Everyone likes being appreciated, but not everyone feels appreciated in the same way. If you want to show your clients, co-workers, and employees how much you appreciate them, it’s important to recognize and understand the different ways you can express that appreciation.
Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages was written for couples, but since he first published it, he’s since written several other books helping people see how they can apply the basic principles of the five love languages to other areas of life (including the workplace!). I haven’t read his workplace book, but I read The Five Love Languages and have been able to use what I learned at work. Here’s how:
First, you need to know the five ways people receive love:
- Words of Affirmation – verbally complimenting or expressing appreciation
- Quality Time – giving someone undivided attention
- Gifts – giving physical gifts
- Acts of Service – doing something for someone
- Physical Touch –touching someone (appropriately!)
Then, figure out how you can show appreciation in a way that speaks to each person’s love language. It needs to be office-appropriate, but here are some ideas for showing appreciation in different ways.
- Words of Affirmation – send a hand-written notecard
- Quality Time – take someone out for a cup of coffee
- Gifts – give gear with the company logo or a gift card to a coffee shop
- Acts of Service – make a call, place an order, or manage a problem for someone else
- Physical Touch – a firm handshake, pat on the back, or hug (if appropriate)
Finally, realize that you don’t need to know each person’s love language. Just make sure you’re showing appreciation in a variety of ways so you’re speaking each of the love languages some of the time. Your clients, co-workers, and employees will remember it when you appreciate them in a way that makes them feel truly appreciated.