Understanding and navigating shame in the workplace

Part 1, 8:30-12: Understanding Shame and Building Shame Resilience

World-renowned shame researcher Dr. Brené Brown has said "if you don’t know how to do shame, shame does you".  This course provides leaders with the rare opportunity to explore this powerful human emotion and how it impacts, and sometimes derails, an effort to deliver wise, effective, value-guided leadership.  This course can help leaders be less susceptible to efforts by others to use shame triggering to diminish the leader’s effectiveness, sustainability, and efforts to develop inclusive, diverse, and healthy work team cultures

Participants will:

  • Receive a basic primer on the emotion of shame and the use of empathy as the antidote to shame.
  • Learn why it is critical for leaders to be able to recognize and respond effectively to the emotion of shame as it presents in themselves and others.
  • Increase capacity to recognize when you are shame triggered by becoming aware of how shame shows up in your body and how you habitually react in your effort to discharge the pain of shame when you experience it.
  • Learn how to identify current triggers for your shame response and begin to practice critical awareness of how these triggers became established and how to reduce the frequency and impact of these triggers in your personal and professional life.
  • Learn the 5 elements of the Shame Resilience Model based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown and Dr. Kristen Neff
  • Develop practical skills to help move through moments of shame triggering more effectively with less chance of acting out of alignment with core personal and professional values.

Part 2, 1-4:30: Navigating the Emotion of Shame in the Workplace

Once completing the Understanding Shame and Building Shame Resilience course leaders can continue developing shame resilient leadership skills by attending this course designed to help leaders navigate this powerful human emotion in the day-to-day operation of their work team culture. Practical tools will be provided to help leaders name, interrupt, and hold team members compassionately accountable for shame-inducing behavior and/or shame-based responses in the workplace.

Participants will:

  • Explore how shame is often used as a management tool and why this is not a recommended practice of leadership for the common good.
  • Identify how shame can be used to manipulate people and cause them to act out of alignment with their core values or the expressed values of the institution.
  • Identify the characteristics of shame prone work culture as a means of increased awareness of the destructive nature of unrecognized and unnamed shame in the workplace.
  • Increase understanding of the unseen costs of not addressing shame and shame-related behaviors in the workplace.
  • Build capacity to help members of their team name the emotion of shame and build their shame resilience skills.

NOTE: Employees may use available educational assistance funds to pay for this program.


Session dates for 2024 will be released as soon as they are confirmed.

Please email  prodev@hr.msu.edu  to request notification when registration becomes available. include the course title in the email heading. 


8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Lisa Laughman, LMSW, Spartan Resilience Training Program




MSU HR building, 1407 S. Harrison Road in East Lansing, Suite 10*

*MSU HR Organization and Professional Development follows all applicable state and public health guidance and university-wide directives. If deemed necessary or advisable to refrain from in-person learning, this course will instead be hosted in a virtual format.