How Do You Deal With Tragedy?

It was a tough week to be a Canadian last week. On Monday, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was struck by a hit and run driver in a targeted attack. On Wednesday, Corporal Nathan Cirillo was gunned down in cold blood as he stood guard at the National War Memorial at Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Canadians watched and listened in horror as gun shots were heard inside the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, the heart of our government. We watched amazing video of bystanders rushing in, not thinking of their own safety, to help and comfort Corporal Cirillo as he lay dying.

In the days that followed, we heard stories of various reactions – people who were upset and targeting “them”, you know, anyone not like “us”; people who talked about how the so-called person who targeted the Parliament Buildings was upset at the system and suffered for years with mental illness; how the driver of the vehicle that struck Warrant Officer Vincent has terrorist ties and how could “we” have not known this?

It is very interesting to see how people react to these types of tragedies. I’ve seen people that I’ve expect to be strong, break down in tears and I’ve seen strength in amazing places.

How do you deal with tragedy as a leader in the workplace? You may not be directly affected by these tragedies but events like this do affect your employees. Do you talk openly about the incidents and encourage your employees to do the same, knowing that it will take away from their productivity or do you advise your employees to keep working and discuss the events on their own time? Or somewhere in between the two?

Times like this are emotional and trying.  Some find comfort and healing in sharing and talking through the events with others, while other people prefer not to talk about it at all. As a leader, I think encouraging your employees to discuss things if they choose to and offering to be there if they have concerns they are not comfortable discussing in public, is the best way to handle incidents like this. In addition to showing openness in the workplace, I think it also shows understanding and allows leaders to stay connected to their employees. Closing the door and telling your employees not to discuss tragedies only adds to an “us vs. them” mentality and leads to employees seeing a company as cold and unfeeling.

I am sure there are some people who feel that an employer has no obligation to its employees in these types of incidents but I disagree. As an employer and a leader, it does no good to ignore your employees’ well being. Employees who feel valued will be more valuable to their employer.

I am an optimist and hope that we will not see any more of the tragedies of last week, that those who are suffering from mental illness get the help they need and that the world can learn more tolerance but if it does happen again, please remember that your employees will be looking to you for guidance and how you react will have an impact on their lives.


All Categories

Business Operations

Entrepreneur Interviews

Marketing, Networking, & Social Media

Self Care & Personal Development

Working Moms

Business Software and Technology

Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Organizing Tips


Career Building

Family Businesses


Starting Your Own Business

Work-Life Balance


Hiring Help

Management & Leadership

Time Management & Priorities

Women in Leadership

Recent Posts

Business Blogging 101: How to Create and Sustain a Successful Blog

Business Blogging 101: How to Create and Sustain a Successful Blog

For businesses, business blogging is becoming a powerful tool to not only attract and engage new customers but also to build brand authority and ultimately grow your brand.
This comprehensive guide will equip you with the essential knowledge and strategies you need to start and succeed in the dynamic world of business blogging.

How to Protect Your Merchandise From Theft

How to Protect Your Merchandise From Theft

Protecting your merchandise from theft is a critical aspect of running a successful business. In a world where security threats are ever-present, safeguarding your inventory is essential. Not only does it protect your bottom line, but it also ensures the safety of...

Experts You Need to Have at Your Business

Experts You Need to Have at Your Business

In the dynamic world of business, having the right team of experts is not just beneficial; it is essential for success and growth. For female leaders who are carving out their paths in business, marketing, or HR, knowing which experts to have on board can make a...

7 Tips for Asserting Yourself as a Woman in a Medical Workplace

7 Tips for Asserting Yourself as a Woman in a Medical Workplace

As a woman in a medical workplace, you have a lot of responsibility, not just to yourself but to other women who will come along after you. Asserting yourself in your workplace and gaining the respect of other employees and leadership is essential to a successful career. You have worked hard to get where you are, you don’t want to lose momentum.

Continue to grow with online leadership training and more. Follow these tips to assert yourself in the medical workplace.