Ever felt like you just don’t fit in at work?
It isn’t that you don’t like your coworkers — you truly do! — but you’ve been noticing that you value different things from everyone else.
Your teammate wants to celebrate a specific accomplishment, but *you* want to acknowledge the teamwork and persistence that got them there. Your boss holds up a specific metric for success, and you know that there’s a much bigger picture of getting everyone on board and letting them use their strengths and gifts to contribute.
If you notice the people (and care about them even more than the shiny awards or achievements), you have an underappreciated professional superpower: your caring heart.
Most work environments undervalue heart-centered employees: they’ll often gloss over the process and the people who make work accomplishments possible, and can even make you feel like your sensitivity to specific individuals’ needs is slowing things down.
But you know the truth: your attention to others’ values is the glue that makes work…well, work!
Here are three ways you can bring more of your sensitivity and caring personality to your work to impress even the most metrics-driven boss:
1) You can create better customer experiences. One of the distinctions in the way that you think is that you understand that customer service isn’t just getting tactical help with something, it’s about how the interaction made you feel. Did the customer leave feeling heard and empowered, or did they feel rushed and unimportant? Tiny differences in how you treat people and using sensitivity to their needs can make huge ripple effects for how an organization can retain customers, get good press coverage, and creates its brand reputation. Thanks to the fact that your brain and heart notice things that others don’t, you’ll have a unique knack for roles that need someone to walk in another’s shoes, like user experience design, nursing, and teaching.
2) You can more effectively manage a team. When you lean into your sensitivity, you’re likely to be a better manager because you’ll be more attuned to different individuals’ unique needs. For example, an extraverted teammate might be fine with debating an idea in public, where an introverted colleague might be mortified. When you pay close attention to how others respond, you can better tailor their goals and developmental milestones to suit their personality and values. The saying goes that “People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers,” so this kind of personalized attention and care can make you the kind of manager who has huge team loyalty. Especially if you are working with anybody who is a highly sensitive person, your intuitive sense of individuals’ needs can help your team members (whether they’re coworkers, clients, students, patients, shareholders, or members of the media) truly thrive and enjoy their work more, too.
3) You can blow the competition away when attracting new clients. If you work in a role where you’re responsible for recruitment or business generation, you already know that the experience someone has of you and your brand can make or break a relationship. And in organizations where there’s a lot at stake (a 6-figure client contract, hiring an important new employee, or successfully closing a 4-year enrollment in your school), differentiating your brand is critical. That’s where you come in. When you allow your instinctive sense to lead you, you’re the person who can find ways to customize and personalize a pitch so that your prospective customer feels incredibly well taken care of. Since you’re a person who already loves to surprise and delight your friends, you’ll be an ace at thinking through ways to dazzle prospective new clients at every step of the relationship. The best part about this is that your sensitivity and thoughtfulness are your secret sauce: nobody else at your company is going to be able to do this the same way that you do, making you and your heart even more valuable and embedded into your organization.
Sometimes it can feel discouraging to be the odd duck out at work, focused on the people when everyone else seems focused on the outcomes. But your secret is that you know the outcomes only happen when the people are on board, and a happy, healthy workplace is WAY better than a stuffy, cutthroat one. Keep leaning into your inner gifting to create the kind of workplace culture and environment that you know will help you — and others — thrive.
Lisa Lewis is a career change coach and founder of the Career Clarity company. Don’t love your job? Check out GetCareerClarity.com or listen to The Career Clarity Show podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, and Google Play.