Supporting our Community in Times of Crisis: Suggestions for Managers & Supervisors

In the wake of tragic events, managers play critical roles in the recovery process for individuals and the community. Important leadership activities include listening and understanding the emotions and needs of the community; designing communications to answer questions and offer reassurance; and fostering community rituals that help the community move forward.

While working to return community activities to normal, it is important to understand that recovery takes time, and that the process is not linear – new issues are likely to present at different phases. Managers should be mindful that employees will respond to crisis differently, based on the nature of an employee’s exposure, personal vulnerability, and unique history. As an international community, we want to make special efforts to be as inclusive and sensitive as possible to all members of our community who may have various levels of experience with similar tragedies all over the world.

We encourage you to refer to the following materials to inform your efforts:

Common Reactions to Crisis
Created by MIT Medical-Mental Health & Counseling Service
Digestion problems/Stomachaches
Muscle tension
Dizzy spells
Increased heart rate
Elevated blood pressure
Rapid breathing
Changes in sleeping patterns
Changes in eating patterns
Changes in other activities
Decreased personal hygiene
Withdrawal from others
Neediness, not wanting to be alone
Difficulty concentrating
Difficulty making decisions
Memory disturbances
Flashbacks/preoccupation with the event
A sense that things aren't real
Amnesia for the event
Worrying about the event
Fear, panic, or feeling unsafe
Anger or irritability
Helplessness or meaninglessness
Violent fantasies
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