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Leading Off
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Tough times put mourning on the leader’s agenda. Grief and loss are inevitable parts of life, and they have become all the more palpable during the COVID-19 crisis. Whether from the loss of loved ones or missing what used to be (or could have been), this pain is all around us—and it’s affecting personal and work lives. It can also be contagious or cascading. This week, we try to help you promote healing for your teams and yourself.
Support your people
Grief and loss feel uncomfortable to us and can also be uncomfortable to talk about, especially in the workplace. Yet acknowledging those feelings and developing a culture where it’s acceptable to process them openly can do tremendous good for individuals and for companies overall. What can you do to make room for mourning—and, in turn, recovery—in your organization? Start the conversation by checking in with people, model behaviors to show vulnerability, and give employees control over how they experience loss. To see how people around the world have coped with the current crisis, check out our Emotion Archive.
‘All change is loss, and all loss requires mourning.’
Harry Levinson, dubbed the “psychologist of the workplace,” wrote that in Harvard Business Review in 1972. The words may be decades old, but the sentiment is profoundly important in times of collective transformation and grief. It also applies to issues like aging and career change.
That’s the percentage of senior executives who are affected by unresolved grief at some point in their careers. Our research shows that unresolved grief can lead to tens of billions of dollars per year in lost productivity and dampened performance, stemming from sapped energy and confidence levels, worsened health, and other lasting effects. Overcoming grief is difficult, but accepting and finding meaning in loss can help leaders reach their full potential—and even unlock inspiration.
David Schwimmer
The COVID-19 crisis has prompted many executives to recognize the need for a different kind of leadership—one beyond business strategy. Now maintaining morale and offering encouragement are also top of mind. In an interview, David Schwimmer, CEO of London Stock Exchange, says these times call for showing more of your personal side.
A year into the crisis
illustration of paper cranes
Employees across the board are experiencing new challenges personally and professionally. As the levels of stress and isolation mount, diverse groups—particularly women, LGBTQ+ employees, people of color, and working parents—are experiencing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic even more acutely than their peers are. While organizations are aware of their struggles, and many have implemented new ways to support their workforces better, only around one in six employees is feeling more supported during the pandemic than before it. Now is the time for leaders to reimagine the road to recovery for all and to respond in ways that promote inclusion.
Lead well.
— Edited by Dana Sand, an editorial production manager in the Atlanta office
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