The aftermath of tragic events that make news headlines for days or weeks impacts not only the individuals directly involved but also many others who were personally connected to the individuals or their families as well as many who knew or worked with the individuals involved in the event.
Consider for a moment all of the people personally connected to each of those who lose their life or are injured during such a public event – 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 tragedies. The numbers of affected individuals 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 involved in such a tragedy? 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.