Trauma Informed Leadership: A Guide for All Managers

Upcoming dates (1)

For registration assistance: 608-262-2451


Studies are revealing that a large percentage of adults nationwide suffer from abusive childhoods, PTSD, grief from loss and/or other traumatizing events. The ability of individuals to recover from trauma varies widely, and the impacts often carry over into the workplace; affecting performance and reactions to stress. Right now, employees are also dealing with a "quademic" — the combined effects of the pandemic, widening social inequality and injustice, the polarization of political discourse and the rise of global warming. As a result, the prevalence of workers experiencing genuine trauma is surging.

This class will focus on what individual managers can do to recognize and respond to members of their team who are struggling. We will navigate showing compassion without running afoul of employment laws or abandoning work standards and job descriptions. Participants will learn how to deal with worker trauma in ways that go beyond simple expressions of empathy while protecting confidentiality.

Specific how-to approaches and what to avoid will be explored. Leaders themselves may need to recognize their own trauma and find ways to strengthen their resilience and find resources for support. The two class instructors are an expert in organizational well-being, and an employment law attorney. They will be your guides to navigate effectively in this important new area.


Desired Learning Outcomes

  1. Become aware of the prevalence and nature of individual trauma.
  2. Learn to recognize the signs of trauma in colleagues and direct reports.
  3. Identify specific approaches managers can use to build trust, create safety, support recovery and avoid retraumatizing those who are suffering.
  4. Understand the purpose and spirit of relevant labor laws covering privacy and mental health accommodations, such as the federal FMLA, and how to work effectively with your HR department to help employees who are dealing with trauma.
  5. Identify the risks of simply avoiding the sensitive issue of possibly traumatized staff and how to balance compassion and accountability.
  6. Clarify the difference between empathy and compassion.
  7. Learn the role managers can play in post-traumatic recovery and growth, including within themselves.
  8. Explore how to avoid compassion fatigue and prioritize one's own self-care.

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Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 7.5
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units .75

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

Upcoming dates (1)

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Program Questions?

Contact Brittany Browning at brittany.browning@wisc.edu or 608-265-7939

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

Continuing Studies FAQs

Meet your instructors

Allessandria Polizzi

(SPHR, PhD, Univ. of N. Texas),  is a highly-experienced organizational development and HR consultant. The focus of her current work is leader and team resiliency, emotional agility, building psychological safety and post-pandemic recovery.  Al has held executive positions in two Fortune 500 companies and worked in 15 different industries. She provides individual and group coaching.  Al is CEO/Founder of Verdant Consulting, a top 20 workplace wellness provider located based in Boston.

Brian Goodman


(J.D. Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison), is an attorney with Boardman Clark in Madison specializing in Labor and Employment law and also School law.  He is a very active member of the Greater Madison Area chapter of the Society for Human Resources (SHRM), formerly chairing the programming committee.  Before transitioning to practicing law, Brian received a Master’s in Educational Administration from Northern Illinois University and was a public school music teacher. He loves to use his experience as an educator to teach about the law