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Episode 31: Leading Well While Grieving

podcast relationships Jul 26, 2022

"How do you lead well while grieving?"

In leadership you will face a variety of different seasons. Sometimes those seasons can be rough, and we will have to walk through grief while also leading well. That’s the focus of our listener’s question today and I am joined by Dr. Michaela O’Donnell to explore how to do that well. Michaela speaks from her experience and research on meaningful work expressed in her book Make Work Matter: Your Guide to Meaningful Work in a Changing World. The book is for all of us who want to untangle ourselves from all the mantras about work that don’t quite work.

Check out these highlights from our conversation:

  • Managing loss and the risk of loss in the midst of adaptive change (5:32)
  • Going through pain instead of around it without getting stuck in it (6:21)
  • Understand the rhythms and name the layers of grief as you experience it (9:52)
  • Collective grief to recalibrate to mission internally and the society at large (10:30)
  • Learning how to lean in and let go in the face of grief (14:03)

Three things you can do as a leader:

  1. Model effective capacity to manage grief in the midst of work (17:07)
  2. The capacity to enter into someone’s grief, but not take it all on (18:44)
  3. A team that knows how to go in and out of grief with each other (20:13)

A few more highlights from our conversation:

  • The capacity to grieve in tandem with hope (20:48)
  • God that chose to weep with us and is present in our grief (24:55)
  • The arc of things being better than they are now, of God making all things new (25:31)
  • Hope leads to resilience and navigating through the grief of failure (25:55)

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