How to Apply the Five Love Languages in Your Workplaces
In the book by Gary Chapman, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,published in 1992, he wrote about five ways a person demonstrates and receives love from a partner.
To illustrate, when a wife’s love language is “words of affirmation,” any “act of service” by the husband will not be perceived as a demonstration of his love to his wife but will be perceived by the wife as “helping out around the house.” Let us say on Valentine’s day, the husband helps out preparing dinner, sets the table, and even washes the dishes after dinner. For him, he was showing his wife how much he loves her by doing those acts of service, because that is his love language. But the wife, all the while, wonders why her husband is being extra nice that evening. She thinks, “maybe he needs something or will confess to something”, so she waits for her husband’s punchline. But nothing happened. And through the whole dinner, the wife waited to hear her husband say how much he loves her and values her, and appreciates all the work she does for the family. However, not a word from her husband. Why? Because words of affirmation are not the husband’s love language. For the husband, he already “showed” her how much he loves her. Can you relate to this?
Even in organisations, unexpressed expectations result in unmet aspirations. Unless you tell your partner (or your team) what you want to be done or need from them, you will continue to be disappointed and frustrated.
Now, let’s go through each love language in the realm of business and the workplace.
Here are The five love languages:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Giving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
To know another person’s love language, the book recommends that you observe how the person demonstrates love and affection towards others, and what are the things he or she frequently criticises, protests, or gripes about. Chapman further says that how a person expresses his love is also how he wants it received.
WORDS OF AFFIRMATION
Have you experienced going through a rough night to finish a presentation material, come to work feeling jittery the following day, almost fainted in front of peers and management during your presentation, and then hear the CEO say, “That was a great presentation, John! Good job!” How do you feel? Stoked, right? You suddenly feel like you got an adrenaline shot in the arm.
That is the power of positive words. Words of appreciation and encouragement, written or verbal, sow a positive vibe on the recipient.
Works wonders on a person especially whose love language is “words of affirmation.”
Neuroscientists claim that merely seeing the word NO will cause a sudden release of stress-producing hormones in our brains, which interrupts normal brain function. When a speaker verbalises the word NO accompanied with a slight frown, it causes more stress chemicals released not just in the listener’s brains but also in the speaker’s brains.
Give credit where credit is due. Be positive and timely in your recognition and acknowledgment of good work. And more importantly, be sincere. It’s good for your health!
If you notice, in your meeting, that your boss stops speaking each time you hold your phone, you should get the hint. He wants your full attention.
Although we all know that it is disrespectful to text or check your phones during face-to-face meetings, how many of us are still guilty of doing this? Some people may not notice or not be bothered, but people who will make an issue out of it would want your eyes on them alone.
Give them your undivided attention to please their love language.
Some people appreciate receiving tokens of appreciation because they see the gifts as symbols of their achievements or affection. A lot of times the gifts are displayed in their offices or rooms.
You may also have a colleague who frequently brings you a cup of coffee in the morning. If she buys a coffee for herself, you get a cup too! It is her love language.
Some organisations have perks and incentives (gift cards, event tickets or free breakfasts as part of the onboarding process). That is another way to satisfy people with this love language.
ACTS OF SERVICE
When you offer help to your colleague who is drowning in paperwork and he thanks you profusely and never forgets what you did, you can right away tell that he values this love language. You can expect him to take the opportunity to offer you his help when you need it too.
On the flip side, when the act of service is your love language, and you went out of your way to help a colleague who is sick or offered to substitute for him on a task, and then you felt bad for not being acknowledged by your colleague, this love language is going to score high in your love language quiz.
Our current social distancing, work-from-home, and no-touch virus policy block us from close contact with each other. But this shouldn’t stop us from fist-bumping (instead of high fives and handshakes) to congratulate, greet or welcome a friend, colleague, or client.
A pat on the back to acknowledge a job well done is another love language you can apply.
Great caution, however, should be observed to avoid this gesture from being misinterpreted or abused.
If you have not done the quiz yet, and have no idea about your colleagues, boss, friends’ or even your love language, take the test and start observing.
To validate your observation, you can ask your partner or team to take this love language quiz.
According to Chapman, each person has a primary and a secondary love language. You might want to take the quiz and find out your love language too.