This week we are going to talk about loss and grieving at work. How do we support a colleague who may have suffered a significant loss and how do we navigate shared grief on our team? We are talking about how we may be supporting a colleague who has suffered a significant loss or how we may be experiencing a shared loss, perhaps of another colleague.
The bottom line: the process is absolutely different for every person. Kubler-Ross’s stages do help but they aren’t the final word about the process. And grieving is a process that isn’t linear.
So there has been a significant loss in a person’s life primarily of another person; this could be death or even divorce or cancer. It could be unexpected or over time. Grieving in the workplace requires a level of sharing and communication that isn’t commonplace at work. We are used to mourning in private and may prefer this.
First, there is the being and the doing. Most of us are used to the “doing”. When someone is hurting, we want to do something to relieve their hurt and sometimes this is helpful and sometimes it isn’t. Most important is to source empathy; that ability to step into the other’s shoes and ACKNOWLEDGE their experience without feeling that we need to change it.
This will seem counterintuitive but don’t ask, “what can I do?” More about this in the show along with what to do and what not to do. Nevertheless, allowing the workplace to be a space where people can have their feelings and empathize with each other matters; it’s ok to grieve the loss.
Let us know what you think and how you’ve navigated these situations at work or beyond?