Whenever a friend has a relationship issue, I love bringing up the five love languages so that we can identify each person's way of showing love and how that miscommunication has been throwing everyone off. Gary Chapman's famous theory has clarified many relationships for me and my friends, and it turns out, he's swooping in for another win in the workplace.
We're referring to them as workplace communication languages, simply because saying workplace love language seems little bit red flag-ish to HR.
In this scenario, we're exploring how people show and accept appreciation in the workplace. Miscommunicating gratitude in this setting ends up with people thinking that no one else cares about their hard work, resulting in dissatisfaction.
Words of Affirmation
This one is probably the most common of them all. If you see one of your employees doing well, say something. Many people thrive on the idea that their managers or colleagues think they're doing a good job, so don't hold back if you think they deserve praise. Having something nice to say is like wrapping a gift and never giving it out.
This one is my personal work communication language. If I don't verbally hear that something I worked hard on was done well, then I immediately assume it wasn't done well or that no one cares. If it wasn't done well, then I want to talk about it to make it better. You can imagine how hard this one is to fulfill as a solo founder.
How many times have you heard a friend say, "My boss is so busy, she has no idea what I'm even working on!"
In a work setting, quality time means setting up one-on-one meetings where you can check in and hear your employee out on how their work flow is going. A lot of people tend to lose drive when they think their managers don't pay attention or care about what they're working on. Setting aside time to meet and be present when you're together may help your employees feel like you're invested in them.
Acts of Service
This one goes hand in hand with quality time because if you hear your employee stressing on the workload of a project, this is a good time to step in and ask, "How can I help?"
Managers or colleagues that offer to step in and assist or provide easy resources, can be seen as the most effective way to communicate that you care. Those that appreciate acts of service don't need as many thank yous or sit-downs -- they want action and they want help reaching that bigger picture goal together.
Although some people don't like to admit it, tangible gifts can be a big motivator at work. Whether it's a catered company lunch or a surprise gift card, these gift-oriented people thrive on having something to work towards.
These are not shallow employees -- these are ones that need to see what they are working towards and enjoy literally eating the fruits of their hard work. If you have an important deadline or goal that you want the team to reach (with some excitement), try testing this one out.
Every one of your employees will want gratitude communicated to them differently so it's important to test all of these workplace communication tactics out to see how they respond to it best. At the end of the day, a great leader can tap into each of these because let's admit it, it doesn't hurt to have a manager that can tap into all of the above.