Each and every place of business all over the world is currently equipped with a largely unrecognised resource. 

More accurately, one in five of the people that work for you or around you were born with a genetic sensory intelligence. 

An intelligence that is now known to have been found in some of the greatest leaders history has ever seen and present in over 100 species of animals.

I am referring to a group of individuals with a unique set of skills. Skills that are mostly being hidden due to misinterpretation and a label that is causing them to hide.

A physiological difference in the central nervous system

Skills that afford heightened levels of intuition, vision, empathic abilities and creativity. 

People referred to as ‘royal advisors’ by the psychologist Dr Elaine Aron who identified the trait in the 1990’s. 

Known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity it is recognised as a physiological difference in the central nervous system resulting in an ability to process cognitive and sensory data more deeply.

When this trait is supported, encouraged and developed it leads to incredible advantages.

It is a high level of sensory intelligence currently being used as it was intended in the animal kingdom to support welfare and evolution. But not in us, not yet. 

For example when new territory is being observed, the high sensory animals are responsible for noticing subtle aspects in the environment. To make an encompassing assessment using their deeper cognitive processing to enhance sensory data. 

The trait may be used to identify bountiful feeding areas or to make the rest of the group aware of threats. It has been found that when a high sensory animal is reared by a particularly skilled mother they make exceptional leaders. 

When this sensory ability is used as it was intended in humans, the progress we make is enormous. 

Major shifts in the evolution of humankind towards good

The great leaders and change makers known to have had the trait include Martin Luthor King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Princess Diana and Thomas Edison to name a few. 

When you combine advanced empathic leadership skills with high sensory abilities, vision, the means to enrol the masses and take action, you get major shifts in the evolution of humankind towards good.

This trait is not simply a genetic anomaly, it is an intended part of nature for a very good reason.

The identity shift from the “highly sensitive” person into high sensory intelligence

So why is it that we are not actively making use of this resource? The potential benefits and applications in business are clear. Surely this should be a widely recognised element of any workforce. 

It is because at the moment this trait is misunderstood in the Western world. Sadly leading to half the people with the trait to be in depression as a result. Since it was identified 30 years ago the focus has mainly been on the challenges it comes with and how to survive it. 

It has also been labelled as a weakness due to a misperception of the self care and needs associated in order to thrive with the trait. As a result many people do not want to be associated with it.

Yet those who make the identity shift from the highly sensitive person into high sensory intelligence come to utilise these incredible skills. 

Having worked with the trait for many years in myself and others, the best way I can describe it as almost like a sensory field being continuously processed at a deep level. 

Typically a person with the trait has a unique ability associated with the sensory data. In other words his or her life path and experience is invariably linked to a particular area they are most passionate about. This area of focus is then complimented by a particular focus in the sensory field. 

It means there is another level of interaction happening inside the person in relation to the people and the environment around them. 

Due to the increased mirror neurons found with the trait it shows high levels of empathy, an ability to intuit particular information in a situation and the ability to understand how to respond. Hence the term “sensory intelligence”.

Manifesting as an increase in levels of empathic leadership

So how might this ability play out in the workplace? It will often show itself as an observation taking place among co workers. 

A common example is if there is unease. An ability to feel the emotions in others combines with an awareness of the bigger picture utilizing heightened intuition. This results in action to bring balance typically as a result of being able to articulate and acknowledge the unmet need that lead to the issue in the first place.   

When you combine heightened levels of intuition, visionary abilities, creativity and empathy, you have an advancement in the ability to inspire, guide and lead. 

Manifesting as an increase in levels of empathic leadership. An area  we are coming to understand to be more and more imperative in organisations. One that leads to a vast increase in productivity, staff retention and loyalty. 

One in five are naturally born for the role of consultant to high level management

When an employee feels part of a safe community that has their best interests at heart you get the best from that person. 

The social contract put in place from our earliest societies as human beings. One well described in the book ‘Leaders Eat Last’ by Simon Sinek.

When there is a culture of nurture, acknowledgement and empathy surrounding a workforce, the increase in productivity is unmistakable. People born with the trait of high sensory intelligence are not only experts in creating these types of environments, the feeling of being anywhere else is unbearable as it is experienced from an emotional point of view so vividly. 

Hence why so many become self employed. Which is no disadvantage as many become, highly effective consultants or ‘royal advisors.’  Yet within a company one in five are naturally born for the role of consultant to high level management. 

I believe there is a mounting responsibility to take action in two areas. Firstly to utilise this advantage that nature has given us for the workplace. 

Secondly to raise awareness within organisations across all industries that to successfully implement this resource the needs of the 20% must be taken into consideration. 

Simply an awareness that higher levels of self care are required to recover from sensory overload. An effect experienced from bright lighting, loud noise and extended periods of interaction. 

The good news is that we recover quickly with regular meditation, the opportunity to spend lunch in silence, or to take a walk in a nearby park. 

Without it our neurotransmitters tire to the point where a great percentage of our faculties are affected, so this personal down time is essential for productivity, engagement and fulfilment.

There is a need for the 80% to understand how they can support the people with the trait to monopolise on the advantages, just as it is naturally supported in the animal kingdom.

Both high sensory and non high sensory people are needed for evolution in every sense of the word, both as equally as important as each other. It is time to share and be aware of the needs of both.

What is it costing the workplace ecosystem by not integrating this natural, intended and innate component? In what ways are we tiring and misusing all the parts of our own work forces by ignoring this natural part of its makeup? An integration that could lead us to the very homeostasis we all seem to inherently long for in our places of work. One that is simply aligned with the way we were designed. 

By Willow McIntosh

Willow is the leader of the High Sensory Intelligence movement. He specialises in facilitating people with the trait to activate them into service in alignment with their gifts and purpose. He also provides training for business owners in the field of empathic leadership and the utilisation of High Sensory Intelligence within organisations.

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