According to clinical psychologist Perpetua Neo, DClinPsy, there’s a reason why people who are dubbed “natural leaders” might have a tendency toward insensitivity.
“Some natural leaders have a single-minded focus on goals and on the big picture, so that comes with sacrifices on the things they have to give up in their life,” she explains to mbg, adding that it’s not a matter of being narrow-minded, but rather reaching goals at all cost.
They may be personally willing to give up a lot and push themselves through fear with the help of their own adrenaline, she says–and so they wind up having a hard time understanding why others can’t “buck up,” too.
“This kind of determination and tenacity has become a well-practiced muscle, so in terms of neuroscience, it’s like a very well-practiced groove in your head, and it’s hard to see that others may have different needs in terms of sensitivity, of psychological safety–and it becomes easier to just dismiss what’s unknown or what’s different,” she says.
She adds that lack of sensitivity to others may stem from lack of connection to one’s own senses: “You are completely disconnected from what’s going on inside you and the parameters that life is showing you–your body’s showing you–so of course you don’t understand what sensitivity is.”