Navigating Grief at Work

grief leadership the future of work May 27, 2023
Navigating Grief at Work for Leaders

Grief is often taboo to explore at work but it's an essential, unavoidable part of our wholeness in the human experience and as leaders.

Ultimately, I foresee the capacity to be skilled grief tenders as a necessary representative skill on every HR team to truly support the health of the people in each organization — and so the health of the organization as a whole.

I first learned about this cultural skills gap when my dad died my senior year of college and in the turbulent, self-directed learnings of how to navigate grief and grieving in a societal culture that then (in 2004) and still today is bewildered and often unhelpful to those who are grieving.


The pain of grieving and being avoided by others because they don't know what to do is a massive pain-on-top-of-pain of in a grief-illiterate culture.

This is a huge part of why layoffs, as one org example, are often so hard. And a significant contributor to challenges in mental health at work. Leaders usually don't want to open the space for people to grieve because they're afraid of the truths and hurts the team might voice in public.

As one leader asked when I was hired to do a grief ritual for their team, "Ok, I see the need for the team grief ritual, but can it be more 'rah-rah'?" πŸ˜‘

No. Grief isn't rah-rah.

I appreciate how daunting it can be from my own path coming to be a grief tender and we (leaders) need to build the temerity to stand in the space of grief and grieving well to let the waters move so other things can emerge from the space left in their wake.

But wait, there's more.


🌊 Grief is a thunderous portal to power.
One that can make us more of who we truly are.

It is a profound doorway that -can- connect us more deeply to the heart of our power as people and leaders if navigated correctly.

The transformative layer of engaging and being able to alchemically transmute grief is the next layer of skill that will be sought after for the most advanced teams. Because grieving and then digesting grief is πŸ”‘keyπŸ”‘ to the human learning journey.

And our ability to distinguish our true power (what I call Power that Serves the Whole) from our Shadow Power is necessary to that transmutation.

When done right, we learn to explore the potent, wild territory that exists at the intersection of grief, power, and leadership and can become more embodied, expressed, and expanded beings.

If you want to learn more about these distinctions in power — because you WILL meet your shadows when grieving — check out this free ebook.

❀️ Huge props to friends & colleagues like Alica Forneret & Donna Helete who've made grief work their life's work and are helping so many people. If you're seeking grief resources—I highly recommend both of them.


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