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Here's What to Do When Your Boss Suffers a Devastating Loss Like Lisa Vanderpump

What’s the right thing to say to the person who employs you after they have suffered a death in the family?

Lisa Vanderpump recently shared the news about the death of her brother Mark Vanderpump, 59, who was found at his home in England on April 30.

“Rest In Peace big brother,” The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills 'wife wrote on Instagram, with a broken heart emoji. 

Lisa’s Bravo pals sent their love on social media, with Mohamed Hadid writing, “Sad to hear. May God open the gates of Heaven and give him and [sic] easy entry. Bless his soul.” “Love you,” Kyle Richards wrote.

But what if it’s your boss? What’s the right thing to say to the person who employs you after they have suffered a such a loss?

“Hang in there Lisa we all love u so much,” Tom Sandoval wrote. Brittany Cartwright commented, “I’m so sorry Lisa! Sending all my love and prayers to you and your family.”

Rest In Peace big brother 💔

A post shared by Lisa Vanderpump (@lisavanderpump) on

How to help with workplace grief is so tricky to navigate that many managers even take classes on how to help employees who have lost a loved one. But, when it’s your boss (and you haven't had any formal exposure to dealing with death at work), you don’t always know what to say, if anything at all.

So, if you find yourself in this situation, here’s how to help:

Say you are sorry.

“Just being empathetic to someone’s situation [helps],” says workplace expert Dan Schawbel. “Everyone goes through tough times regardless of where they are in their career or standing in the company. If it’s your boss, keep it short and sweet. Say ‘I’m sorry for your loss’ and tell them you are there if they need anything.

Help with the workload.

Even though they’re the boss, go through their workload as much as you can, and take on what you can. Leave them be for a while and try to prevent their workload from piling up.

“Ask if they need anything or any projects done and tell them you’ll take the work for them,” Schawbel says. “They probably have work they need to do [so] take it off their plate and do it for them.”

Don’t ask when they’ll be back.


It’s rude and everyone grieves differently.

“Don’t contact them outside work, let them have off, let them be with family,” Schawbel says. “Ask them what they need in their absence.”

While they’re out, do all you can.

Designate a person to check in with the boss. If you are friends or friendly with your boss, you can do it yourself, but no overstepping boundaries, once is enough.

“Attending the funeral depends on the strength of the relationship and depends how big the team is,” says Schawbel. “If you can offer to go, but it may not make sense. Mainly have them not think about the work they need to be doing.”

Yes, you can send something.

The SURvers would be wise to send Lisa a nice flower arrangement. You tend to remember who sent you wonderful notes while you were grieving and you really do never forget who offered kind words. People will surprise you in the best way.

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