By Esther van der Sande
In the modern business world, professional relationships are the basis of a productive, collaborative work environment. They also contribute to individual well-being and satisfaction at work.
The value of creating and maintaining healthy professional relationships is, therefore, immense.
This article explains how a trauma-informed management approach can strengthen professional bonds. Integrating such an approach into interactions and communication can cultivate a workplace culture of trust, understanding, and seamless collaboration.
A foundation of trust
An essential starting point for building deep professional relationships is establishing a foundation of trust.
A trauma-informed approach emphasises safety and respect, allowing individuals to feel heard and understood. By being aware of the potential impact of trauma on people’s experiences and responses, we can create an environment in which openness and vulnerability are encouraged.
This leads to an enhanced sense of trust among team members. It also lays the groundwork for deeper, more meaningful relationships.
Empathy as a building block
Empathy is the cornerstone of any healthy relationship – both personal and professional.
A trauma-informed management approach involves expressing empathy through a profound understanding of others’ experiences and feelings. This means listening to what is said and acknowledging the emotions and reactions underlying the message.
Through this empathic method, we create a safe space for a person to freely share their thoughts and feelings. We promote a deeper connection, build trust, and strengthen the relationship.
The art of listening
Effective communication begins with truly listening.
With a trauma-informed approach, listening goes beyond just hearing what is said. It involves understanding the deeper meaning behind words, picking up on non-verbal cues, and recognising the emotional charge accompanying a message.
Active listening and paying attention to the needs and concerns of others help to create an atmosphere of respect and understanding. This sets the stage for healthy, meaningful professional relationships, in which everyone feels heard and respected.
Boundaries and respect
A crucial aspect of building deep professional relationships is establishing and respecting boundaries.
A trauma-informed approach involves recognising the importance of personal space and autonomy. By setting clear boundaries and respecting them, we create an environment in which everyone feels safe to be themselves and share their thoughts and feelings.
This promotes a sense of trust and creates space for authentic, profound connections between team members. Respecting boundaries is a sign of appreciation and care for one another, supporting a healthy, harmonious work environment.
A healing presence
A healing presence in professional relationships goes beyond mere words. It encompasses how we present ourselves, the atmosphere we create, and the intention with which we act.
By being aware of how our presence impacts others, we can foster a safe, reassuring environment where people feel free to be themselves. This creates space for growth, openness, and the sharing of experiences.
Cultivating a healing presence contributes to creating a work environment in which people feel supported and seen, allowing for healthy professional relationships to flourish.
From surviving to thriving
Engaging in work relationships can sometimes feel like entering survival mode, and navigating through challenges and stress.
A trauma-informed approach offers a shift from this to a state in which thriving is possible. By understanding trauma and its impact on individuals and teams, we can proactively create a supportive environment.
This includes providing the necessary resources, promoting emotional resilience, and encouraging self-care. Work relationships can thrive and flourish.
Sharing stories is a powerful means of creating connections in the professional context. It enables individuals to share their experiences, insights, and perspectives, allowing others to gain a deeper understanding of their backgrounds and motivations.
This openness promotes a sense of connection and nurtures an environment of mutual respect and empowerment. By providing space for story-sharing, we give a voice to everyone in the organization and build a culture of inclusion and understanding.
The role of self-care
Self-care is vital for sustainable professional relationships. It is the practice of consciously tending to our own physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
When we take good care of ourselves, we are better able to support others and communicate effectively. This includes setting boundaries, taking breaks, and acknowledging our own needs.
A trauma-informed approach emphasizes the importance of self-care as a fundamental aspect of building and maintaining healthy professional relationships over the long term.
Connection and harmony
The power of implementing a trauma-informed approach in the professional context can be transformative. By emphasising trust, empathy, boundary-setting, a healing presence, story-sharing and self-care, we create an environment in which deep, meaningful relationships can thrive.
The approach promotes a culture of inclusion and understanding – a space where individuals can grow and flourish.
By working together towards a trauma-informed world, we lay a foundation for a healthy, harmonious work environment in which everyone can thrive.
Want to know more about how Beside Consulting can help your organisation change for the better?
Get in touch with Esther van der Sande, who can run in-company training for your whole team and management.