NYC Shooting: What Do We Do Back at Work After Violence?

Greetings Dear Readers,

The shooting at the Empire State Building today by a laid-off worker reminds me of work I’ve done in organizations after episodes of violence and loss. I’ve worked with executive teams who’ve lost members and companies who have been traumatized by terrorism, and it can be so difficult to know what to do as a leader with such powerful and potent emotion.

How do we bounce-back from horror, fear, or grief at work? How do we lead people who have been traumatized, particularly when we are as well?

Step One  – Honor Grief and Loss

Everyone grieves differently, and they need time and space to do so. As a leader, you may wish to say a few words to your team or workgroup about what community means in times of sadness, and that it’s time for us to come together and have a moment of quiet, offer each other support, and talk about what’s happened if you want to.

Step Two – Ensure an Ongoing Support Mechanism

Engage your EAP program, get a grief counselor or other resource in to assist anyone who needs help.

Step Three – Don’t pretend it didn’t happen and go about “business as usual”. Make sure that in the following weeks ahead that you check in with your people, ask how they are, and continue to focus on community building so that employees do not get disconnected or alienated from the team.


Step Four – Learn about and leverage resilience practices. When a team experiences something difficult together, they have an opportunity to build tighter, more purposeful relationships. They have an opportunity to offer their own help to others. They have an opportunity to think about what they are grateful for, and bring that gratitude into daily awareness.

Please pass it on.

-Karlin Sloan



About karlinsloan

Karlin Sloan has committed herself to finding out what makes great leaders tick, and to supporting leaders to be the change they wish to see in the world. As a corporate citizen she is an advocate for triple-bottom-line reporting, for creating sustainable ways of working and living, and for creating positive organizational communities that work together for the greater good. She is the author of the acclaimed business book Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership which has been translated into Thai and Russian, UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty, and co-author of the 2012 book Lemonade: The Leaders Guide to Resilience at Work. For more information see or
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2 Responses to NYC Shooting: What Do We Do Back at Work After Violence?

  1. karlinsloan says:

    Sounds like we all need it! Thank you Dorie – any resources you hear of are great to know about.

  2. I continue to find great value in the Resilience work you have spearheaded, Karlin.

    On the topic of trauma and the aftermath of trauma, I have recently become aware of a book that articulates the components of self-care for those dealing with “secondary trauma,” that is, those who care for others in intense, difficult or violent situations. I highly recommend it. Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self while Caring for Others, by Laura Van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk.

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