Old school culture teaches us to toughen up, be impersonal and stay objective. All of these behaviors remain critical to business success provided we do not overlook the value of passion, deep analysis, empathy and unwillingness to fail. These are characteristics of sensitivity.
The team member who overanalyzes, scrutinizes intention, predicts behavior and takes it personally can be the team member who serves as a predictive bloodhound for business problems and who goes the extra mile to get results. Lack of sensitivity often leads to lack of creativity, mediocre effort and lack of foresight. Resilience is key to sustainability. The hypersensitive can be extraordinarily resilient. Coping with sensitivity requires enormous strength.
In the popular de Bono Six Hats Thinking model, four of our six problem solving hats require sensitivity, “gut” reaction and emotional posture. Understanding perspective of others is recognized as a key concept to negotiation, leadership, motivation, customer service, sales and comprehensive business communications. Your company’s performance feedback system needs to appropriately value these organizational toolsets.
The next time a member of your team misinterprets sensitivity as a business weakness, set them straight. Success is a longshot without it.