If effective communication at work is the ‘it’, you may well ask this question.
Dr Gary Chapman wrote a book called ‘The 5 Love Languages’ some years ago. He identified 5 ways people communicate appreciation to each other in their relationships. In no particular order, they are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Quality Time
- Touch, and
I learnt about it in relation to marriage years ago, but recently, I’ve been wondering if it could help improve communication and reduce misunderstandings at and around work.
Through researching a little, I’ve discovered that it has been taken into the workplace, as “Appreciation at Work” with Dr Paul White as a co-author – great minds clearly think alike! I hope you’ll consider engaging and reflecting on how this might help you in building your business.
If you want to complete a free questionnaire to find out what your love languages are and reflect on how this may affect your interactions with others, I suggest clicking here and choosing the ‘single’ questionnaire. I don’t believe there is a free version for the business application at the moment. Feel free to share it with those in your network. It can lead to a great conversation and follow in greater communication. Remember – all 5 will matter to you to a greater or lesser degree.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
Is it important for you to feel affirmed in words?
These can be either spoken or written. You may prefer for this to be discreet, in a private message if written, or in front of others, such as a team meeting, if oral. If this is important to you, it may be that you do this too and for others.
But do you know what their preferences are? If it doesn’t matter to the other person, firstly they won’t appreciate your efforts as much as you do and secondly, they are unlikely to show you appreciation in words to the extent that you’d appreciate. Can you see how this could lead to friction or misunderstanding, while the opposite could lead to harmony and rapport?
What is your priority and preference when it comes to Words of Affirmation?
ACTS OF SERVICE
Acts of Service are hugely important to notice as it’s behind the scenes.
It can be easily overlooked. While ‘Gifts’ might be buying a colleague a cup of coffee, ‘Acts of Service’ is making and delivering it before carrying on with your day. During lockdown requirements of working from home, it might be setting up a green screen for a partner so they can have a better online meeting experience. This is something my technology-loving husband did for me as Acts of Service is his primary love language.
Doing things and tasks for someone you work with who has this as a primary ‘love language’ will speak volumes to them, especially if it’s not your primary language.
May I share a personal anecdote to illustrate this? In our early marriage, Andrew would randomly deliver cups of tea to me when he was making for himself, which was often. I’m a cup-of-tea-a-day-girl and it mildly irritated me to drink tea I didn’t really want but felt obliged to drink. After doing the questionnaire, he saved lots of time and brought me joy by offering me a cup of tea, to which I mostly said ‘no’, but felt affirmed and appreciated that he was thinking of me! Conversely, he is delighted if I make him a hot drink and I don’t even have to ask.
How does this resonate with you at work or working from home?
Quality time is about focused attention.
It’s about being present with the people we care about – without other distractions, which is more of a challenge with our screen-centred lives today.
In the workplace, it’s not just about focused attention but about collaboration – doing things together. It’s important to block out time in the diary for this, whether it’s having 121’s with staff or managers and ensuring that screens. notifications and phones are off to counter interruptions. If Quality Time matters to you, feeling and being prioritised will mean a great deal.
What has that looked like for you as you’ve worked from home and does anything need to be reaffirmed going forward? What conversations might you need to have with people at home or work?
Quality Time is my number one Love Language and it includes maintaining a date night – movie, Scrabble, Backgammon, a walk or drive – with no distractions. Or dinner around the table with the family and no phones! At work, this looks like the examples I’ve given above.
What if touch is important to you? What would that look like at work?
In the current pandemic where lockdown and social distancing are required, I’m conscious that many are suffering as touch is not an option for many because they’re living alone. The first public question aired from the Downing Street briefings in the UK was, “’When can I hug my grandchildren again?’ This surely reflects its importance.
I’m also conscious that for too long, (mostly) women suffered unsolicited physical touch in the workplace.
A person who loves touch as a sign of appreciation at work may like a high five, a slap on the back, a handshake or a hug. This carries into networking. It’s important to know what the person appreciates, more than any other love language, as unsolicited touch can have unfortunate or disastrous results.
My experience is that it’s best to watch or allow others to initiate touch. I find that it’s more often rated in the top two Love Languages of men and often in the bottom two of women.
An office pet may be a great way to ensure everyone gets their touch needs met!
What are your thoughts?
This article has been looking at how you can effectively communicate using the 5 Love Languages in the workplace; we’re ending with Gifts.
Gifts are more about knowing who the person is than about the money spent.
While other love languages may be about watching what people do, this one is more about getting to know who they are and what they like. The right gift can be big or small, but always personal and insightful. So, it’s more about time and thought, not the price tag.
How do you select corporate gifts for your clients? What corporate gift would you appreciate most with BESPOKEN corporate branding?
EQUALITY VS EQUITY
Now that you’ve been reading about the love languages, in light of showing appreciation at work, will you continue to treat everyone the same, known as equality, or will you find out their love language and appreciate them in a way that shows you care who they really are, which is equity?