From the author:
A conversation about high sensitivity and leadership
Highly sensitive executives, is there any? Yes, sure! And there is even one who has gone in search of them and found them. And not only that. Daniel Panetta, owner of the "ConsultundTrainingUnit", has written a master's thesis entitled "High Sensory Processing Sensitivity and Leadership" and has a degree in Business Psychology, Leadership and Management dedicated to highly sensitive executives. The result of our discussions I have for Best of HR – Berufebilder.de® summarized.
Kathrin Sohst: Daniel, you have leadership experience yourself, are an expert on leadership and change and have dealt intensively with highly sensitive executives. Before we talk about the highly sensitive aspects of leadership, I'm interested in what "good leadership" means in your understanding.
Daniel Panetta: I do not think there is anything like "good leadership". For what is that anyway? I would like to speak of ideal and then at least we need the context. Because leadership must be situational and authentic, which means to me that the thoughts inside and the action in the outside agree. And one more thing is absolutely necessary: A good leader sees their employees as human beings. This includes accepting people as they are - with their whole background. Leadership is not only related to the tasks, but means to take responsibility in the human and social sphere. A good leader can vary depending on the situation. In military or time-critical large-scale projects, it can make sense if someone leads a rough and dominant position; in pedagogy or in a change context, completely different leadership qualities are required. Being able to lead a person who has a wide range of skills in order to be able to act flexibly or respond to situations is a good way to lead.
"Highly sensitive leadership personalities have the ability to foresee certain things"
Kathrin Sohst: Way from the general, to the special. Let's talk about high-minded leadership personalities. What is typical of highly sensitive people who do a leadership job?
Daniel Panetta: There is a spectrum - the "theory of mind" - on the scale of which the highly sensitive people romp about in the high values and the autistic ones in the lower values. While autistic people act and speak more rationally and object-oriented, highly sensitive people orientate themselves on the subject, that is to say, on the human being, and have - in my assumption - a rather emotional language. Highly sensitive people have a more emotionalized language and orientate themselves on the subject, that is, on the human being. Many of them prefer assignments with advisory or teaching interests because they need an activity that they can reconcile with their values. They focus on relationship work and understand leadership as a task that involves accompanying people. The leadership style of highly sensitive people can be described as cooperative, cooperative as well as demanding and demanding. Highly sensitive leaders have the ability to anticipate certain things - such as moods or reactions from their employees or customers. They have a good sense for situations and know when they can easily defuse them by not going into confrontation and once again boil down the emotions on all sides.
Impressive, I find that they are very reflective and also ask themselves whether their behavior was adequate. Highly sensitive executives scan permanently in the background. The more critical the interpersonal situation becomes - for example, a critical employee discussion - the more challenging it becomes for highly sensible management personalities. Critical situations always work physically because of their high sensitivity. Highly sensitive people take moods, conflicts and co. Also was consciously physical. This can be a strength in certain situations, but also become a challenge. Because as soon as a highly sensitive person perceives that the mood can tilt and a danger for the HSP leadership emerges, the highly sensible executive takes the situation out of the situation. After that, it takes a lot of planning work to go back into the topic and clarify the problem.
Kathrin Sohst: How would you summarize your insights about high-minded executives?
Daniel Panetta: Highly sensitive executives act out of an active position and sometimes from an avoiding. Thus, a highly sensitive leader is somewhat more extreme as far as his moods are concerned. And this can have a positive or negative impact. The highly sensitive executives I interviewed for my master's thesis wanted to radiate more dominance and harder to get through. In situations where dominance and penetration are required, high-sensitivity executives often encounter a conflict with their own value system and a physical over-excitation. In one case, however, highly sensitive leaders react quickly and strongly - namely, when it becomes unjust. Bullying and other human misconduct will not be tolerated. And then, high-minded executives go straight to court with the misbehavior.
Create and use free spaces
Kathrin Sohst: What can you recommend to highly sensitive leaders?
Daniel Panetta: I have three aspects. On the one hand, I would like to draw attention to the fact that, in the sense of diversity, all people have different challenges and requirements and develop individual survival strategies. One of them is the highly sensitive temperament - a natural way of playing nature. Another aspect is to stimulate thought: I noticed that some of my interviewees had dealt with the phenomenon for years and used the related vocabulary. Language influences us. And if certain features stand for high sensitivity, then it can also lead to adaptation, definition and possibly limitation. And the last message includes very practical tips. For example, high-sensibility can go into nature to find peace and inner peace. You can avoid large-scale bourgeoisie, look at what working hours lie to them. The trend is not only socially but also in the profession of individualization. Of these new freerooms can be enjoyed by highly sensitive people and also highly sensitive leaders.
Kathrin Sohst: In our society, sensitivity is currently not seen as a strong characteristic. The impression may be correspondingly increased, if someone speaks of highly sensible people. What do you think about it?
Daniel Panetta: When we look at the ideal composition of a group, it makes sense if the individual members have different abilities so that the group as a whole can survive. For example, one who is particularly intelligent, one who is constantly moving, is an adaptive and a sensitive person who perceives changes and dangers early. It is important that they find a common way to communicate constructively. I believe that by the various psychological illnesses and the standardized requirements to humans, we are much too limited and prevent teams from becoming really strong. Diversity is everywhere. The biggest mistake we can make is to give Prussian all the same tasks. I've always been against this.
I have to see what people bring with them instead of grinding them like a rock. Otherwise, I can wash what God has given them right away in the bathroom ... And that's what happens too often. What if we start looking at previously undiscovered capabilities as intangible assets. It is to despair, how high the damage in Company is because people are often misused. High absenteeism results and hardly anyone can show their potential correctly. I think it would be fantastic if we started using people in ways that would allow us to bring in their evolutionary psychological skills to solve specific problems and begin to create the right environment ...
Kathrin Sohst: Thank you for your time and the interesting insights into your insights and approaches regarding leadership.
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