Grieving the Loss of a Manager in the Workplace
We’d like to think we have a solid understanding that work is work and personal life is just that, personal, but life does not work this way. Employees and managers spend many hours together and often create very strong bonds. Teams go through joys and pains in life together - in and out of the workplace. So how do we help team members deal with grief after the loss of their manager?
Condolence.com talks about coping effectively and efficiently with loss. They offer these tips when it comes to coping with grief:
Remember grieving is a process.
It is natural to want to keep feelings and frustrations bottled up.
Try not to neglect the physical things on the outside when you are struggling inside.
Make connections with people.
Deal with both mistakes and successes.
Some organizations help the team process their loss by planting a tree in the deceased’s honor, putting a bench in a sitting area, or naming a day of remembrance in honor of that person. I have even heard of companies naming an award after that person, giving mention to their attributes and contribution to the team.
It is important to remember that not everyone holds the same relationship with the manager, nor will they process grief in the same way. Much of this depends on their personality, their temperament, their ability to self-motivate, and their support system outside of work.
Another important factor to grieving in the workplace is the team member’s experience with loss. This may be the first time they had a non-family member pass, or perhaps this is the first time they had to deal with a significant loss in life. This is where the company’s HR Department is critical in keeping an eye on the team members overall wellbeing. How are they doing emotionally? Physically? Mentally? Are they missing deadlines? Are they having a hard time focusing? Are they missing work? Sometimes employees who have a sudden loss of a manager do not even realize they are grieving.
I will always advocate that companies should acknowledge the loss and let team members know what health benefits/resources are available to them, and to seek grief counseling services. Many people are reluctant to go to grief counseling, but those who do go, reap many rewards. Our brain wants to protect us and keep us safe, but avoiding the loss only prevents true healing from taking place.
For anyone who has experienced this kind of loss, we wish you a full recovery and hope you receive complete healing. For additional support, read, “How Long Does Grief Last?”
Stratengy is here to help you navigate the challenges of being a leader in today’s world. Reach out to us today to learn how we can help you and your team be more connected, aligned, and solidified.