Can we all share some effective practices around personal tragedies among our directs? What have you done in the past that was helpful to the person? How does the effective manager respond in these situations?
This question was inspired by a recent experience at work. I am a teacher and aspiring school leader. It came as a great shock to find out that one of my students had lost his home to a fire over the weekend. Fortunately, everyone is safe and healthy. Upon talking to the student, I undertook a few key actions:
1. Obtained updated … albeit temporary … contact information
2. Sent a letter home to the student’s parents including my condolences and my home/cell phone numbers
3. Tapped my network and arranged for the student to receive replacement school and gym uniforms
4. Spoke to the student’s parents and … after receiving their OK … arranged for a donation drive
5. Provided lots of tissues and a shoulder to cry on
This list is nowhere near exhaustive and I understand the teacher-student relationship is not quite the same as that of manager-direct. That said, I am going to be a school leader someday and I know that such situations will arise: deaths in the family, extended illnesses, natural disasters. I can never be “ready” for any of these tragedies, but I will want my students, teachers, and others to know that I will do all I can for them.
I think it was in the cast on late stage coaching that Mark and Mike recommended taking notes on how we handle these rare situations (i.e. the Christmas rule) so that we can do our best when they confront us. Any suggestions? Thoughts? Recommendations?