Are You and Your Team Prepared for Grief?

The aftermath of the tragic events last week in Dallas, Louisiana and Minnesota impacted not only the police department or the families of Alton Sterling or Philando Castile, but many others who were personally connected to the individuals or their families as well as many who knew or worked with them. I’m speaking about the family and acquaintances of each of these individuals.

Consider for a moment all of the people personally connected to each of those who lost their life last week - spouse, girlfriend or boyfriend, children (adult or child), relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc), mother, father, and co-workers to name a few. Add to this all of the individuals across the nation who feel connected to the 3 tragedies. The numbers are staggering!

Many are impacted and suddenly, without warning, find themselves in grief. As a manager or leader of a company or team, how do you handle a grief event such as this? Have you considered how you or your team might be affected if one of your coworkers was related to one of the individuals who lost their life last week? It’s an important question to answer. It’s important to know how to respond to an employee who suddenly is in such a grief situation.

As a manager, are you aware of how your company handles such situations? Will you speak to your employee or coworker about their loss? Do you know the company’s policy regarding such grief events?

Even if none of your employees are directly affected, national events such as these trigger strong feelings in individuals that can affect their work performance. Those individuals are at work the next day and are either talking about, or thinking about the events. Can you answer the following questions BEFORE the need arises?

  • Do you provide guidance to your team regarding speaking to the affected team member?
  • Do you know the resources that are available to your team or company, local support group and/or Employee Assistance Referrals?

My questions to you are:

Will you hold a conversation about the incident?

Will you have a discussion at a team meeting?

Will you address the event early the next day?

Will you wait until some time has passed?

Grief usually comes suddenly without any warning. It is important for your company to prepare ahead of time for such an event so that you can offer the care and assistance that is needed in such circumstances in a timely manner.

For assistance in setting up a Grief Recovery program in your workplace contact:   Grief Coach Linda Trignano at .

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