What is Professional Kindness and Why is it Important?

November 4, 2023

There are times that there can be a sense of incongruence when we’re working in an organisation that considers itself to be on the continuing journey to becoming trauma informed yet the team just isn’t working well together at all. We explored this incongruence in this week’s webinar which saw our Director, Lisa Cherry, in conversation with Karen Treisman and Betsy de Thierry. You can access a recording here. Challenges that need attention can certainly sit with those working within the organisational culture and can show up in all sorts of ways. For example, as a lack of tolerance towards another member of the team, or an unhelpful criticism for the way someone handled something, speaking about someone’s work behind their back, communication that is defensive or accusatory or exclusionary. In other words, if we’re not working together as a team on our relationships using the trauma informed principles as a guide, then we’re certainly not able to be who we need to be for the people we serve.

In the dynamic and challenging realms of our professional roles, professional kindness has the extraordinary power to transform lives. Beyond fulfilling our responsibilities, practicing empathy and compassion can create a ripple effect, fostering a positive and nurturing environment. In this blog, we delve into the significance of professional kindness and explore practical ways to integrate it into our daily lives (Cherry, 2021 and Meechan et al., 2022).

Understanding Professional Kindness: Professional kindness is more than a mechanical act; it encompasses genuine empathy, compassion, and respect for our colleagues, clients, and students (Luthar & Mendes, 2020 and Reizer, 2019). It involves recognising the inherent worth and dignity of every person we encounter.

Fostering a Culture of Kindness: Building a culture of kindness starts from within. Leaders and managers play a crucial role in setting an example, promoting open communication, valuing diverse perspectives, and encouraging teamwork (Winter, 2020). By cultivating an environment that supports professional kindness, we create a safe space for growth and collaboration.

Small Acts, Great Impact: Sometimes, it is the little acts of kindness that carry the most significant weight. A warm smile, a thoughtful word, or a lending ear can brighten someone's day and create an uplifting atmosphere. These small gestures can inspire others and foster a chain reaction of kindness.

Building Trust and Collaboration: Professional kindness forms the foundation for trust and collaboration. By actively listening, demonstrating empathy, and validating the experiences of others, we cultivate an environment where individuals feel seen, heard, and supported. These authentic connections enable us to work together effectively and harmoniously (Cherry, 2021).

Self-Kindness and Wellbeing: While caring for others, we must not forget to extend the same compassion to ourselves. To do this well, we must remember that we are also not immune to the intense emotional demands of our work. Practicing self-care and self-compassion becomes vital for maintaining personal wellbeing and enabling us to continue providing kindness to others (Cleary et al., 2020).

Empathy in Practice: At the core of professional kindness lies empathy. By striving to understand the experiences and needs of others, we can respond with sensitivity and tailor our support. Empathy allows us to foster genuine connections and provide support that truly addresses the unique circumstances of those we work with.

The Long-Term Impact: The effects of professional kindness are far-reaching. By consistently embodying kindness, we contribute to healing, growth, and resilience in individuals. Our compassion has the potential to create lasting impact, empowering those we interact with to flourish and thrive (Jazaieri, & Rock, 2021).

Ultimately, professional kindness is a powerful tool that can transform lives and create a positive and nurturing environment in the workplace. It involves genuine empathy, compassion, and respect for those around us, and it starts from within (Lauridsen & Munkejord, 2022). Small acts of kindness can have a great impact, inspiring others and fostering a chain reaction of kindness. Professional kindness forms the foundation for trust and collaboration, and it is essential to extend the same compassion to ourselves through self-care and self-compassion (Stokes & Brunzell, 2020). Empathy is at the core of professional kindness, and it allows us to respond with sensitivity and tailor our support to the unique circumstances of those we work with. The long-term impact of professional kindness is far-reaching, contributing to healing, growth, and resilience in individuals and empowering them to flourish and thrive. By consistently embodying kindness, we can create a better world for ourselves and others.

If you need any help and support in supporting parents, in creating Trauma Informed environments, evaluating them or just a general chat about ‘all things Trauma Informed’, please get in touch with Lyndsay, our Working Together Lead at lyndsay@ticservicesltd.com and our team will support you in your journey.


Cherry, L. (2021). Conversations that make a difference for children and young people: Relationship-focused practice from the frontline. Routledge.

Cleary, M., Schafer, C., McLean, L., & Visentin, D. C. (2020). Mental health and well-being in the health workplace. Issues in Mental Health Nursing41(2), 172-175.

Jazaieri, H., & Rock, M. (2021). Putting compassion to work: Compassion as a tool for navigating challenging workplace relationships. Mindfulness12(10), 2552-2558.

Lauridsen, M. B., & Munkejord, M. C. (2022). Creating conditions for professional development through a trauma-informed and restorative practice. Social Work67(2), 135-144.

Luthar, S. S., & Mendes, S. H. (2020). Trauma-informed schools: Supporting educators as they support the children. International Journal of School & Educational Psychology8(2), 147-157.

Meechan, F., McCann, L., & Cooper, C. (2022). The importance of empathy and compassion in organizations: why there is so little, and why we need more. Research Handbook on the Sociology of Organizations, 145-163.

Reizer, A. (2019). Bringing self-kindness into the workplace: Exploring the mediating role of self-compassion in the associations between attachment and organizational outcomes. Frontiers in Psychology10, 1148.

Stokes, H., & Brunzell, T. (2020). Leading trauma-informed practice in schools. Leading and Managing26(1), 70-77.

Winter, F. (2020). Inclusive Conversations. Oakland: Berrett Koehler.

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