Sensitivity as a Leader
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
Did you know that 1 in 5 people is "sensitive" given the latest psychology & neuroscience research?
(See research from Dr Elaine Aron, Dr's Tom Boyce, Jay Belasky & Michael Pluess, Dr Stephen Suomi, Dr Turhan Canli, Dr Gary Linker, Dr Robert W Levenson, Dr Tracy Cooper, et al.)
As a society there has been a stigma associated with sensitivity & antiquated labels that don't factor in the latest scientific research & developing information about emotions, whereby we have mislabeled & misunderstood subtleties of temperament & personality types.
Especially in the business realm, emotions & sensitivity are often equated to weakness or irrationality!
Factually, the latest research shows the opposite, that sensitivity & emotions increase deep thinking & logical analysis because we apply critical thinking & careful attention to things we have an emotional investment in or care about.
I wonder, if we embrace sensitivity & emotions in today's business environment will that enhance organizational performance and optimize results?
We are all emotional creatures simply based on how we are wired as humans: the cortical / thinking brain is 4 million years old while the limbic / emotional brain is 100 million -- so, even if we're pretending to be rational creatures, we are bristling & often full of emotions; some of us more in tune or sensitive to these emotions.
Why negate or ignore our true human emotional nature when it impacts and can enhance our practical performance?
I posit, as the research is starting to indicate, that many of our modern day visionary entrepreneurs and remarkably inspiring business leaders are "Sensitive Leaders:"
Given societal stigmas & out-dated understanding in the business world, these Sensitive Leaders are misunderstood & often lack self-awareness, because such stigma & differentiation does not support their assimilation, rather causing them to suppress their authentic self & hurting their growth!
Indeed, some Sensitive Leaders that have stunted their true nature or lack self-awareness are perceived as "jerks" or difficult to deal with; those that are courageous enough to master their gifts & consciously wield their power are the outliers that we often admire.
Sociologically, we used to appreciate and recognize the unique skillsets of Sensitive Leaders by embracing them into society and harnessing / making practical use of their talents -- they were the visionaries that kept driving society transformatively forward.
This doesn't mean that Sensitive Leaders are all emotionally inclined -- there are two intuitive channels: Heart & Mind, and either (rarely both) can be more developed & pronounced in these Leaders, so think emotional types are natural leaders with built in EQ (ie the "oprahs") & conceptual types are geeky visionaries with advanced mental processing capabilities (ie the "elon musks").
For instance, I would fall into the spectrum of the geeky visionary / "musk-type", which does come with social peculiarities, where relational dynamics can seem like unsolvable equations that would make me anxious -- it was through this societal pressure that I donned "a mask" during social interactions. The past few years of deep transformative work allowed me to understand my true nature & interpret my gifts, such that I have gained clarity around how to employ my true nature with authenticity and optimal power.
The key is balancing the employment of all individual strengths and honoring unique sensitive skills (not suppressing them) while also focusing on logical / thinking orientations.
By consciously appreciating & incorporating emotional / extrasensory talents, optimal performance & outstanding results in our organizations are possible. Likewise, assembling a leadership team that hones & aligns all skillsets, cultivates a sustainable & productive ecosystem.
How can you create space in your business for emotions & sensitivity to thrive?
Is your business or organization inadvertently losing valuable talent either by disregarding that unique skillset, employing it improperly ("burnout") or disincentivizing it thru your culture?
Are your organization's leaders misunderstood & mislabeled if they're sensitive?
Is your team lacking intimacy?
Is your organization's ecosystem devoid of human elements?