The Hidden Workplace Epidemic – The Role of Grief & Loss in our Culture

In recent years, our world has undergone unprecedented changes, and with these changes, we have experienced profound losses. The COVID-19 pandemic not only took a toll on our physical health but also reshaped our lives in many ways. 

As a motivational speaker and leadership development coach, I have observed a hidden epidemic that has quietly crept into our culture – the pervasive impact of grief and loss, both in the workplace and in society at large.

Grief and loss go beyond the loss of loved ones. It includes the loss of the life we once knew.

We are usually able to deal with change when we invite it ourselves. We might even welcome it. However, when change is so rapid and forced upon us by circumstances of the world and society, our coping skills and resilience often fall short in keeping up with the pace. As a result, we flounder, both in the workplace and in our lives.

Many of my private executive coaching clients, as well as the teams I work with in the workplace are struggling with one big question. “Who am I now?”

Even the most brilliant leaders, even the most brilliant teams, are trying to identify goals and new outcomes. It feels as if they are almost forcing results – when what is required is going back to the root cause of what is holding us back. 

As a society, and as a workplace culture, we are only scratching the surface of what impacts of this massive change in the past few years are happening. We have yet to identify one of the main root causes. An often overlooked root cause is grief and loss caused by this massive change we’ve experienced.

In this article, we explore five essential insights for you to consider in your journey to discover how loss and grief play out in the workplace.

Step 1: Rediscover Your Identity to Build Unity and Align your Team

The rapid pace of change has left many individuals, including leaders, asking a fundamental question: “Who am I now?” 

We often rush to set goals and push for results, but the true starting point is to rediscover our identities. Self-reflection and self-actualization are the first steps towards effective leadership. Take the time for team alignment and unity building, including practices like the 360 analysis, to delve into who you are individually and as a team. This process is crucial for achieving unified results. The results are instant. With the speed of change, we require strategies that are easily implemented and create quick results. 

Stay tuned, will do a deep-dive into the details of this process in future blog articles.

Step 2: Embrace Self-Actualization to Create True Meaning in the Workplace

When doing 360 analysis within businesses, we are finding the vast majority of employees who are disengaged from their workplace. 

Self-actualization within the workplace is crucial. It involves helping employees understand what it means to be themselves and how to find meaning in their work. Initiatives like “you matter” can be powerful, and a part of this journey is meeting people heart and soul. Recognize the deep-seated human desire to be honored, heard, loved, and understood. When employees feel valued and seen, they become more engaged and committed to their work, resulting in improved company outcomes and profits.

Step 3: Create Team Alignment to Unify Strategy and Goals

Knowing oneself enables team members to bring courage, compassion, and love to their interactions. It ignites everything we do. A heightened awareness of how everyone is showing up in the room, increases our knowledge of the unique abilities and growth areas of everyone on the team. This team alignment fosters a new level of respect, leading to a unified vision, strategy, and goals. By addressing the missing link of how grief and loss trickles into our workplace, we establish a solid foundation for teamwork and organizational success.

Step 4: Offer Holistic Well-Being Programs that are Inclusive and Immersive

Well-being in the workplace goes beyond token gestures. Instead of fragmented efforts, consider a holistic, full-circle approach to well-being. A holistic program involves more than just offering a gym membership or a well-being fund. It means developing more inclusive and immersive programs that meet people heart and soul. This approach dives deep into the emotional, mental, and physical well-being of employees, helping them manage stress, anxiety, depression, and the myriad of emotions that come with loss and grief.

Step 5: Reconnect with Community to Fight Isolation

The sense of community has evolved in recent years. Yes, some may always have been searching. Some always feel as if they’re more independent and loners in the world. However, in my work, I find that people are yearning to find their place in this rapidly changing world. Building and nurturing a sense of community is vital. Without it, individuals may feel isolated and disconnected. People will keep floundering and saying, “It’s lonely at the top!” 

As leaders, it’s essential to promote and facilitate community building to combat loneliness and foster a sense of belonging.

Recognize the Impact of Grief and Loss to Ignite Positive Change

Why are the most brilliant leaders, the most brilliant people, the most well-educated and formerly flourishing companies floundering? 

Recognizing the impact of grief and loss is the ignition key for positive change. By fostering a holistic approach to well-being, unity, and community, we can help our teams and organizations to flourish again. 

By taking this approach, success can be achieved without the burdens of burnout and exhaustion. When individuals feel alive, unified, and connected, they can bring their best selves to their work and to society, creating a brighter future for us all.

Incorporating the five insights in this article into your leadership approach is just the beginning of a more profound conversation about the role of grief and loss in our lives. 

If you’re a leader facing these challenges and would like to explore these concepts further, or if you need assistance in developing your leadership potential or team, I invite you to reach out. 

Together, we can navigate these changes with kindness and practicality to create a more resilient and successful future for you and your organization.


Take the first step toward your life and leadership goals. 

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