8 Highly Sensitive Person Traits that Can Help You in the Workplace

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on August 16, 2022

As you may already have learned, highly sensitive people (HSPs) can experience some difficult moments in workplace environments.

This is a direct result of your highly sensitive person traits. Noisy, crowded, and busy workspaces can overstimulate your senses, leaving you anxious and distracted. Too much conversation with co-workers has you craving solitude and feeling desperate to escape, to find a quiet space where you can relax and recharge. Rapidly approaching deadlines can ratchet your stress up to the point where it seems unbearable. 

But while your highly sensitive person traits can be problematic in the workplace, it’s your HSP personality that will give you the winning edge overall. HSPs possess a unique collection of characteristics that can make them high achievers in their careers, even if their road to the top proves to be a bit bumpy from time to time.

Here are eight highly sensitive person traits that can help you find success and acceptance in the workplace:

#1 You genuinely care about your co-workers

Most HSPs are introverts, and that can sometimes make it harder for them to form deeper relationships with co-workers. But when non-HSP co-workers do form partnerships or associations with highly sensitive persons, or better yet create actual friendships with HSPs they meet on the job, they are generally delighted to discover how kind, caring, and giving their new friends really are.

As a highly sensitive person, you have a lot of empathy and compassion. You take pleasure from the successes of your co-workers just as you experience disappointment or sorrow at their struggles or failures. Consequently, you’re always willing to do whatever you can to help them achieve their goals, solve their problems, or break through imaginary barriers that have prevented them from reaching their potential.

Those who discover your charitable and caring nature will praise and admire you for it. Their good opinions can help boost your status in the workplace by letting everyone know you’re a loyal and dependable team player.

#2 You have a detail-oriented nature

As a highly sensitive person, you’ve been blessed with a sensitivity to your environment that most other people cannot match. This will make you a detail-oriented person who has the capacity to notice small anomalies and detect subtle patterns that others might miss.

Despite having an active inner life, you’re still in tune with your surroundings and the objects and people that occupy them. In the workplace, this is among the most useful of all highly sensitive person traits since it will positively impact your daily work performance and help improve your relationships with your supervisors and co-workers.

Relying on your sharply-honed senses and impressive instincts, you’ll spot the tiniest of mistakes, misprints, and miscalculations. You’ll often be the first to notice and the first to call for corrections, preventing the error from causing mischief in the office, on the production floor, in the store, or on your company’s website. You’ll also notice when co-workers are feeling out of sorts, out of sync, or out of the loop, and with your sensitivity, empathy, and diplomatic skills you’ll know just what to say or do to lift their spirits.

#3 You’re a big-picture thinker

You can stay focused on the task at hand and complete your assignments on time. Nevertheless, like any good HSP, you’re always thinking about the bigger picture, which means you’re constantly seeking ways to improve your personal performance and that of the company.

During brainstorming sessions or strategy meetings, you’ll intrigue your colleagues with a multitude of suggestions about how your company’s or organization’s practices and procedures can be streamlined or restructured to dramatically increase efficiency and/or profitability. You’ll frequently come up with fascinating ideas about how the goods and/or services your company produces can be diversified, customized, reimagined, reinvented, or more effectively marketed.

Your inventiveness and ingenuity will always shine through, as you look to the future and encourage others to do the same. Your vision will inspire others to think big just the way you do, and you’ll leave a lasting imprint on your company in the process.

#4 You prize harmony and will work tirelessly to preserve or restore it

Like all HSPs, you dislike conflict intensely and will do everything in your power to prevent arguments from breaking out or tensions from worsening once they develop.

When people become aware you possess this characteristic among your list of highly sensitive person traits, they will begin to seek out your services as a mediator and a peacemaker. In truth even the most contentious people would generally prefer to work in a harmonious environment most of the time, which means your efforts to promote workplace harmony will be appreciated by all.

It is true, there are times when attempts to suppress or defuse arguments, disagreements, or tensions can be counterproductive. In some instances issues or conflicts should be brought out into the open so they can be resolved. But you’re smart enough and aware enough to know the difference between constructive conflict and divisive disagreement, and as a result you’ll only step in when it’s appropriate.

#5 You take pride in being professional

If you ask anyone what characteristics they prize in an employee or co-worker, most people will mention the same few traits. They will talk about how the most desirable employees always show up for work on time, don’t fall behind on their assignments, are prepared to handle any contingency, are always willing to help co-workers who need an assist, stay up-to-date about the latest developments in the industry, don’t try to get ahead at the expense of others, and never take their personal problems with them into the workplace.

If all of these characteristics were grouped together under the same label, they would be identified as signs of professionalism. People love to work with those who carry themselves like dignified professionals, which is exactly what HSPs do virtually all the time.

If you’re the typical HSP, you’re diligent, thorough, focused, and committed to performing your duties to the best of your ability, day in and day out. These are the highly sensitive person traits that prove to others that you’re a true professional.

#6 You’re extremely self-aware 

Being self-aware means you have an accurate sense of who you are, what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. Your self-awareness will help you understand how you’re perceived by the world, since you won’t have any illusions about the image you’re presenting to others.

Having self-awareness means you’ll never speak without thinking carefully about what you’re going to say first. When you do share, you’ll try to add something new to the discussion, some type of fresh insight that has emerged from your reflections on your past contributions. In leadership or managerial roles you’ll be acutely aware of how others are responding to your leadership style, and you’ll alter your approach promptly if you’re sensing a lot of negative vibes.

Your self-awareness puts you in command of your own destiny. You can make meaningful changes in your behavior, attitude, and communication style to make a more favorable impression on your companions or improve your job performance. Your efforts to fit in better will be noticed by managers and co-workers, who will see you as someone focused on self-improvement and unwilling to settle for mediocrity.

#7 You’re responsible to a fault

As a highly sensitive person, you feel a sense of responsibility for everything that is going on around you. This can be a burden and leave you feeling overwhelmed at times.

It can be time-consuming and emotionally and psychologically demanding to be a responsible person. That is because others often aren’t, at least not to the extent that you and other HSPs are. You frequently end up carrying a heavier load because you aren’t willing to let the inaction, inattentiveness, and irresponsibility of the less responsible put your company’s reputation for excellence at risk.

The tendency to take responsibility for everything is a trait you should definitely try to control, since it can leave you feeling stressed and exhausted if you take it too far. Nevertheless, your unshakeable sense of responsibility will serve you well for the most part as you advance in your career. It will make you indispensable to your company’s or organization’s success and boost your chances of enjoying regular pay raises and promotions.

#8 Your have an insatiable need to learn and grow

If you’re a normal HSP, you’re extremely reluctant to let opportunities for learning and personal or professional growth pass you by. When you see chances to develop your skills, increase your knowledge, or improve your chances for advancement in the workplace, you will take full advantage of what you’re being offered.

You’re the type who will sign up for continuing education courses, read books or attend seminars that relate to your career, or seek advice from experts in your field at conferences or meetings. You’re motivated to keep working hard and to keep getting better at what you do, and you’ll stay patient and keep striving for as long as is necessary to reach your highest goals.

Your determination to learn and grow will be incredibly beneficial to you in the workplace. Because you aren’t the type to toot your own horn, your dedication to personal and professional development may not get noticed at first, maybe not for the first couple of years. But eventually your employer and your co-workers will realize what you’re all about, and when they do, they’ll see you as irreplaceable.

Nathan Falde

Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.

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About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.

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