who understand proactive crisis management greatly improve their value and potential for career growth.”

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