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Take Care of Yourself and Your Team in the Wake of a Tragedy

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In the aftermath of a tragedy like the recent shootings in Laguna Woods, Buffalo, and Uvalde, everyone’s mental health is affected. And as a manager, you may be wondering how you can support your people and yourself through these devastating events. Start by acknowledging the tragedy immediately, whether via email, Slack, or in a meeting. It’s important that your team hear from you so they don’t feel alone. Make space for compassionate, vulnerable conversations, both in one-on-ones and group discussions. Be sure to consider your own identity as well as those to whom you’re speaking. Are you talking with a team member whose demographic group was the target of the violence? Are you part of a different community that has been targeted recently? Reflect on how you might tailor your approach accordingly. Don’t make assumptions about what your team members are feeling. Then, proactively offer specific solutions, whether that’s shifting priorities and deadlines or offering flexible work hours. For example, in a one-on-one, you could say, “I realize that you have a lot of deadlines to juggle in the midst of everything going on.” Follow that with a question like, “How can I support you?” Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself and your own mental health at work. You deserve the same care as your team.

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