3 ways to use your sensitive demeanor to your advantage


“Don’t be so sensitive.” It’s a phrase that’s usually thrown round as a jab or criticism.

Lots of my teaching purchasers have been informed that they want to “develop a thicker pores and skin” and stop “carrying their coronary heart on their sleeve.”

If you’re a extremely sensitive particular person (HSP), then you might also be used to these sorts of critiques. You’re doubtless somebody who thinks, feels, and experiences the world extra deeply. You’re extremely attuned to subtleties in your setting, in addition to others’ feelings.


Personally, I’m additionally an HSP, and my life was equally peppered with insecurity and judgment from others (and even myself). I grew up feeling like an oddball and got here to consider that I used to be faulty. I continuously pushed myself to the brink of burnout attempting to reside up to different folks’s expectations, together with the impossibly excessive expectations I create for myself.

Should you acknowledge components of your self in these assertion, you might also be an HSP. Perhaps at one time or one other you have got additionally come to understand your self as weak, attributing it to the way in which you’re “wired.” What’s worse is that as a substitute of embracing your sensitivity, perhaps you’ve hid it as a survival mechanism to slot in with others. However when you’ve ever tried this, then you understand firsthand that it often doesn’t work. If you reject your true nature, you create a warfare inside your self.

Whereas HSPs could also be “completely different,” their model of neurodiversity is a present, not a defect. The reality is that the trait of excessive sensitivity, if leveraged accurately, will be your best power {and professional} asset.

Excessive sensitivity as an advantage

One in 5 folks have inherited a particular set of genes that leads to having a extremely attuned central nervous system. Psychologist Elaine Aron, who first found the trait of high sensitivity, has steered that it developed as a “survival technique” to keep free from hurt in prehistoric occasions. Taking time to pause in addition to observe—two hallmark actions of of extremely sensitive folks—helped these people make wiser selections by selecting up on environmental cues and noticing particulars less-sensitive folks didn’t.

Whereas we might not want to keep away from risks within the wild, excessive sensitivity continues to be a useful trait: Managers constantly rate people with greater sensitivity as their prime contributors. That is most definitely as a result of HSPs are considerate, conscientious, empathetic, and devoted; all of which makes them ideally suited staff and leaders. Furthermore, research have additionally shown that due to their distinctive wiring, sensitive folks have extra energetic psychological circuitry and neurochemicals in areas associated to consideration, motion planning, decision-making, and empathy.

As work turns into more and more automated, the necessity for extremely sensitive professionals—and their strengths of pure instinct and creativity—have by no means been extra essential. These abilities are additionally much less technical competencies, which can’t be simply replicated by know-how.

How to faucet into your power of sensitivity within the office

Select a diplomatic method


As a extremely sensitive particular person, you assume longer and extra intentionally earlier than taking motion. Whereas this may increasingly imply you skew towards overthinking, you’re additionally extra considerate. In a enterprise context, that interprets into having the ability to stability completely different folks’s views and tactfully talk, even in moments of heightened battle.

Listed here are some ways you’ll be able to put your planful nature to use for you:

  • Select your phrases rigorously and adapt your communication fashion to every particular person.
  • Use your powers of remark to hear greater than and earlier than you converse.
  • Take time to anticipate questions and objections and are available ready with an overview of your ideas and response.

Converse up when others have missed one thing

One other asset of excessive sensitivity is catching subtleties and nuances others miss. It’s because the HSP mind not solely takes in additional info, but in addition processes and synthesizes that info in a extra advanced method. Meaning you’re doubtless the one who sees gaps in a plan or who spots new alternatives earlier than others. You may additionally be applauded for the way in which you discover inventive angles and paths on the way in which to an answer.

Asserting your self within the office might not be your pure default, so listed below are few ways to get your voice heard:

  • Make it a degree to be one of many first folks to converse up in conferences. Early audio system are typically seen as extra assured and competent.
  • Follow the artwork of interrupting with phrases like, “earlier than we transfer on, I’d like to add…” or “let me bounce in right here and share…”
  • If worry seizes you within the second, don’t be afraid to observe up. Stand out by circling again with senior management, for instance, to supply new or extra insights.

Maintain a pulse on morale

Analysis reveals that HSPs have extra energetic mirror neurons (which helps them empathize and perceive different folks’s habits). For this reason you could discover that you would be able to sense folks’s moods lengthy earlier than they are saying a phrase, in addition to take up their feelings as in the event that they had been your personal.

Lots of my teaching purchasers discover they’ve a expertise for anticipating folks’s emotional wants within the office—comparable to figuring out when their group is burned out, sensing if a sure particular person wants extra assist, or studying between the strains to decide when a shopper or boss is unhappy.

Leverage your off-the-charts emotional intelligence to increase morale and psychological security by:

  • Begin off conferences on a constructive be aware. For instance, have every group member share a win or latest spotlight.
  • Make an effort to deeply perceive your group. For myself, I’ve every of my purchasers create a “me handbook,” or a information that explains their persona, strengths, weaknesses, and work preferences. Share it with your group and have them create their very own.
  • Schedule “workplace hours.” Put aside a number of hours per week the place staff can drop in for as-needed teaching, questions, and assist.

As a extremely sensitive one that experiences robust feelings, you would possibly really feel such as you’re carrying a heavy load, particularly within the office. However the fact is you doubtless have an enormous quantity of untapped worth to share with your coworkers, purchasers, and in your profession as an entire. Due to this fact, embrace being an HSP, because it’s doubtless you convey many for all of the positives you convey to the desk.

Melody Wilding, LMSW, is an govt coach and creator of  Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work.