Wanted: Trauma-Informed Leadership

As we lead our organizations through the COVID-19 crisis, most of us are making decisions and communicating at a higher frequency than normal. When leaders fail to consider the impact of trauma when doing these things, we risk impacting employees in negative and sometimes harmful ways – words or decisions that are meant to inspire may actually deflate instead. This is why a compassionate and trauma-informed approach to leadership is crucial during this time of stress and crisis.

Trauma is prevalent in our world now more than ever and has an impact on many of the people we interact with, including staff, colleagues, and clients. There is a pervasive sense of heightened anxiety as we hear daily reminders of the pandemic in the news, and our everyday rhythms of life have been abruptly changed. We are social creatures, and the social disconnection and prolonged isolation are impacting our mental health. The threat of the unknown is instinctively felt as a threat to our survival. Many of us are fearful about our health, jobs, and financial security.

We need to become hypervigilant about the how: How do we communicate in a trauma-informed way? How do we make decisions from a trauma-informed perspective?

This is the current backdrop to our leadership, and we can’t pretend it isn’t. Our normal ways of making decisions and communicating need to be assessed and, in many cases, adjusted. We need to become hypervigilant about the how: How do we communicate in a trauma-informed way? How do we make decisions from a trauma-informed perspective?

Practicing trauma-informed leadership is the key to creating a sustainable foundation that can help organizations get through the current pandemic. When we lead from a place of compassion and understanding, we will inspire trust in our teams. To get through this crisis, trust is a central ingredient – we need our teams to trust us.


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Randy Grieser, Author, Speaker

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