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5 Ways to Cope with Leadership Trauma and Organizational Chronic Stress

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Most people will say that work stresses them out—but it’s possible that your job as a leader is causing chronic traumatic stress.

If you suffer from leadership trauma, these five trauma-informed strategies can help you move forward and cope with your stress.

1. Recognize harmful symptoms through mindfulness.

First, you need to know if you have leadership trauma. You might think that everything is okay or that you’re experiencing a “normal” amount of stress.

But you may be suffering more than you realize. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s time to take action for your own good—and the good of your organization:

· intrusive or obsessive thinking

· trouble sleeping

· nightmares

· unstable moods

· intense irritability or rage

· inability to relax or stay present

2. Address immediate traumas before past ones.

When you start therapy or coaching, trauma-informed work often prods at the trauma of the past.

But you can’t start working on your childhood traumas or relational issues until you deal with the chronic stressors in your life right now.

So, make sure you focus on the most current trauma as you move forward.

3. Stop blaming yourself.

When we experience severe trauma, we often gravitate towards self-blame, which easily morphs into self-loathing and low self-esteem.

If you find yourself blaming yourself for the things you’ve done or things you’ve left undone, it’s time to make a change.

Of course, this isn’t going to happen overnight. But the first step towards healing is to acknowledge what you want to change—then you can change it.

4. Talk to a therapist or counselor.

No matter what level of self-awareness you possess, a professional can help you navigate healing from your current trauma, even as you’re experiencing it.

If you’re already in therapy or you want to try something else, one on one coaching can help you experience personal growth and accountability in a healthy and non-judgmental way.

5. Conquer your fears.

Most often, leadership trauma comes from experiencing intense fear and imagining horrible outcomes. You may find yourself afraid of the unknown future, shame, potential humiliation, or failure.

To overcome these fears, you’ll need to do some heavy lifting to boost your confidence, your belief in yourself, and your sense of safety and security in life.

If it doesn’t sound easy, it’s because it’s not. Trauma-informed work is, well, work. But it is important work that you are capable of doing.

Have faith knowing that you’ll come out stronger than before.

Living with chronic stress and unprocessed trauma is no walk in the park, and no one expects you to find overcoming trauma easy.

If you’re struggling with burnout, leadership trauma, or chronic stress, remember that your health deserves to be a priority. And the work you do to move past your trauma will benefit you and your team.

If you want to learn more about trauma-informed practices, check out our blog on Trauma-Informed Leadership. And if you’re still craving more information on trauma-informed practices, consider booking a free consultation with Chefalo Consulting today.


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