Listen closely. If you’d known this earlier, working with your team would have been so much more fun and productive.
A company’s success is based on the team’s effort, that’s not the news. That the team is only as strong as its weakest link — “Yes, what else’s new.” But how can you push your team to a hyper-productive and ever-loyal peak?
Of course, I was aware that appreciation is essential in any collaborative environment. But it was not until I read this book when I fully understood, that everyone has its own way of turning an act of recognition into mental fuel. We might send a well-meant caring message to a colleague, but do they receive it the way we intended? You came with the best intentions, but the recipient might not know what to do with it?
For example, You reached a milestone in your project and you tell your colleague “Well done”, but all she hears is a standard phrase that she decodes solely as an act of politeness. You might say “Woohoo!” and give her a high-five and a genuine hug. All she feels is an inappropriate act between boss and employee. You might give him a gift as a Thank You and he interprets it as a bribery.
So how do you maneuver yourself out of this glass house and finally know that your caregiving will get to the right ear?
Gary Chapman identified five languages of love that every one of carries within. We respond to one of these in particular. So if you want to get across your appreciation 100%, you’ve got to use the right channel, meaning the other persons primary love language:
Someone who seeks quality time as a proof of validation is longing for undivided attention. Be there, fully present, even if it’s a five-minute chat over a freshly squeezed smoothie. Nothing says more “I care for you” than spending time with this person. Show interest in their persona, go for a walk, go for lunch together. Isolation and long separation are their kryptonite.
Verbal encouragement is what they long for. Get their juices with kind and positive feedback. Whatever you can put in words for them will make their hearts upbeat. They recognize the level of appreciation by the effort you put into verbalizing what’s in your heart. Insults and criticism freeze up their gateways.
Anything you do to ease the day for this type will speak volumes. Honey to their ears is the phrase: “Let me do that for you”. By showing them that you know what they need right now without the need to verbalize it, shows them how much you care. Broken commitments and laziness are the things they don’t easily let go.
It’s not about materialism, what they thrive for is the thoughtfulness and effort behind the gift and little gestures. What they will get from this is how much you know them and care for them. Is it a muffin in the morning, or a little “bonne voyage” paper plane on their last day before the holiday. Any little surprise will lighten up their day. On the other hand, forgotten birthdays or thoughtless gifts will cause the opposite.
You might not see their physical need in the first place, but boy–do they love a genuine hug. If you sense this person has a rough day, don’t say a word just offer your open arms and the day is saved. High-fives and handshakes in the morning fuel up their batteries. Show them that you care so much, you want to dedicate a few seconds to let them into your zone. This will foster a sense of security and belonging you won’t get on any other way. Physical distance will let this relationship cool down over time.
As said, we all have each of these five sensors within us, but one is mostly more sensitive than the others.
I highly encourage you to take this free online test to find out which is your primary love language. This will not only get your intimate relationship to a whole new level, but will also help in your professional relationships.
Yes, he also re-wrote the book for a less lovey-dovey audience, but the essence is the same and will nourish all your relationships.
If you are a team leader, try it out and let your colleagues do the test and share the results with each other. No one will be against sharing how you can make them feel better and more appreciated at work. It’s a win-win.
I’m super curious what you think about this method and how identifying your primary love language changed your interactions.
Please share with us in the comments!
Lots of Love, Lilly
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Lots of Love, Lilly