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Empathy at Work: Activate Compassionate Relationships

Launch a search for “empathy at work” these days, and you’ll uncover oodles of how-to’s, how-not-to’s, and who ain’t-got-it’s. From complex brain science to the depths of Buddhist theory, writers postulate about what it means to empathize.

Unique among the lot, you’ll find my integral Five Archetypes (5A) perspective. The 5A reveals a differentiated, simple framework for making empathy the foundational value behind the choices you make.

The 5A method for high conscious interactions guides us through the three steps of effective empathy:

  • Understand from your heart what someone else is experiencing,
  • Know what they need to return to their strongest selves and share that need with them,
  • Regulate out of your fixed-mind perspective of what that person needs.

Follow these steps in your interactions, and you will create a seismic shift in your own well-being, in your relationships, and in the effectiveness of your initiatives with others.

We’re going to expand on step number two and take a look at people’s differentiated needs. According to the 5A, we have five forces of growth in our character that, when in balance, help us thrive no matter the circumstances. When the archetypes within us are out of balance, seeing past our limited, stressed thoughts becomes nearly impossible. In such an imbalanced state, we perpetuate pain for ourselves and those around us. To recover from this pain, we begin by reestablishing that our core needs for safety are met.

Each of us has one archetype that is more prominent within our character than the other four. This is our primary archetype. While our primary reveals a cascade of our most outstanding gifts, it also illuminates where we need to take the most care, where we are most at risk for not paying attention, or over and under-valuing certain traits in ourselves and others.

Our primary helps us identify what we need to feel safe and secure. You’ll see an exhaustive list of these needs in my book, The Five Archetypes. I’m sharing a partial list here for those of you who want to start putting empathy into action in your own life and in your relationships.

First, take the 5A assessment using this link ( and identify your primary. Then, look at the core needs for safety in the list below that corresponds to your primary archetype. Share this link and list with your friends. Learn each other’s needs and practice fulfilling those needs to foster the conditions for healthy relationships.

You’re welcome. Now you can spend your time doing things other than searching for how to be empathetic on the interwebs.


  • Acceptance
  • Encouragement
  • Eye contact
  • Fun
  • Intimacy
  • Joy
  • Optimism
  • Relaxation
  • Smiles
  • Touch


  • Conversation
  • Empathy
  • Generosity
  • Inclusion
  • Involvement
  • Relationships
  • Sharing
  • Significance
  • Social networks
  • Teamwork


  • Accuracy
  • Admiration
  • Breathing room
  • Clarity
  • Consistency
  • Order
  • Refinement
  • Respect
  • Routine
  • Systems


  • Alone time
  • Autonomy
  • Composure
  • Fantasy
  • Imagination
  • Insight
  • Meaning
  • Patience
  • Peace
  • Self-sufficiency


  • Adventure
  • Challenge
  • Confidence
  • Direction
  • Initiative
  • Leverage
  • Movement
  • Plan
  • Progress
  • Speed