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Home » Ep 23: Handling Grief in the Workplace with Joyel Crawford

Ep 23: Handling Grief in the Workplace with Joyel Crawford

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Grief is a hard emotion to process. And when you’re faced with the death of a coworker, it is important that leadership is sensitive to individual needs and handles the team’s grieving process with care.

In this episode, we talk about how to manage death in the workplace with best-selling author and leadership development expert Joyel Crawford of Crawford Leadership Strategy.

Key Takeaways:

  • As a manager, be prepared to deal with grief impacting someone on your team or within the company at some point in time.
  • Corporate policies are often out of alignment with how grief actually works. People handle death differently.  One person may grieve by diving back into work quickly while another needs substantial time off.
  • When we don’t know what to say, we typically don’t say anything. Yet, the impact of not acknowledging a death can be long-lasting.
  • “Let me know what you need” is a common response to someone who is grieving. However, they may not know what they need and what options are available to them.

Reflection Questions:

  • Describe a response to grief that you hope to never experience a first time or again.
  • Describe a response to grief that you want to emulate.  What was meaningful about the response or action?  How might this response be received by people who have different beliefs or life experiences than you do?
  • How does your organization respond to death and grief?  Does the response vary if the deceased is an employee, family member, or community member?

Action Items:

  • Be proactive. Prepare to support your team in the midst of grief and tragedy.  Set time with your team to brainstorm and create a menu of options to consider when grief impacts one or everyone on the team.
  • Leverage your HR department.  Put time on your calendar this month to meet with HR to gain guidance to proactively prepare for grieving team members.  Learn the details of your organization’s bereavement leave, Employee Assistance Programs, and any other formal or informal support your company provides.
  • Strengthen your own emotional intelligence. Practice identifying your own reactions to grief. Imagine how you would react to the death of someone on your team, their family member, or a community member. Reflect on how your reactions would show up in the workplace. 

Additional Resources: 

On the Managing Well podcast, host Tonya Ladipo talks about wellness in the workplace with people leaders, mental health professionals, HR experts, and more. Click the link to subscribe to the podcast and get the latest episodes.