The Highly Sensitive Person at Work: A Complex Environment

November 2, 2017

A highly sensitive person (HSP) often feels like the working world is a hostile and complex place. The competition, rigid structure, criticism, noises and strong conversations deplete their mental and physical energy. Also, their abilities are rarely appreciated.

Daniel H. Pink, an expert on workplace motivation and author of various books on success. His books apply psychology to the world of business. According to him, the future is part of the “right hemisphere.” We have arrived at a point in which systematization, computerization, and automation are giving way to new skills known as “high concept.” That is where intuition, creativity, and empathy are integrated.

“Never despise a person’s sensitivity. His sensitivity is his genius.”

Charles Baudelaire

Right now, these “high” work environments are not appreciated and not easily discovered. Therefor, the highly sensitive person (HSP) is often doomed to be integrated into a very structured context that doesn’t allow them to flourish professionally. 

So, the HSP is physically and emotionally exhausted because of their continuous effort to fit into an environment that does not suit them. This difficult reality is what we want to talk to you about.

highly sensitive person at work

Highly sensitive people and their problems at work

Dr. Elaine Aron, an expert on heightened sensitivity, tells us that few HSPs feel truly comfortable or happy at work. In fact, in many work environments the HSP is seen as passive and of little use to the organization. 

On the other hand, we know that everyone, HSP or not, needs to feel valued and respected in their job. This helps them be more productive. Nevertheless, people with high levels of sensitivity require more than average. They need a habitat in which they can grow. Where they can feel emotionally and physically well. They need to feel that their heart is in line with their work.

highly sensitive person balloons

Common workplace problems for the highly sensitive

The highly sensitive person is like a radar. They notice any altercation, disagreement, or dysfunction in the workplace. These situations cause them a lot of anxiety.

  • A working environment with excess sounds, lights, or continuous interpersonal interaction can over-excite a highly sensitive person. They will quickly feel exhausted.
  • Another unique aspect of the HSP is that they are able to anticipate any need that comes up in the work environment. Sometimes this can cause them to take on the responsibilities of others. They don’t do it just to please others. Rather, they just know it needs to be done. Over the long term, they can get more and more overloaded.
  • The human resources department doesn’t always take care of the work environment for an HSP. They also may not be aware of the subtleties of a highly sensitive person. In addition, there are many misconceptions about the highly sensitive person. For example, that they are more vulnerable or incapable of leadership.

This is something completely false that we will discuss now.

The future of intelligent organizations and heightened sensitivity

We now go back to what we talked about at the beginning of this article. The current model of large businesses and organizations is changing. The new business model will require people who are more intuitive, creative, and sensitive, and can anticipate society’s needs. The idea that HSPs are “passive” is starting to change.

  • Heightened sensitivity is an important tool when it comes to perceiving and anticipating new markets. Sensitive people can empathize with potential clients more easily.
  • The companies of the future want to show more diversity within their businesses. They no longer want a group of professionals who are all the same. They want people capable of providing unique and special skills. In this case, creativity and intuition are two powerful strategies.
highly sensitive person light

Highly sensitive people integrate what we have called “elevated concept” into the workplace.  These characteristics are also characteristics of good leaders. To the surprise of many, HSPs have the ideal profile of a leader: they are visionary, intuitive, and posses a unique perspective. They don’t see things in an automatic, biased way.

They are good at reflection and creating a good social environment. At the same time, they are vigilant and look for excellence in all they do, and foster that conscious and innovative spirit in others. This is the spirit that will be the future of many organizations. You only have to believe in yourself enough, and, sooner or later, the world will discover what you have to offer. They will begin to see the world from their heart, and see what the right hemisphere can offer.