3.25.20 Boda Insights: Being a Good Boss in Dark Times


We are living in unprecedented times. In the midst of turbulence and risk like we are experiencing now, effective leaders recognize the importance of acknowledging others’ emotions and navigating the emotional culture of the people they are responsible for.

A few years ago, after a traumatic event in the news, we published an article in Harvard Business Review to help leaders think about how they can support their people in dark times. We’re sharing it again now in hopes that what we wrote can help you lead through this very challenging period.

The Boda Team


Being a Good Boss in Dark TimesJennifer headshot

Jennifer Porter

Senseless acts of violence affect all of us. Mass shootings, suicide bombers, assassinations-the emotions such events bring up are strong, even if our personal connection to the events themselves is not. Feelings of sadness, pain, confusion, and anger don’t get checked at the office door. If you’re leading a team or an organization, how can you help manage the emotional culture of the people you’re responsible for?

I had an opportunity to explore that a few days ago when I spoke with a Derek, the COO of a large, publicly traded company based in the Midwest, the day after yet another tragedy. We spent the first ten minutes talking about his trip to some of their European offices the prior week and some questions he was thinking about. At a pause, I asked him how he was reacting to the latest tragedy. Derek talked about when he heard, how his family reacted, and how terrible it was. I asked him what it meant for him as a leader and he paused. He wasn’t sure …

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