Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: The three basic “leadership types” are anchored by the relational leader. Sometimes called the “highly sensitive person” they take longer to process new ideas because they know the new ideas will strain relationships.
However, you need this highly relational leader on your team or else your plans will be perceived as uncaring and damaging to personal relationships.
Here’s a quick questionnaire to find the relational leaders on your team. And below is an article that explains more about how to keep this very valuable person as part of your team.
5 reasons highly sensitive people are an asset to your team by Harvey Deutschendorf, Fast Company Magazine, 12/2/20.
Psychologist Elaine Aron, who has been studying the innate temperament trait of high sensitivity since 1991, coined the phrase “Highly Sensitive Person.”
For those individuals who have these traits—about 20% of the general population—it can be a gift and a curse. HSPs feel both positive and negative emotions more intensely than non-HSPs. This sensitivity is thought to be linked to higher levels of creativity, richer personal relationships, and a greater appreciation for beauty.
Highly sensitive people require extra time to process, and if something seems off, they will usually identify an issue to be looked into further. Brain scans have shown that HSPs have more active mirror neurons, which are responsible for feelings of empathy for others, and more activity in brain areas that are involved with emotional responses.
Let’s take a look at the qualities of highly sensitive people so that you will recognize their traits, gifts, and the way they can feel most comfortable in the workplace.
1. THEY PROCESS THINGS DEEPLY
The highly sensitive brain has a more active insula, the part of the brain that helps enhance perception and increase self-awareness. HSPs are also wired to pause and reflect before engaging. Therefore, HSPs are always taking in a lot of information around them and thinking deeply about it.
Since HSPs notice more subtle details in their environments, they are more emotionally impacted by social stimulation and will notice the “pulse” of the workplace energy, which can be very helpful. They notice little details that others may miss, such as subtle body language or small changes to an environment. They are the first to notice if a colleague gets a new haircut or if someone is upset.
2. THEY FEEL EMOTIONS INTENSELY
HSPs feel more emotional in response to both positive and negative events, and they notice subtle details that others miss, such as nonverbal cues or small changes in their environment.