[fmco soundbites] The org chart – Empathy

[26 June 2021] 26th day of the fmco* in Malaysia

The Dress (viral phenomenon).png

By Cecilia Bleasdale – Fair use, Link


Remember this dress. When it burst onto the internet, it poled the world into two. You are either in team white/gold or team blue/black**. It disrupted the way we understood colour and tints.

Regardless of which colours we see on the dress, we need to know that there are others who see it differently. Unlike the numbers 6 and 9, you can turn the image upside-down, look at it from different angles, the colours remain the same.

What is empathy?

This is what empathy is. Although related, empathy is not the same as sympathy. The latter is about feeling bad for someone else because of something bad that has happened to them. Empathy is an awareness of the emotional reactions of other people as they respond to a situation. It’s a key element in Emotional Intelligence because it deals with how we understand what others are experiencing. It does not necessary mean we agree with the other person; it’s just that we understand how they feel by using our imagination.

Empathy and effective leadership

Leaders should always hone their ability to recognize and understand feelings and emotions that are experienced by their team members. This is how they care for other people because it is motivated by a genuine desire to help others. It requires them to pay attention to the needs of others, to listen and consider the perspectives of his team. Consequently, our decisions and subsequent action will take into account these emotions.

“Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins.”
– North American Indian proverb


Daniel Goleman, an internationally known psychologist and author of the book Emotional Intelligence, identified five key elements of empathy.

  1. Understanding others
  2. Developing others
  3. Having a service orientation
  4. Leveraging diversity
  5. Political awareness

Empathy can be something that is intuitive but it can be a skill that you can develop.

(Read the other parts of this org chart series.)

*fmco stands for Full Movement Control Order.
** The original dress is blue and black in colour. There is a small group of people who can adjust and see both versions.


About the Author: Gina Phan is a consultant and trainer with Zinfinity Consulting. She currently conducts courses in workplace performance skills. Click here to contact her, follow her on Facebook or connect with her on Linkedin.

Read her other posts.


#leadership #servantleadership #empathy
#trainergina #ginaphan #gp

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