Authentic Power: A Solution to Workplace Stress for HSPs

Do you feel stressed because you have too much work to do? You’re not alone. Several of my high achieving highly sensitive clients have complained about stress due to work demands — especially during the Holidays. Exhaustion compromises their immune systems. Insomnia visits too frequently. Burnout hovers over the horizon like smog on a hot summer day in Atlanta.

My HSP clients haven’t told their bosses about their distress. Unknowingly, they support their supervisors to act in ways that hurt them.

Why don’t my clients tell their bosses about their distress? What makes them hesitate?

They feel intimidated, or they feel overly-responsible. Or, they don’t feel like they have a choice.

Their supervisors are driven, goal-oriented people. They rarely give positive feedback or affirmations. They dictate tasks and expect them to be done on time. They don’t address people’s feelings. One boss cracks the whip with a loud voice to make people comply.

My HSP clients are high-performers. Admitting personal limits feels like a weakness … like they are inferior. They don’t want to seem disrespectful. Some are afraid of losing their jobs if they assert themselves. Some assume that they cannot land another job that will pay as well. Their sense of loyalty encourages them to stay. Change involves risk. They are not ready for the risk yet. 

Contemplate these questions: 

Do you think the loudest leader in the room is using authentic power? 

Do you think authentic power occurs when people pull rank because of their seniority? 

People who lead by intimidation suffer from low self-esteem. Domination attempts to cover up underlying insecurity. They masquerade as powerful people, but wise people know that is not authentic power.

So, what does authentic power look like?

When leaders display authentic power, they engage in 12 behaviors.  

  1. They seek higher wisdom. 
  2. They are people-oriented and task-oriented.
  3. They listen, wanting to truly understand. 
  4. They practice compassion and empathy.
  5. They lead with integrity and mutual respect.
  6. They facilitate win-win solutions for the company, team members, and customers. 
  7. They advocate for team members’ well-being. They don’t let people burn out.
  8. They know each team member’s values.
  9. They encourage team members to achieve their full potential. 
  10. They support people to work jobs that allow them to use their strengths and flourish.
  11. They help people work as a team while optimizing each member’s expertise.
  12. They confront problems and people in a healthy respectful way. 


Authentic Leaders … 

1.         tell the truth. 

2.         do not play political games. 

3.         are not overbearing. 

4.         are not manipulative. 


If you don’t work with a boss who demonstrates authentic power, there are a few steps you can take. 


If you want to change your outer world, 

you must first change your inner world.

There can be no victims except by 

conscious or unconscious participation.


How can highly sensitive introverts manage workplace stress?

First, develop authentic power within yourself. This is essential for highly sensitive introverts.

Take responsibility for co-creating your working conditions. If you don’t advocate for yourself, it’s unlikely that anything will change. I know it’s challenging for HSPS. I’ve been there myself.

Take a look under the hood. Journal the following:

•           Examine your belief systems that stop you from taking care of yourself.

•           What motivates you to want to please people at the expense of your health and well-being? 

•           What core decisions did you make as a child that resulted in you becoming a high achiever? What is underlying emotional pain?

•           When did you begin to ignore your own needs and focus on pleasing others?

•           What did you hope to gain by being a high-achiever as a child?

•           What childhood pain unconsciously drives you to work without taking adequate breaks?  

•           What would it take to develop a loving relationship with your body?

•           What help do you need to advocate for yourself?

If you want help answering these questions, I’m happy to help.

With the assistance of a psychotherapist, life coach, and spiritual counselor you can discover the root of your unconscious patterns. Most likely you’ll find that unmet childhood needs and coping behaviors still influence your adult decisions. As you heal your childhood wounds, you’ll find the courage to advocate for yourself. You’ll gain insight and wisdom to empower yourself. You’ll learn how to create a life that is truly fulfilling. You’ll naturally find yourself making decisions for better self-care.


Authentic power grounded in

heart-centered wisdom

is impossible to ignore. 



If you would like improve your HSP ability to be the conscious creative force in your life, join us for the virtual Conscious Creating Class on New Year’s Day. 

You also might want to ask for individual sessions to ensure you proceed in the direction of your dreams instead of faltering. Getting expert help saves you precious time that you’ll never recover.


About the Author: Benita A. Esposito, MA.

My favorite topics include authentic power for highly sensitive people, personal mastery, self-actualization, conflict resolution, team building, communication skills, stress management, and emotional intelligence. When not working, you’ll find me sprucing up my flower gardens, playing with my cat, Bucky, or hiking through the forest to a waterfall.

Contact me, Benita A. Esposito, for online classes, groups therapy, life coaching, spiritual counseling and intensive retreats. 

Banner photo credit: dreamstime

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