How to Communicate With Your Grieving Boss

How to Communicate With Your Grieving Boss

It's never easy talking to anyone, particularly one's boss when they have lost a loved one.

Without a doubt, it may be an awkward, sad and uncomfortable scenario.

However, this is a crucial aspect of grief support that will eventually have to happen.

Communicating after a loss is something that can be learned.

There are ways to handle such circumstances in a sensitive and meaningful manner.

The first step to take to communicate with your grieving boss is to reach out to them after they have lost someone.

When you make contact with them, you are showing them that you sympathize with them and care about their well-being.

Also, it's important that you understand that grief takes time.

The experience is different for everyone, and thus they may react differently.

It is essential to keep that in mind when you want to communicate with your grieving boss.

Another way to communicate with your grieving boss is by providing them with ongoing support.

Through their grieving process, try your best to support and help them as best as you can.

It could be within the workplace or at their home.

Learn more about ways to communicate with your grieving boss. 

Grief & Loss Therapists in Colorado

Jackie Erwin, LPC

Jackie Erwin, LPC

(719) 345-2424
Molly Jameson, LCSW

Molly Jameson, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 602-1342
Brooke Moraski, LPCC, NCC

Brooke Moraski, LPCC, NCC

(720) 449-4121
Whittney Romero, MA, LPCC

Whittney Romero, MA, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Marta Schmuki, LPC

Marta Schmuki, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 203-7021
Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

(719) 696-3439
Sierra Brown, SWC

Sierra Brown, SWC

(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

(719) 345-2424
Melody Reynalds, LPC

Melody Reynalds, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Megan Brausam, LPC

Megan Brausam, LPC

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 481-3518

Reach Out to Them

Be sure to reach out to your supervisor after learning of his or her loss.

In the incident that you have a close relationship with your boss's family, you may want to call them at home to express your sympathies and show your support.

Reaching out to offer condolences and recognize the loss employer is facing is meaningful and appreciated, even if you don't know them well.

Knowing that their coworkers and superiors are aware and prepared to provide assistance may help ease their transition back into the workplace.

Use straightforward methods of communication when reaching out to your grieving boss.

Saying "sorry for your loss" is a safe bet and has been used for a long time.

Also, don't downplay the significance of their loss or sorrow or make comparisons when you reach out to them.

When someone is talking about how their grief has affected them, it's best not to jump in with stories about your own losses.

Recognize That Grief Takes Time

When a severe loss has occurred, the grieving process often takes much longer than a few short weeks or months to complete.

The significance of the loss, which is unique to each individual, will determine the intensity of their sorrow.

It's important to remember that mourning, and particularly grieving, is a never-ending process of coming to terms with your loss.

In your efforts to communicate with your boss, be aware that some persons who have suffered a loss in their lifetime may be at risk of chronic grieving.

Most people experience shock and emotional numbness as their first responses to loss.

Some other emotions they may feel may include sadness, fear, rage, and isolation.

Keep that in mind when you have conversations with them.

This will help you learn more about their grieving process and act accordingly.

Those who are grieving need their friends, loved ones, and sometimes their staff the most during these trying times, which might linger for a year or more.

Be Honest 

Try to express your condolences in a composed, honest, and sympathetic way when your employer informs you of the passing of a loved one.

The tone of the remainder of your contacts with your boss will be determined by your first exchanges with them.

It's critical to maintain composure and assure your employer of your unwavering support.

It's important to be truthful with them about everything you say when expressing your sympathy.

If you are having trouble speaking or are at a loss for words, don't be hesitant to let them know.

Admitting that you're speechless is the best course of action. Recognize that no one's experience of loss is easy.

Even the smallest display of genuine concern may mean the world to someone grieving.

Let them know that you care and are there to help in any manner you can if you find yourself at a loss for words. 

Provide Ongoing Support 

In this first conversation, the most crucial thing to give is a compassionate presence—someone who is ready to offer assistance if their employer needs it.

It's not essential to push a conversation; rather, pay attention to your boss's replies to your displays of worry and follow their lead.

People who are mourning often find it most beneficial for someone to listen to anything they have to say.

Be mindful that even employers could experience severe sorrow for a long time after returning to work.

Everybody's time frame for processing sorrow might vary.

Some people may need a few months, while others may need many years.

So if your boss isn't very interested in communication, find another way to show your support. 

Take Time to Listen 

Taking the time to listen carefully is another way to communicate with your grieving boss.

Listen attentively to what the bereaved have to say.

You can show your attentiveness by paraphrasing part of what is stated from time to time.

Another way to show them you're actively listening is through eye contact, meaningful gestures, and acceptable body language and attitude.

Focus on hearing them out without forming an opinion or judgment.

Permit them to repeat the same tales or ideas again if that's what makes them feel better.

Allow them to remain quiet and provide them with silent support when necessary.

You need not fill the silence.

It's OK to be quiet and reflective.

Silence is not always uncomfortable if you convey that you are there for them.

Remember that being an active listener alleviates the strain of conversation since it may be challenging to know what to say to the grieving in the first place.


A large aspect of communication is not just what you say but also how you say it and how your nonverbal communication supports the message.

Even leaders need grief support.

One way to help a mourning employer is to take the initiative and maintain open lines of communication that are characterized by sensitivity and understanding.

Here are more ways you can communicate with your grieving boss: by reaching out to them, by recognizing that grief takes time, by being honest, by providing ongoing support, and by taking time to listen. 


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April 15th, 2024

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