For the love of life

Connie Hanner

Dissertation topic

"Using grief as a construct to aid in leadership transition"

In my copious free time..ha..ha...I'm a doctoral student at Johnson University in Non-Profit Organizational Leadership. Like most doctoral students, my dissertation topic grew from personal experience and observation. Now it is my passion and soon to be supplementing and connecting leadership studies in the areas of  workforce dynamics and leadership studies.

There is nothing more heart wrenching than to lose your job through no fault of your own. When you inherit a workforce, you  have no way of anticipating the internal or external factors which will influence your success. Who is the functional leader of the group? What personal relationships did the former leader have with the workforce? Are those relationships still in place? All these factors can have a negative impact on whether you will be able to keep your job.

The most important part of the diagram noted to the left, is "evaluate operational culture using grief construct". A workforce can behave similarly to a grieving family upon the exit of a popular leader. The workforce views the estblished leader as a matriarch or patriarch. A new leader can be perceived by the workforce as an interloper or an intruder. A leader may have the best intentions, but until the workforce allows themselves to complete the grieving process and come to accept that the former leader is no longer available, the new leader suffers from a distinct disadvantage.

The purpose of my research is to suggest that using grief as a construct may aid in leadership transition. The research will be used to develop a process to help transitional leaders move a workforce through the stages of grief to a reality which includes the new leader. If you are a non-profit leader who would be interested in participating in my research study, please contact me at 817-7010-9271 or by email at