A person that feels appreciated, will do more than expected. This is the theme of Gary Chapman’s book “The 5 Language of Appreciation”. In it, he talks about how people have unique ways of feeling appreciated or loved and he breaks down those ways into 5 methods of showing others you care: words of affirmation, acts of service, giving gifts, quality time and physical touch. We sometimes take each person’s uniqueness for granted and start treating everyone the same. Being aware of how we give and receive appreciation can help us connect to other’s needs at a personal level, which can lead to more productive teams.
#1. Quality Time:
As I have been thinking about my own languages of appreciation, I realized that quality time is my number one way that I like to receive it. I enjoy grabbing lunch or coffee with colleagues. To me, it demonstrates they are willing to make the time to get to know me.
#2. Words of Affirmation:
This is my second favorite way of receiving affirmation. I love it, when a person affirms me with a “way to go” or even a thank you! Though they are simple words and phrases, they mean a lot to me. They make me feel as though what I did was beneficial. It wasn’t until a 10 year old, looked me in the face with a genuine look of sincerity and said “thank you” that I realized the true power of these words. I will never forget that memory.
#3. Acts of Service:
Contrary to how I feel appreciated, I am a person that likes to give appreciation through my ability to be helpful. If I see a problem or challenge and I am capable of helping, I do my best to be of service. My best friend is a single mom and sometimes when she is at work and I have down time, I will go to her house and work. I do this not only because it is a quiet environment, but because I know there is always laundry to be started, changed or folded. It is my way of showing someone that I care, I see a need and want to be helpful.
#4. Receiving Gifts:
This friend and I, are a lot like sisters. We laugh like sisters, sometimes cry like sisters but definitely at time disagree or fight like sisters. Sometimes, after helping around the house I simply want a thank you. To me, those two simple words go a really long way. When I have done a lot for her, I sometimes get frustrated when I don’t hear those words. I have come to realize that words of affirmation are not her language of appreciation. For her, she shows that she cares by giving gifts to others. She might buy me a dinner, drink or coffee. She might pay extra if something is expensive and I can’t afford it the same way she can. The important thing to remember is, that sometimes when we are frustrated because we feel like other people doesn’t care, we need to self evaluate and ask ourselves if their language of giving appreciation is the same way we want to receive it. When they don’t align, that can lead to a lot of friction.
#5. Physical Touch:
I can honestly say, that I am not the biggest lover of physical touch, especially in the workplace, such as hugs, invasion of my personal space or pats on the shoulder. Knowing that physical touch is not one of my favorite ways of giving or receiving appreciation, it forces me to be aware of those who may appreciate it.
My challenge for you this week is to be thinking not only about how you like to give and receive appreciation but also think about how those around you feel. If you are interested in learning more on how you can implement the 5 language of appreciation in the workplace to help improve team performance and company culture, lets chat. Always remember, a person that feels appreciated, will do more than expected.