According to research, 20% of us are “highly-sensitive.” This seems high, but the majority of us (especially the men), won’t always want to advertise it. Actually, those people who are more sensitive than others can be a huge asset to any organization – they are astute influencers and are always the first to react to changes.
However, in order to get the best out of them, there are a number of things that the caring manager should bear in mind:
1. Modify your language
You can be sure that they will read into every word you say, so make sure that you are clear about your message. Take the time to explain the context behind your words so they cannot be misinterpreted and be as direct as possible.
Ambiguity might lead to them drawing all sorts of conclusions.
2. Ask them to set their emotions aside
No one can ignore their emotions, but it is sometimes necessary to point out that they can get in the way of making solid business decisions. By asking them to focus on the logical facts of the matter, they can actively manage their emotional response.
3. Talk about the consequences
The more that they understand the various possibilities; the more innovative they can be as they clearly see the ramifications of each choice.
A lack of information can make a sensitive person nervous, so share as much as you can with them.
4. Identify what causes them stress
If you can move them to a quieter area of the office, ask them if this would help. Give them time to reply in the clamour of a meeting. Ask them about how they prefer to work.
Every now and again, a day working at home can help to recharge their battery and bring the best out of them.
5. Take care with criticism
They will often be much more aware of their shortcomings than the rest of their colleagues. Often, you won’t need to explain a criticism to them. They will be perfectly aware of it already. Also, take criticism from them on the chin – given their attention to detail, they will often try to make constructive suggestions to improve a certain situation.
6. Be honest about your feelings
They will often be able to tell if you are hiding something, so best to be honest in what you say. If you are having a bad day, don’t say “I’m fine” – best to let them know what is going on, or they may wonder about the reasons why you obviously aren’t fine.
7. Don’t interrupt their focus
They focus best when they are in tune with their own thoughts, and can sometimes lose track if they are pulled from one project to another. Set expectations for timeframes on projects and give them the space and time to deliver the best possible result.
Getting the most out of the sensitive people in your team can make them the barometer of your business. Accept that they need to be handled in a slightly different way, and you will allow them to flourish.
Written by Lee Narraway and edited by Paul Drury.
If you would like to discuss this then please get in touch with me and leave your comments: