You’ve probably heard of American author Gary Chapman’s five love languages. He coined the categories after talking to lots of couples in therapy and seeing a pattern that we now know as (1) words of affirmation, (2) acts of service, (3) quality time, (4) physical touch, and (5) receiving gifts. Essentially, these are the ways people give and receive love. Whatever your love language is means it’s how you feel the most loved and how you express your love.
Often, people mistake love languages to only apply in romantic relationships. While it is helpful to know your romantic partner’s love language for you to give his or her needs, love languages also apply to platonic relationships and in different settings. It helps us understand more the people we interact with on a daily basis---building a positive environment that’s motivating, loving, and pleasing for all.
Words of Affirmation
Now there’s a tendency for people to judge one love language from another. Words of affirmation often get ridicule because some just don’t understand the weight of words and don’t see the value in them as much as those whose love language is words of affirmation. Most think that words are empty because they can easily be said without attaching any deep meaning to them whereas the other four are more tangible and from the surface, require more effort.
But it’s different for those who feel loved and give love through words of affirmation. They see words not just as twists and turns of the mouth. It’s the effort behind the words that count for them---the intention, the timing, the genuineness, the details. They could see right through what’s fake and not. Their hearts burst when people remember a minute detail they shared in a conversation and feel heard when it’s randomly brought up. They love it when they are given specific compliments and how another person feels about their little antics. They feel validated when people speak highly of them in conversations that they aren’t even present. They feel appreciated when their efforts are recognized. They feel comforted when someone is there to listen, understand their predicament, and give them words of encouragement.
In short, people with this love language attach a strong emotion to words which is why they can also get badly hurt by a negative comment thrown their way. Just as words have the power to lure someone in, they also have the capacity to hurt and moreso, for people with this love language.
This is why it’s important to use words wisely in any setup ---be it in school, at home, at work, or in a romantic relationship. Children and students who feel strongly about words may be traumatized by words they’ve heard about them in the past. Employees may find it difficult to work when their outputs are not acknowledged or received well by their colleagues, especially their bosses. Lovers may feel unloved in a relationship because they are not showered with words of kindness and encouragement. And once unfulfilled, students won’t have the motivation to study for an exam, children won’t pursue their hobbies, employees would leave their jobs, and couples would part ways. It’s a no-win situation for anybody.
Appreciation Language in the Workplace
In the workplace, it’s difficult to fulfill every love language especially if you are assigned to handle a group with different love languages. It’s hard to cater and make adjustments to all five at once. After all, a business's primary goal is to make a profit and it’s difficult for say a manager to give individual attention to all people in the team. But not doing so leads to a negative workplace devoid of motivation and inspiration. If anything, it might be one of the causes of unproductivity and inefficiency. According to U.S. News and World Report, almost 65 percent of workers felt unrecognized by their bosses in the past 12 months. Authors of the book, “How Full Is Your Bucket? Tom Rath and Donald Clifton discovered that lack of appreciation in the workplace is a major factor why people quit their jobs.
As a boss, you don’t have to go all out with gifts and incentives. It’s the day-to-day that matters more when managing people who work for your business. For every job well done, thank them. Tell them what you liked the most about the presentation. Compliment the outfit of the day or completing a no-late week. When they feel seen, heard, recognized, and valued, they would care more about the business and the job that they do for it. They’ll tell their social circles about the amazing work environment they have. They’ll recommend you to their peers. To clients, they’ll sell the company. The more workers feel appreciated, the more motivated they are to work and deliver their outputs to the best of their capabilities.
Physical Work Environment
Fill the office with words of affirmation without taking additional floor space. Install floating shelves from Flexispot in three minutes or so. On the floating shelves, put photo frames with words of affirmation. With a 17.7" long, 0.98" thick, and 6.67" wide desktop, you may add plants and diffusers for a more decorative element.
Have a wall where people can just pin their compliments to one another. Flexispot has a corkboard, 36 x 24 inches in size, that can easily be mounted on the wall. Pin post-its to it for each and every employee to see how much they are appreciated by their boss and their colleagues.
This can also be done even virtually. Just be nice and upfront about what you feel.
It’s important to meet a person’s love language to understand and make sense of who they are and how they respond to a gesture of love. In the workplace, in particular, it helps to boost morale, productivity, and efficiency if the culture practices an appreciation language.