You might have heard of that book called “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It discusses how people in relationships have different needs from their partners. Some might need more words of affirmation whereas other seek quality time together to really feel connected. Others love to receive gifts as a sign of thoughtfulness and others require acts of service such as help around the home, fixing a car or executing a tiring task as a sign they are being looked after. And then there is physical touch and cuddles that many crave… I think the book has a few limitations and can be over-simplified at times, but it makes me think more deeply about the nature of how to manage people at work; employees, contractors, colleagues, business partners, freelancers, and collaborators.
What do these people want from me that show them that I deeply care for them? That I appreciate and am highly grateful for their support and connection? If I can figure out their WORK language of love, then I can generate a deeper and more respectful working relationship, no matter what roles or positions we play.
Below are some of my top line thoughts on what sort of love language I could provide to my team… I wonder whether you might add any suggestions or think further about how you might employ this strategy and see what happens to team performance?
Words of gratitude such as ‘thankyou’, ‘you’re amazing’, ‘I love the work you do’ and so forth. Now, most people get a rush out of hearing that!
Unexpected gifts or surprises: this could range from a lovely card to a dinner out or an expensive item to say big thanks for a job well done.
Growth and learning. Maybe your employee has a high value on growth and is always seeking to add value, grow skills and push forward. Then arranging training for them and giving them ‘stretch’ tasks would be your way of loving them.
Dollars must make it on the list somewhere... Of course, we all want more money, but some of us really do hold this as the highest of love language. If you cannot do literal financial dollars, try to think about ways that save them money or leverage their money (i.e. pre-tax money car leasing or free gym membership etc.)
The family is an important one for many. This includes being understanding of family commitments and needs, checking in to see if they are getting their commitments met, asking after one’s family (especially if there has been difficulty or illness)and encouraging that person to find family time even if that’s sometimes fighting with work. It is amazing how much it lights someone up by asking after their kids.
Personal goals and dreams. Knowing your manager or employer cares about your personal goals is a HUGE one for me. Giving the support and interest to someone you manage about how they can personally thrive is an incredibly powerful love language. They feel you are in their corner…
Listening to their issues and really paying the care and respect to sort out challenges and any issues weighing on their mind is valuable for some people. Others wouldn’t share their favorite color with you or tell you what they had for breakfast! Yet the people that need to be heard and deeply listened to, love this type of language. It can change their world.
There are 7 ideas above as to how you might connect with your team of people, so start figuring out who needs what and give them their love language (a combination maybe?) or as I call it… medicine. This medicine will ensure you are cultivating a powerful team of people around you that know you respect them 100%. And if you don’t respect them 100%, don’t dishonor them by stringing them along and pretending you do care. You must genuinely and authentically care or let them go…
Got any more love language types to share with me? Love to hear what you have to say firstname.lastname@example.org