If you’ve ever felt that being a highly sensitive person or an empath puts you at a disadvantage in the workplace, you aren’t alone. Extroverts are traditionally more acknowledged in corporate settings and introverts can often be overlooked or underestimated. But being an empath is an opportunity to stand out by leveraging your gifts and intuition.
In the past, extroverts have been promoted because they were the most vocal and visible, but more companies are realizing that there needs to be a mix of introverts and extroverts in leadership and in team collaboration. Below are three steps for harnessing your power as an introvert in the workplace so you can achieve higher levels of acknowledgment and success.
Just because an HSP isn’t outspoken doesn’t mean we don’t have important things to say. It’s easy for sensitives to be underestimated, but there are a lot of other ways to own your value than by talking. Owning your value in the workplace comes from knowing your self-worth and having confidence. Even if you are shy, there are other ways to demonstrate your value and achievements. You have the ability to be a leader even if your style is different from those around you. Visibility can come in the form of building strong relationships on the down low, documenting wins and keeping a work journal to jot down problem moments and successes ( this is an amazing tool especially when it comes to yearly reviews) and by showing up as your caring self through gifts or little moments when you extend a hand to another colleague. You are definitely visible when you let more of yourself shine through these different methods.
If you need more time to process information or if you don’t like to speak out during meetings, make a point to meet with your boss one on one or share talking points and notes with your coworkers. As a sensitive, you likely have a better understanding of the needs and emotions of those around you and that can be an advantage for developing relationships and helping others achieve their goals. If your boss doesn’t see the value you provide right away then your coworkers will be the ones who will and can vouch for you. It is still important that you communicate with your boss, sometimes they may be too busy to truly pay attention, but your forte is during intimate conversations so try going one-on-one with the people in your corporate environment who matter.
Share your wins
Be sure to document your achievements and progress. Create reports about your work so that your superiors can see the value you bring (example, that journal thing I mentioned earlier as well as weekly status reports). The more you can do to make your work visible, it’s less likely that you will feel overlooked. It’s important to share the little wins in addition to the bigger ones and to have them charted out so others can understand – even better
Socialize on your own terms
There can be a lot of pressure to socialize with coworkers in and outside the office. And it’s no secret that those who fit in with the company’s culture have a better chance of climbing the corporate ladder. Don’t feel the pressure to socialize with coworkers to just play the corporate game. Instead, develop relationships with a few key people who you respect and want to get to know more. When it comes to building relationships think quality, not quantity. Then the dread of having to go out for corporate happy hours won’t be as dreadful when you have some key people who you genuinely appreciate going as well.
When working with new people or different departments it’s important to establish expectations and preferred methods of communicating. Set deadlines and don’t let projects lag because of lack of communication. Initiate those expectations and timelines and set deadlines to show that you take the work seriously. If you ask how others would like to communicate from the start and state your own preferences, you can ensure a smoother working relationship. For example, people might come up to me with a question and if it’s not something I can answer immediately I ask them to email me. Some people like texting to remind them of things, others prefer phone calls. Just ask and also set your parameters.
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