BLUF: How do I react to an unexpected death of a colleague in the below situations:

1. The employee is one of many of my directs

2. The employee is a key member of the team I am coordinating (non-projectized org.)

3. The employee is a peer of mine

Unfortunately, over the weekend an collegue of mine passed away unexpectedly. Certainly, my first thoughts are with the family and friends of the deceased person. To be clear, I do not want to sound insincere or selfish in this time of sadness.

After a few hours of sadness, I saw his manager and the gears began to turn. What does his manager do? How does he cover today's work? Who can/should go to the proceedings? How will this employee's departure effect me? What should I do? Should I attend the services? Send flowers? Speak with his closer friends? How soon is too soon to discuss the gap on my project team? What about deliverable "X" that the person owned?

Thankfully, I am at the earlier side of my career and have not yet had to deal with this crisis situation. It seems like there are no right answers. I'd love to get perspective on the situation should it ever happen to me.

Thanks in advance for all the replies!

wendii's picture
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I'm sorry for your loss. I don't have anything useful to say, but I remembered this thread: from much earlier which has some advice I think you'll find very useful.

There's also this cast which might help:


dmb41carter36's picture

Wendii, thank's for reposting that. I am sorry I did not do a search.

I am amazed not only in the quality of that post, but it appeared to be unsolicted. The mere fact that someone would take the time to compose their thoughts so clearly and precisely on such a topic is incredible. In a world of reported violence and negative news, it's great to have these kinds of reminders.