The 5 Love Languages at Work
By Nick Stewart
A lot of people are familiar with Gary Chapman’s 1995 book "The 5 Love Languages,” which espouses the idea that humans express and experience love in five different “love languages”: gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. In most cases, humans show preference toward one or two love languages in their experience of love. Therefore, in order to best enrich your relationship with a loved one, Chapman suggests expressing love in the ways that are most receptive.
Interestingly enough, Chapman has revamped his book to take a look at the same “Love Languages” in the workplace. Let’s take a look at each point in “The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.”
1) Gifts (Tangible Gifts)
In “Love Language,” what makes them feel most loved is to receive a gift. However, gifts that come only on special occasions like Valentine’s Day or birthdays can feel empty or forced. It is the times when a gift is not required that can make a person feel most valued and loved. Chapman believes it can work the same way in the workplace. Buying a gift that a new employee likes could be a good way to help them feel part of the team.
2) Quality Time
This one is important because a lot of people prefer the simple act of spending quality time with their loved one over anything else. Put the smart phone away, stay off the tablet, and give your loved one the simple gift of your undivided attention. At work, this means paying attention during meetings or participating in teambuilding activities after work.
3) Words of Affirmation
Some people need to hear it. Never neglect the opportunity to tell your loved one how much you actually love them. Do it even when you don’t want to, like after an argument. Chapman says that words, spoken or written, can be a great way to motivate or congratulate an employee. It’s also important to be perceptive to the type of communication someone prefers. Letters, emails, verbal recognition. Everyone is different.
4) Acts of Service
For these people, actions speak louder than words. Simple words of affirmation are not enough. They feel loved when someone realizes they have a need and act to fix that need. Clean the kitchen after dinner. Pump the gas when it’s cold outside. Take out the garbage or mow the lawn. At work, Chapman believes that helping a colleague complete a difficult task can be extremely encouraging. A helping hand goes a long way in any office.
5) Physical touch
Be careful with this one! Physical touch is a natural part of many personal relationships. At work…you’ve got to watch out! If you think about it though, physical touch in the form of a firm handshake, high five or fist bump can really make a difference in the workplace.
Whether it’s with your spouse or coworker, taking time to understand and use these “Love Languages” can greatly enhance the quality of our relationships as well as their fruits (both personal and professional).