What matters is not what leaders say, but what they do; their actions rather than their words.
Fred Kofman, author
People get attached to their roles at work. The job becomes an identity for some, and ownership for others, and for some their job might even go a long way to defining who they are. As a result, restructure, redundancy, dismissal or personal injury or illness can have a major impact on the individual at work because the individual feels a sense of grief and loss that can be profound.
Psychiatrist and best-selling author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross pioneered the understanding of stages of grief and loss for the health sector, and in many ways turned an entire culture around. Before Kubler-Ross's work, hospital staff, including doctors, were ordered to never discuss death or even the possibility of it with their patients. The results of this misguided practice, particularly for terminally ill patients, were shocking. Loneliness, frustration and a lack of humanity were felt by patients as they endured their last days on earth. Thankfully, Kubler-Ross's work brought about change and has made the health system significantly better for it.
Unfortunately, the corporate world still works like a 1950s hospital. We don't talk about the big three of restructure, redundancy and dismissal; we don't talk about the pain and disruption they cause when we should. We need to map grief and loss better ...