The Center for Leadership Research & Development, located within the School of Psychology Family and Community, is closely affiliated with the Department of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Seattle Pacific University, and affixed with the community of people and organizations committed to developing the leadership potential in a generation. www.spu.edu/orgpsych
Dear SPU I/O Community,
I was sitting in church yesterday while our pastor was talking about how to even begin to think through the shooting in CT, and the first group of people who came to mind (after the victims and families there) was you. I felt and feel an ever increasing conviction that our program and our broader interconnected community has come to relative maturity at a very timely moment in history. I know most of you well enough to know that you are not only about excellence in your work, but about having a broader impact on your world of influence. The tragedy in CT made me think about our preparation to create spaces where we might not only serve those who are suffering directly, but also serve those within our organizations who may be attempting to do real time “sensemaking” (as Weick would describe it) regarding a situation that is impossible to fully understand.
Situations and tragic events like what has taken place at Newtown highlight the indistinguishable space between our work on workplaces, and the lives that every one of us and our constituents live beyond the walls of those places. I feel a strange sense of comfort knowing that people like you, people I know, are comforting and leading others who are trying to find ways to feel what they need to feel while continuing to do their work, and lead their families.
Beyond the politics, the speculation and media attempts to answer the question of why such a thing could occur, we are left with helping others find an appropriate and safe place to mourn, question, find grace, find hope, and find the courage to live in peace in spite of the constant reminder of the darkness and brokenness of our world, and of the tremendous courage it takes to bring light to it.
May God comfort those families in Newtown, and may we as a community be mindful of the opportunities we have to comfort those with unspeakable hurt and suffering who are right down the hall.
Blessings on all of you today,
Chair, Dept. of Industrial/Organizational Psychology
Executive Director, Center for Leadership Research & Development
Seattle Pacific University