Two brothers joined their skills and experiences to write a book and create a company that address a leadership skill that has been the focus of minimal to no resources in the past.
Anthony Casablanca, an accomplished senior executive who has developed extensive leadership skills, and his brother, Guy Casablanca, a dually licensed funeral director and mortician, released their first book, “The Dying Art of Leadership: How Leaders Can Help Grieving Employees Excel at Work,” and they have launched their organization called GriefLeaders LLC.
Through Anthony's 30-plus years of experience, including 31 years at Hillenbrand and 12 years as the vice president of Batesville Casket Company's supply chain, he has spent much time studying the art of leadership. As a current manager of a funeral home in Loveland, Colorado, for one of the nation's largest funeral providers, Guy not only has leadership experience but also has extensive training and experience with assisting families and individuals in all stages of the grief process. Through both of their experiences, the two brothers identified a need for guidance as to what leaders should do to aid their employees who are in the process of grieving.
Together, Anthony and Guy strive to bring awareness to the fact that grief of an employee does not only impact the said individual, but it can also have a detrimental impact on the company. The duo emphasizes the fact that grief of employees can lead to decreased productivity for companies, which directly resulted in an estimated $75 billion of annual productivity losses among US businesses in 2003 and is estimated to be approaching $100 billion annually today.
“Grief is larger than the loss of a loved one. For instance, it could be a divorce, a health diagnosis, drug addiction, or even an organization's initiatives,” explained Anthony.
Through their book, as well as GriefLeaders LLC, which is a training and consulting organization aimed at reducing the impact of grief on productivity by first educating leaders on how to help grieving employees excel at work, the duo focuses on the following sobering facts.
Every year 2.8 million people die in the US.
Every year 2.4 million people go through a divorce in the US.
Every year 1.7 million people are diagnosed with cancer in the US.
Every year 10.3 million people and their families will deal with the effects of opioid addictions in the US.
As claimed by the Casablanca brothers on the GriefLeaders LLC website, “If you assume that only one person is impacted by each of these facts, then 17-plus million people a year, or 47,000 people a day are returning to work in a state of grief. That means for every 100 people you employ, 5 of them are grieving.”
Anthony and Guy believe that it is very important for individuals in leadership positions to recognize that their employees may be grieving and to then take the appropriate actions in a timely manner. However, the two businessmen have also recognized through their experience and studies that there is very limited and vague information as to what leaders should do to aid their employees through the grief process, which is the arena that they have since set out to make a difference in.
Anthony stated, “We believe that leaders should engage in the process early. Too often leaders are judging an employee based on their performance rather than taking the time to understand the underlying cause of their altered performance. When a leader engages in the process, supports the employees, and makes the environment a safe place for the employees, it helps to increase morale, which then increases productivity, loyalty, and engagement.”
Through their book and their organization, the Casablanca brothers stress the importance of meeting employees where they are and engaging with them in a compassionate and empathetic manner, as this shows that an organization appreciates it workers.
“Leadership is about people, and we want to help organizations to believe that people come first. We want to help organizations to capture the hearts and minds of their employees,” reported Anthony.
With their guiding principle of “People First…Mission Always,” Anthony Casablanca and Guy Casablanca offer the readers of their book, “The Dying Art of Leadership: How Leaders Can Help Grieving Employees Excel at Work,” much valuable information and proven strategies, and through GriefLeaders LLC, they offer a platform through which they can train the leaders of organizations how to help grieving employees to excel at work.