Gifted People in the Workspace
“Gifted people can see things differently and can solve problems without telling others how they got it solved.” — Dianne A. Allen
Was there a time in your life where you felt like you're different from everyone else? Vice versa, have you met many gifted people along the way, and you never truly understood them? Gifted people in the workplace can be judged and misunderstood by others. If this is something that resonates with you, keep reading because this episode will help you understand how to deal with gifted people or how you can know yourself more as a gifted person.
Part One of ‘Gifted People in the Workspace’
I've worked in the healthcare industry and different venues for much of my career, and I had a client who does a very specialized medical procedure. As a gifted mentor, I’ve learned that his sense of priority and his sense of focus is simply different than other people. Transitions are hard for gifted people to go from working intensely on a medical procedure and then relaxing in the staff room. He took his job very seriously, and he didn't have time for other things.
Does that make him anti-social or wrong? Well, they missed the fact that not everybody processes the world the same way, and not everybody does it the same. For example, the other day, somebody said to me, "I love your voice, Diane. I love listening to your meditations and hearing you speak."
I laughed and said, "Thank you for being in here." It flows easily because being gifted can be a real challenge when you're around other people, mostly because of the social skills that make it a little bit awkward or different.
But it’s also important to realize that this isn’t about being right or wrong. It's about cultivating a culture where we embrace our differences and appreciate the diversity around us.
“Work with somebody who knows about giftedness to expand and see where your rightful place is.” – Dianne A. Allen
Notice that if you're supervising somebody who's really smart and talented, you promote them to be a director, you're engaging with them in a social situation or a corporate world like a hospital or a big company, you will see that sometimes there's some awkwardness there, or sometimes we have to play through what we're going to do and how we're going to do it because most of us don't fit in very easily to some of the social situations.
Part Two of ‘Gifted People in the Workspace’
When we try to look at somebody else and compare them to our experience, that's not as accurate as it could be. I've worked in many places as a director where I didn’t feel understood by people there. They knew how good I was, but I’ve experienced a lot of judgment by those people under my supervision because they simply didn’t understand that I function differently.
Gifted people can be very hyper-focused. I remember walking down the hall from my office to another setting. I was completely focused on delivering the highest care to my clients. Let’s say you’re somebody on the outside who would come in and start talking; then I wouldn't hear you. Or I might have a smile on my face because I'm thinking, and you could misinterpret that is being angry when I'm not angry at all.
Here’s the crazy thing: I've had people say, "You're mad at me." I'm like, "What? I'm not mad at you. Are you kidding me? That's crazy." It's super easy to get misinterpreted. So, a healthy alternative would be to use the person's name and get their full attention before you start speaking to them. Because when somebody talks to me using my name, they get my attention. Thus, I will now be directly devoted to my intention on what's happening, what you're trying to say to me, and you will see that I'm not angry.
“Instead of looking at people in the workspace as a problem, let's look at their assets.” – Dianne A. Allen
Another thing about gifted people is that it's harder to socially engage when you're introverted, and you're not sure how to do it. It's more difficult when you see things differently than other people. Sometimes, the words are elusive to even how to communicate it.
Therefore, let's have some compassion for each other, and as gifted people, let's have some compassion for the people who don't get us. Let's try to use the language that everybody can come together to serve the greater good in whatever it is we're doing, whatever our company is, whatever our work is, whatever our lives are, so gifted people in the workspace can be a challenge, and it's also a great asset. It's time that we create a culture that encourages people to embrace their giftedness without feeling guilty.
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