#OpenLeadership — Five stages of grief

Tom McCallum
5 min readMay 8, 2020

All of us are increasingly close to those who have contracted Covid-19 or died from it, and the Kübler-Ross model of the five stages of grief is a powerful tool to support those grieving such terrible loss. Away from my writing here I, like all of us, face personal circumstances through this and feel the power of this model for grieving such loss.

My daily writing, though, is around OpenLeadership, so today seek to relate this model to how people may be feeling now and through this as it relates to loss of their normal life.

Leadership is about people, and in order to serve, awareness of ourselves, our people, our environment and, for the last two months, my focus has been in supporting leaders in their awareness of and response to the ever-shifting pandemic environment. So, let us relate the the five stages of grief to the response of people you may lead in your organisations.

The five stages are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Bargaining
  • Acceptance

There are many, many articles you can find on relating this to the pandemic, however, I’m going to make only some simple points and hope they are of value to you in leading yourself, your family, those you lead in business and elsewhere:

  • The time to pass through each stage is not linear
  • This is not a simple stage by stage process
  • Watch out for different professional and personal experiences
  • Events can jump us forward or back to another stage
  • Every human is experiencing this differently
  • Acceptance does not mean you are “done”

The time to pass through each stage is not linear

There is no prescribed amount of time (or intensity) for each stage, simply recognise that each one forms part…

Tom McCallum

Sounding Board for Visionary Leaders ready to make a Massive Impact. Daily posts here, or https://tommccallum.com/newsletter-sign-up/