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Trauma Informed (TIE) Empathy Actions and Exercise

A group of team members engaged in a supportive and reflective discussion, representing the concept of trauma-informed empathy in teamwork.

What are the practical things a leader can do to implement TIE? Prioritize asking over attribution, curiosity over judgment and listening over fixing. As a leader, it can be hard not to fix something, especially if we see someone in pain.

When someone shares trauma the first thing the leader can do is stop everything and listen, actively listen. Thank the person for their vulnerability in sharing. Acknowledge and repeat back what the individual has said and what you understand to be their current emotional state. Ask if you have missed anything. Assure the individual you are there to support them. If your company has an Employee Assistance Program or other resources, consider offering them to the individual at the correct time.

This team exercise below comes from a Harvard Business Review article. In the past couple of years, we haven’t taken the time to reflect on the pandemic and the lessons from it. When people are overcoming trauma, it is helpful to look at the lessons learned from the situation. Overcoming the pandemic is no different. We would suggest having each team member write down their answers first individually, then share them with the group.


1. What is the greatest lost you experience during the pandemic?

2. What is the greatest gain you experienced during the pandemic?

3. What are you learning/have you learned about yourself during the pandemic?

4. What would it look like if you applied these learnings going forward?

5. What two words or short phrases will remind you of how to apply what your learning?

Reflection Question: No reflection question this week, as there are plenty above!

Topic Next Week: We can’t hire our way out…

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