You’re in a room with 100 employees. How many of them have been affected by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)? The answer is 30. Now take a moment to absorb that. Thanks to Julia Reed, LCSW and Director for the Center of Wellbeing at the University of Central Oklahoma, for sharing that statistic. Wow.
It’s not your responsibility to resolve this – although the company’s benefits may provide the care and services your staff needs. However, it is helpful to know so that you create physically and emotionally safe spaces for your team.
Trauma is measured through the eyes and psyche of the experiencer. And while this does not mean walking on communication eggshells, it does mean there’s value in honing your empathy skills which may lead to more compassionate communication.
“Why are you being this way?” may be replaced by, “What kind of day did you have?” Some managers want to take the emotion out of business and prefer a more autocratic and structured approach. Yet, the reality is that our emotions are an integral part of our being. There’s value in getting in tune to our more authentic self and being more honest. The reality that when leaders realize we bring our emotions to work, accept and appreciate us for who we are, they too will be more honest and open. These qualities create trust, greater productivity and engagement.
A few actions you can take as a trauma-informed leader include:
• Giving employees choice and control is significantly more effective than micromanagement
• Rather than judgment, ask, “How can I help you succeed”
• Be supportive and empathetic with accountability
• Connect before correcting
• Regulate your emotions before communicating – regulate, relate, reason
• Empower individuals and teams to solve their own problems and challenges
Employees will migrate to those leaders that are self-aware, self-regulated, calm and trusting.
Be that Leader.