Embracing sensitivity and vulnerability at work could improve your performance

Have you ever tried not to cry at work?

Embracing sensitivity and vulnerability at work could improve your performance
Source: Pexels/Anna Tarazevich

Stress at work is unavoidable – but did you know Hong Kong’s employees are the most stressed in East Asia? According to the State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report, Hong Kong has the highest stress index compared to other countries. China and Japan are next on the list.

Have you ever tried not to cry at work? Everyone has a different trigger point in the workplace. Some might break down from stress, while others will tough it up and swallow it. Even though about 30% of men and women score high for being sensitive, society still sees crying at work as unprofessional and a sign of weakness. Surely, it doesn’t feel good being told, “You’re too sensitive.” But, the truth is sensitive people tend to be high performers at work because being sensitive gives you the gift to flourish in innovation and leadership.

For example, sensitive people excel at deep thinking, an understanding of emotions, higher empathy and attention to detail. Another survey shows 87% of gifted individuals score very high for sensitivity. So, if you are a sensitive person– own it and use it to thrive in the workplace.

Key comments:

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change,” said Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston. “If you’ve created a work culture where vulnerability isn’t okay, you’ve also created a culture where innovation and creativity aren’t okay.”

“Stress is a normal human emotion, but most people view stress and anxiety as feelings to fear,” said Dr. Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist at New York University. “What I like to remind people is that to be the best version of yourself, at work or in relationships, you need that little bit of fire in your belly to energize you to be proactive and put forth your best effort.”

“You really have to look at the relationship with the job, and that means looking at both the job and the person. It’s not like one or the other,” said Christina Maslach, a social psychologist, retired professor of psychology at U.C. Berkeley and author of “The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs,” in relation to pinpointing where burnout at work comes from.