Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

The Power of Using Stories to Lead

How Effective Leaders Grab the Hearts of their Team Members Most leaders tend to focus on data and factual information. And accurate data is important for making good management decisions. But throughout history, communicating through facts has not been the most utilized method for sharing and developing leadership qualities. Rather, stories have been used more than any other form of verbal expression. For evidence, look to Greek philosophers, wisdom literature from Asia, and the wide range of stories from multiple cultures across the centuries designed to teach guiding principles for life. Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Confucius and Jesus all used stories grounded in daily... Continue reading...

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December 2, 2019 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When asked to compare the various Languages of Appreciation in importance to them, employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation. In fact, only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation. To look at the issue from the opposite perspective, employees choose tangible gifts as their least valued way to be shown appreciation almost 70% of the time. Why is this important to know? For two reasons. First, most employee recognition programs emphasize giving gifts as a reward for achieving goals. While there is obviously nothing inherently wrong about... Continue reading...

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November 4, 2019 9:00 am
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Podcasts & Authentic Appreciation

Many people may not see any significant relationship between podcasts and authentic appreciation – but there is at least one. Podcasting is a form of communication which has developed rapidly over the past 5-10 years. Formerly, authors (now known as “content producers”) would share their ideas via a variety of media. Articles, books, and then blogs, communicated with the printed word. Radio and television shows and interviews used the oral and visual expression of one’s ideas. Many of these embodied the characteristics of “broadcasting” – casting out your information broadly, to a wide range of people – hoping that you would find those people... Continue reading...

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September 9, 2019 8:55 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

How to Use Words of Appreciation Effectively While Words of Affirmation is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, it isn’t always deployed effectively. Supervisors and managers often use words to encourage their team members. Compliments, a simple “thank you”, praise in front of others – all are examples of common uses of words to send positive messages in the workplace. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more effective in showing appreciation and encouragement to colleagues (and help you avoid some common errors, as well). To be most... Continue reading...

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September 2, 2019 9:00 am
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How to Show Appreciation Personally When You Oversee a Large Group

How do you communicate appreciation effectively when you manage large groups of employees? When I am conducting an Appreciation at Work training session with a work group, a common comment and question is similar to what Jack, a manager at a senior care living center, asked: “I ‘get’ the concept of communicating appreciation to my team and the need to make it personal and individualized.  But I have team members who report to me that I rarely see. They work a different shift or on the weekends and while we communicate through email, texts, and occasional calls, I really don’t have much... Continue reading...

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August 19, 2019 9:00 am
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How Are the 5 Love Languages and the 5 Languages of Appreciation Related?

                              Many of you are familiar with The 5 Love Languages as described in Gary Chapman’s bestselling book have found them helpful in their personal relationships. Some may wonder if there is really any difference between the 5 Love Languages and the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. While the languages discussed in both books are the same in name, the application and expression of the languages in the work environment are quite different than in personal relationships. First, you shouldn’t assume that your primary... Continue reading...

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August 5, 2019 9:00 am
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Practical Tools Available to Apply the 5 Languages of Appreciation to Your Workplace

I like to say that, “Information without application is wasted grey matter.” As a result, a key focus of our work is to provide easy-to-use tools to help leaders and colleagues practically apply the 5 languages of appreciation to their daily work relationships. I want to share about the resources we have created (many of which are FREE) to let you know about the wide variety of tools available. I’ve divided them into categories to make them easier to find and use. Online Resources for Individuals and Groups (free) MBAI Group Report (new) Allows you obtain a summary report of... Continue reading...

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July 29, 2019 9:00 am
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Building a Strong Team Culture: Valuing & Appreciating Differences in the Workplace

To build a successful and sustainable business, you need a team of employees who bring their unique abilities, strengths and perspectives to the challenges you will face. But to draw and keep talented individuals who have a variety of skills and personality types, you have to learn a key skill: You have to learn how to lead people who are different than you. Many books on leadership provide valuable insights into key skills and abilities needed to effectively lead others. But one concept that is not stressed enough is: to lead a successful team, you have to understand those who are... Continue reading...

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June 10, 2019 9:16 am
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Leadership Blind Spot: Your Least Valued Language of Appreciation

By nature, we all tend to speak our own language of appreciation. If Acts of Service make me feel appreciated, then I will tend to pitch in and help my colleagues. If Quality Time makes me feel appreciated, then I may often go out of my way to stop by a teammate’s office and “check in” to see how they are doing. If Words of Affirmation make me feel appreciated, then you can expect that I will give use verbal praise to those with whom I work. If a high five energizes me and makes me feel appreciated, I will... Continue reading...

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May 6, 2019 9:00 am
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A Candid Discussion about Hugging in the Workplace

  Fortunately, we live in an era where more people finally feel comfortable speaking up about unwanted touch and situations that make them uncomfortable. Conversations are being sparked by news from Hollywood, politics, and workplaces, as well as more casual encounters with family and friends. This leads many to ask: Is there any place for physical touch in the workplace? We believe there is a role for appropriate touch in work-oriented relationships. Early in our research, we found that less than 1% of employees choose Physical Touch as their primary appreciation language – and it is the most frequently chosen... Continue reading...

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April 22, 2019 11:20 am
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Employees Are People, Not Just Work Units

Let me pose some questions for you:   *Are you a person or just a production unit?   *Do you have a life outside of work? (Think: friends, family, interests)   *Are you a person, even at work, beyond your role there and what you get done? While performing one’s job as expected is critical, I firmly believe that people have worth and value no matter their level of performance. Every person is a unique individual created by God, and we all are intrinsically valuable—apart from what we do or accomplish. Many employees at all levels, including managers and supervisors,... Continue reading...

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April 15, 2019 8:22 am
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Why Employee Recognition Isn’t Working

As I have traveled across the country, working with various businesses and organizations, I’ve had the privilege to interact with numerous employees, supervisors, managers and HR professionals. When discussing their employee recognition programs, they report that their current programs aren’t working – they are not having a positive impact on employees or workplace morale. And, in many cases, the ways that most employee recognition programs are implemented actually create negative reactions among team members. Why? Because, as generally implemented, recognition is very different from authentic appreciation. Here is what we found: Recognition is largely about behavior. “Catch them doing what you... Continue reading...

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April 8, 2019 9:00 am
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The Value of Appreciation: Convincing Skeptics

Many business and organizational leaders are skeptical about the value of appreciation.  Leaders frequently ask: *What benefits will I or my organization gain from training my leaders and staff in communicating appreciation to one another? *Why should we be concerned about whether our employees feel appreciated? *What’s the potential benefit for the time, energy and cost it will take? These questions are neither unusual nor unreasonable for those who are responsible for the financial well-being of a business. The world of work is a demanding environment with harsh realities and no one has extra time or energy to waste on... Continue reading...

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April 1, 2019 8:18 am
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How to Determine the Ways Your Team Wants to Be Shown Appreciation

Communicating appreciation effectively to those with whom you work is based on three foundational premises: Not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways. (And specifically, not necessarily through the ways you feel appreciated.) Hence, the effectiveness of using the 5 Languages of Appreciation to communicate in the ways valued by the recipient. Appreciation needs to be viewed as authentic to have a positive impact. Attempts to communicate appreciate which are perceived as disingenuous not only “fall flat”, but they can actually create damage to your relationship. The more specific the appreciation is, the more likely it will be perceived as... Continue reading...

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March 25, 2019 9:00 am
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How Do Most People Want to Be Shown Appreciation? Update from 175,000 Employees

Not long ago (2017), we published a research study on how 100,000 employees preferred to be shown appreciation by their colleagues and supervisors.  Based on the concepts presented in The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, the foundational principle that not everyone feels appreciated in the same ways was affirmed. Recently, we have had inquiries if the frequencies of desired appreciation languages have remained the same or if the additional individuals taking the inventory more recently prefer different ways to be shown appreciation.  So we did a quick update on the data from those who have taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. Here is... Continue reading...

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March 21, 2019 5:57 pm
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The Languages of Appreciation: A Tool for Growing Soft Skills

Historically, high level business and organizational leaders have been taught to focus on the “hard” metrics of business – financial statements, market share, increasing productivity and reducing expenses to maximize profits and shareholder value. These all are important aspects to monitor, to ensure the business is profitable and sustainable. Similarly, engineers, computer programmers and others who work in high-tech industries most often associated with Silicon Valley are trained, focused on, and rewarded for producing results. And these high-tech companies are known to offer competitive financial rewards and recognition programs to motivate and encourage employees to keep delivering high quality work.... Continue reading...

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February 25, 2019 8:55 am
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Boost Employee Morale: 3 Simple Steps YOU Can Take

‘Low Staff Morale’ is one of the most common issues leaders report that they struggle with. “We need help,” one manager told me. “People are negative, complaining, and don’t feel like the management cares about anything but getting the work done. And, to be honest, that’s how they have been treated. We need to turn things around.” PRACTICAL STEPS TO TAKE Here are three action steps you can take to improve (your own and) others’ morale: #1: Conduct a Self-Assessment   Ask yourself: What am I doing that isn’t helpful in creating a positive workplace? This could include both actions (complaining about a... Continue reading...

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February 11, 2019 9:00 am
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The Changing Workplace: The Importance of Peer to Peer Appreciation

When we first started applying the 5 languages to work-based relationships, out initial focus of communicating appreciation within the workplace was on managers and supervisors. In the past, an employee’s relationship with their direct supervisor was found to be one of the most influential factors on whether or not the employee enjoyed their job. So, our early focus was on training supervisors and managers in how to communicate appreciation effectively to their team members. While this was a good starting point, we quickly learned that to focus solely on managers and supervisors was to narrow and was not all that... Continue reading...

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January 28, 2019 9:00 am
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The Changing Workplace: Appreciation and Remote Workers

The culture that we live and work in is subject to constant change over time. And in recent years, that change has occurred at a highly accelerated rate. Rows of desks filled with stenographers and secretaries are well in the past.  In the 70’s, offices looked like cubicle farms, and these, in turn, transformed back up to open office plans, attempting to encourage communication and collaboration. Additionally, rapid technological changes (from the phone, to faxes, to emails, texting and videoconferencing) have created an entirely new category of employee, the remote worker. And their ranks are growing. In 1995, 9% of... Continue reading...

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January 14, 2019 9:00 am
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Is Appreciation in the Workplace Changing?

Is appreciation in the workplace changing? Is it the same as it was 5 years ago? 10 years ago? Does the way we communicate appreciation change over time? Yes, it does. But, in many ways, no it doesn’t. Last week, a new revised and updated version of The 5 Language of Appreciation in the Workplace was released.                           The first edition was published in 2011 and some may think, ok, that’s great for those who haven’t read it already, but the topic couldn’t have really changed that much. I would ‘beg... Continue reading...

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January 7, 2019 8:58 am
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What to Do When You Don’t Appreciate Your Colleague

Let’s be honest, some people are more difficult to work with than others. There are weird people; angry, irritable colleagues; people with a lousy work ethic, and people we just don’t understand. And appreciating these individuals can be even more challenging. Let me share a few tips on communicating appreciation to a “difficult” colleague: Don’t try to fake it. Whatever you do, don’t try to “act like” you appreciate someone if you really don’t. Most people have very sensitive “radar” when they believe others aren’t being genuine. You risk undermining any trust you may have with your colleague if they don’t think what you are saying or... Continue reading...

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November 5, 2018 9:00 am
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Do Remote Employees Want to Be Shown Appreciation Differently Than Employees in Face-to-Face Settings?

    More and more American employees are working remotely. In 1995 only 9% percent of American workers telecommuted, but in 2015 off-site workers increased to 37% In 2016, 43% of American workers reported they spend at least part of their week working remotely. It has been estimated that 50% of the U.S. workforce has job responsibilities that are compatible with working off-site at least occasionally and between 80% and 90% of the U.S. workforce reports it would like to work remotely at least part-time. The Importance of Appreciation in the Workplace Despite the evidence that appreciation is both desired and... Continue reading...

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October 22, 2018 9:00 am
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Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss on Boss’s Day

Tuesday, October 16th is Boss’s Day.  And no, it isn’t one of those appreciation days that was created recently by Hallmark, the National Association of Employers, or some other group with a potential secondary gain. (Boss’s Day was first instituted in 1958, by a secretary for an insurance company.) The key questions, if you are an employee, are:  1) Should I do something for my boss?  2) If so, what?  3) How do I keep from looking like I am just “sucking up” to her or him?  Let us give you a quick way to think through the decisions. It would... Continue reading...

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October 15, 2018 8:55 am
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Celebrate with Us!!

  Celebration #1 — 150,000 MBA Inventory Users We’re celebrating passing a significant milestone (earlier this month) with over 150,000 employees, supervisors, and managers (and volunteers!) having taken the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory. To show that this hasn’t been just steady plodding, consider the following facts: The first 50,000 MBA Inventory users occurred within ~ 5+ years (60 months). The next 50,000 MBAI users took the inventory in 25 months. The most recent 50,000 took the inventory in the past 13 months! And if you weren’t aware, we have a number of different versions of the inventory that we have developed – versions for Government employees, School personnel, Medical settings, Military personnel,... Continue reading...

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July 30, 2018 1:22 pm
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5 Languages Spotlight: Gifts

When asked to compare the various Languages of Appreciation in importance to them, employees overwhelmingly don’t choose tangible rewards as the primary way they want to be shown appreciation.  In fact, only 6% of employees identify tangible gifts as their primary language of appreciation.  To look at the issue from the opposite perspective, employees choose tangible gifts as their least valued way to be shown appreciation almost 70% of the time. Why is this important to know?  For two reasons.  First, most employee recognition programs focus highly on giving gifts as a reward for achieving goals.  While there is obviously... Continue reading...

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July 23, 2018 9:00 am
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Is Appreciation Just an American Concept?

I have had the privilege of traveling internationally to numerous countries to introduce the concept of authentic appreciation in the workplace.  Fortunately, authentic appreciation and vibrant workplaces aren’t limited to certain cultures. They exist on every inhabited continent. And our book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, has been translated into 17 languages. Lessons From a Multinational Training Experience A few years ago, I had the privilege of training the management and supervisors of an elite international organization in how to communicate authentic appreciation to their staff. Functioning within the tourism and hospitality industries, the staff (in one location) come... Continue reading...

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July 9, 2018 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Quality Time

Many people assume that appreciation is communicated verbally.  While using words is one way to show staff members that you value them, many employees prefer appreciation shown through the language of Quality Time. By Quality Time, we mean spending time with a colleague either by giving the person your focused attention, or working collaboratively with them.  We are not talking about simply being in physical proximity to another person. Many of us work closely with colleagues all day long, but at the end of the day will honestly say, “I did not have any quality time with any of my... Continue reading...

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June 18, 2018 9:00 am
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5 Languages Spotlight: Words of Affirmation

Tips for Using Words of Appreciation Effectively In honor of June being National Effective Communication Month, we wanted to spotlight the most ‘popular’ language of appreciation, Words of Affirmation. While this is the easiest language for most people to understand and use, it isn’t always deployed effectively. Supervisors and managers often use words to encourage their team members. Compliments, a simple “thank you”, praise in front of others – all are examples of common uses of words to send positive messages in the workplace. We have found that following a few simple tips can make the use of words more... Continue reading...

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May 29, 2018 9:00 am
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