5 Ways to Love Your Co-workers
By SARAH TAN
According to the website HR Grapevine, a survey done by Benchmark Recruit in 2013 found that 19.35% of employees leave their company due to feeling unappreciated. This in itself is a great signal to every one of us in the office.
Appreciation is an important part of work life, and a key characteristic of every good leader is the ability to appreciate his or her colleagues.
In their book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Gary Chapman and Paul White talk about the five basic ways to express appreciation: through Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch.
There are many lessons that we can bring to our relationships with our colleagues. As everyone speaks a different “language”, it may be difficult to identify who speaks what lingo.
Taking an online test together as a team can not only help you understand each other, but it also serves as a fun team activity.
However, as it is understandably difficult to do so if you are in a large team, here are a few ways to identify the love languages of your colleagues, and how to speak it.
1. Words of affirmation
Usually appreciated by extroverts, complimenting and acknowledging the hard working employees in the office can really give them a much needed motivation boost.
In the workplace, words of affirmation are best given in groups. Praising your colleague in front of others makes them feel important, as their work would be recognised by others as well.
2. Acts of service
Work mates who speak this language tend to be the ones who slave away at their table, trying to finish as much work as possible to help. Most of the time, these are the employees who never seem to not be working.
Late night at the office for one of your team mates? Appreciate them by asking if you can help take on some of their tasks. If you are already full on your workload, offering to buy dinner for them can go a long way as well.
This is the colleague who leaves presents at your table to surprise you every once in a while. Chocolates, sweets, or even little notes, their appreciation for you shines through that cocoa covered almond waiting on your desk.
Take heed of the saying, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and in return, shower them with appreciation by doing the same! Buy them a cup of coffee on long days, or even a snack in the middle of their work.
4. Quality time
There is always one person in the office who wants to bring everyone out for lunch, and is willing to wait for others to finish their work first.
To this group of people, show appreciation by stopping by their desks every once in a while to spend a few minutes catching up with them. Going out of your way to speak to them shows that your care and are thoughtful.
5. Physical touch
Saving this as the last, and, in this context, also the least, physical touch is not normally used as a form of appreciation in the workplace.
The reason is obvious, as there are certain limits in our workplace relationships, and crossing such limits is inappropriate for professional settings.
Nonetheless, certain actions such as high fives and pats on the back can still be a great form of recognition towards your colleagues.
If you are familiar with Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, this article may ring a bell. However, it is also mentioned to not mistake the two “dialects”, as our primary love language in our personal relationships is usually not the same as our language of appreciation in the workplace.
Keeping all of the above in mind, let’s show appreciation in our workplace, and go the extra mile by speaking it in the language of those around us. As you appreciate your colleagues, you will be in turn appreciated!
Sarah Tan is a firm believer in appreciating everybody who contributes in the workplace. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org . Click here for more articles from leaderonomers.