Categories for 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

Don’t Be a Turkey in How You Show Appreciation this Thanksgiving

Team leaders are often encouraged (“bombarded” is actually a better word) to communicate appreciation to colleagues during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Expressing thanks for a job well done is sure to be received well, right? Not necessarily. At times, clueless managers are at risk for saying “thanks” in ways that won’t be received well. They don’t really “get” appreciation and what the big deal is – but they try anyway, and often their actions seriously miss the mark and actually wind up being offensive. Here are some actions to avoid: The “I’m off. You’re not. Enjoy the weekend!” message. This... Continue reading...

Published by
November 15, 2016 8:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Communicating Appreciation to Your Boss (Boss’s Day is coming up!)

Boss’s Day is coming up soon, in two weeks, on Monday, October 17.  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, if you want to know.) 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... Continue reading...

Published by
October 5, 2016 7:30 am
Leave your thoughts

Be Careful about Trying to Show Appreciation During Unstable Times

While we know that good things happen when employees feel appreciated, communicating appreciation to staff is not a miracle salve that cures all wounds. Sometimes well-meaning supervisors (and sometimes leaders who don’t want to do the hard work of dealing with problems) try to use appreciation as a “quick fix” for deeper issues that need to be addressed. Here are five sets of circumstances when appreciation should not be the first action taken: Employees are not getting paid regularly. One time I was asked to train staff of a non-profit organization in how to show appreciation to one another. Throughout... Continue reading...

Published by
September 26, 2016 2:05 pm
Leave your thoughts

How to Find Good Employees: 3 Ways Communicating Appreciation Can Help

The news is repetitive and blaring:  employers are complaining about the inability to find qualified applicants for positions that need to be filled.  The discussion is rather ironic — having 10+ million workers who can’t find work, while employers report they can’t find potential employees who meet the needs they have. The issue impacts multiple industries.  The key term to understand: qualified applicants.  “Qualified” does not just mean educated or trained; it also involves character. As one employer told me, they can’t find workers who can meet all three conditions necessary to work there:  a) they have the training necessary... Continue reading...

Published by
August 31, 2016 2:01 pm
Leave your thoughts

Practical Suggestions for Showing Appreciation in Day to Day Work Life

One of the most common questions we receive is: “How do you keep the concept of communicating appreciation going in the workplace?” We have found the following action steps to be extremely helpful in helping appreciation and encouragement become part of a workplace culture: Start your staff meetings with reports of examples of appreciation & encouragement being given.  Reinforce the importance of appreciation by starting meetings with team members sharing examples of receiving appreciation or observing someone else encouraging a colleague.  (If you wait until the end of the meeting, you’re at risk of “running out of time.”)  At the beginning, share... Continue reading...

Published by
August 25, 2016 1:00 pm
Leave your thoughts

Why Cynicism is Good for The Workplace

It seems counterintuitive, but cynicism can be a positive influence in our workplaces. How? When people are cynical, they are giving us honest feedback about how they really feel. When was the last time that you heard a cynical remark from a colleague and you accused them of not being honest regarding how they really feel? (Aside from the sarcastic remark: “So, Janice, tells us how you really feel!”) Cynicism communicates from the heart, so you don’t have to question whether the person is being honest with their comment. Cynical remarks give us a reality check with what was said,... Continue reading...

Published by
August 22, 2016 12:16 pm
Leave your thoughts

The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Languages of Appreciation

Many who 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 is quite different than in personal relationships. You shouldn’t assume that your primary love language in personal relationships is the same as your most important language of appreciation in the workplace. We have... Continue reading...

Published by
August 17, 2016 4:23 pm
Leave your thoughts

No One Is An Island In The Workplace

When I discuss the topic of appreciation with leaders, sometimes they mention employees who reject the notion. For example, someone in their organization will say: “I don’t need appreciation from others. I am self-motivated.” Or, they make comments that imply, “This appreciation-stuff is a bunch of hooey.” However, on closer examination, I have found that this resistance often reveals a different mindset that needs to be addressed. Some people equate the term “appreciation” with receiving verbal praise from others. Yet, there are individuals who don’t value positive words from others, because it’s not an important form of communication to them for... Continue reading...

Published by
August 15, 2016 3:06 pm
Leave your thoughts

Do You Have a Colleague Who is Easily Offended?

Not everyone feels appreciated in the same way. The more often we communicate appreciation in the ‘language’ and specific actions preferred by our colleagues, the more likely we are to ‘hit the mark’ in truly encouraging them and helping them feel valued. As we have trained thousands of employees in the concepts of authentic appreciation (both directly and through our Appreciation at Work Certified Facilitators) we have found that: A person’s primary language of appreciation is often the language in which they are most easily offended! So if you have a colleague or supervisor who seems to get upset easily... Continue reading...

Published by
July 23, 2016 12:23 pm
Leave your thoughts

“Just For Show” (with No Substance): When Appreciation Fails

While watching a movie, you’ll notice it before you can put it into words — something seems very off about a character and it immediately sets you on edge. They claim to be a fierce warrior but run and hide whenever a fight breaks out. You’re pulled out of the fantasy and can finally describe why – their actions don’t match their words. Though life isn’t a big screen production, we can still easily notice when others show us false appreciation rather than actual appreciation for a job well done. Social Awareness Body language developed long before oral language, making... Continue reading...

Published by
July 11, 2016 6:56 pm
Leave your thoughts

How Appreciation Builds Resiliency

The U.S. government and all branches of the armed forces have identified the development of resiliency as a key goal to strengthen our military personnel over the long term. As a result, for the past 10 years both research and resources have been focused on determining how to make service members more able to “bounce back” after experiencing stressful and/or traumatic events during their service. Much research and emphasis has been focused on identifying individual characteristics, coping skills, and environmental factors that can help servicemen and women: a) become more prepared to manage the stressful events experienced in life; b)... Continue reading...

Published by
May 18, 2016 1:38 pm
Leave your thoughts

The Dilemma of Physical Touch & Appreciation in the Workplace

“Physical touch in the workplace-to show appreciation? Really?” is one of the most common responses we get from some participants when training groups in the 5 Languages of Appreciation. I was in the midst of posting this article when a friend forwarded me this video aired by NBC Nightly News about Chobani Yogurt, where the owner is sharing ownership of the company with his employees.  But the video also shows Mr. Chobani hugging his employees and the piece ends with the statement: “where the money means a lot but being appreciated means even more”. Using physical touch to communicate appreciation... Continue reading...

Published by
April 28, 2016 12:00 am
Leave your thoughts

How to Show Appreciation While Managing Remote Workers

15five recently surveyed 500 managers and executives and released the following statistics about remote workers: 53% of companies in the U.S. continue to have standard workplaces, with nearly every employee coming into the office 4 or more days each week. 37% have a main office with some people working remotely. 10% have no office space at all. These statistics point to more and more work relationships existing in the context of remote locations. Increasing numbers of employees work in locations separate from their colleagues and supervisor, with “virtual teams” occurring across cities, states and countries. The combination of these two... Continue reading...

Published by
April 8, 2016 7:00 am
1 Comment

Years of Service Award Leads to $30,000 Fine

You may or may not know that the #1 reason employees are recognized is for their length of service with their organization. Individuals routinely receive recognition and some tangible reward (a certificate, a watch, bonus check) for being employed for 1 year, 5 years, etc. [By the way, I use the term “being employed” deliberately, as opposed to “working” for reasons to become evident.] Recently, an employee was found to be receiving his annual salary even though he had not shown up to work for at least six years!  Ironically, he may have gone undetected for longer except that his... Continue reading...

Published by
March 2, 2016 7:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Authentic Appreciation Can Amplify Your Business

I recently presented in Florida for the WCFSA (West Central Florida Safety Alliance). The event was aimed at learning how to manage Insurance and Safety Risks. The day of learning was intended to help members learn how to drive healthy organizational behavioral change, increase employee engagement and job satisfaction. I gladly presented the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace because regardless of what organizational missives you are trying to ‘reach’ or ‘manage’, organizations need buy-in, trust, and effective communication – and you just simply get that and more when you unleash the 5 Languages into the DNA of your organization.... Continue reading...

Published by
February 3, 2016 12:27 pm
Leave your thoughts

Don’t Forget—People are People, Not Machines or Rats in a Maze

Recently, I had the privilege to meet and listen to Ginger Hardage, Senior Vice President of Culture and Communications for Southwest Airlines. (I happened to be the morning keynote speaker and she was the afternoon keynote speaker.) One phrase used to describe Southwest Airlines was that they were “in the customer service business and just happened to use airplanes to help people get where they want.” Ginger’s presentation was a refreshing reminder that truly successful enterprises understand that their primary calling is to serve the customer and, that by doing so, they will be profitable.   (As opposed to the seemingly... Continue reading...

Published by
January 17, 2016 2:50 pm
Leave your thoughts

Want an Unstoppable Team? Try Using Manager and Peer Recognition

By Dr. Paul White Most employee recognition programs place a lot, if not all, of the responsibility for recognizing good work of their team members squarely on the shoulders of managers or supervisions. This is unfortunate and, actually, creates unwanted negative effects. Clearly, calling attention to work done well by employees is a good habit to practice. When staff feel valued for the contributions they make, a sense of loyalty and emotional engagement to the mission of the organization develops. But focusing solely on managers and supervisors to support and communicate appreciation to their staff often is an unrealistic goal that creates... Continue reading...

Published by
October 29, 2015 5:06 pm
Leave your thoughts

5 Ways to Scatter Sunshine

There’s an old song I always find cheering. It’s called “Scatter Sunshine” and gives terrific advice about how you can make the world a better place every day. The first verse reads: In a world where sorrow ever will be known Where are found the needy and the sad and lone, How much joy and comfort you can all bestow, If you scatter sunshine everywhere you go.   Scatter sunshine all along your way. Cheer and bless and brighten Every passing day.   In a world full of people complaining about everything going wrong in their lives and where the... Continue reading...

Published by
June 1, 2015 5:30 am
Leave your thoughts

5 Ways to Brighten Someone’s Day

Do you ever wish you could do something meaningful? That you could make the world a better place? Well, you can! One of the easiest ways to make a difference in the world is by taking a small action to help other people feel appreciated, accepted and valued. Here are five ways you can make the world a better place by brightening someone’s world today: #1 Visit Someone. So much of our communication is digital these days. It can make someone’s day to have a real, live, caring person show up just to say hello (without asking for something, like... Continue reading...

Published by
May 6, 2015 11:00 am
Leave your thoughts

“March Madness” – Can It Be Used to Build Staff Morale?

Every Spring a national “event” captures the attention of millions of employees: the NCAA “March Madness” basketball tournaments (both men’s and women’s). Individuals who are die-hard basketball fans, those who may follow their local college team when they are doing well, and people who just like to pick teams according to their mascots – all become intrigued and involved in following the games. Understanding “March Madness” While “March Madness” is typically referred to as a singular event, those familiar with the tournaments know that they actually are a series of games and regional tournaments over a three week period. The... Continue reading...

Published by
March 7, 2015 3:05 pm
Leave your thoughts

Not Everyone Appreciates Your Type of Appreciation

One of the lessons that aspiring leaders and those who want to continue to develop their leadership abilities must learn is: to be an effective leader, you have to learn how to lead individuals who are different than you. If you don’t, you will only be able to gather and lead those who are similar to you in personality, perspective or ability; and this, in turn, limits what you can accomplish. Although at first the idea seems intriguing, you actually don’t want to lead a group of “Junior You’s”. You may be talented but you can’t do everything, and to... Continue reading...

Published by
February 3, 2015 1:31 pm
Leave your thoughts

DISC, StrengthFinders, MBTI & the 5 Languages of Appreciation – How Do They Relate?

Many, many organizations have taken their managers and team members through personality style assessments and training programs.  The most common are StrengthFinders, the DISC, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and sometimes, the Colors Test.  Often we are asked, “How do the 5 languages of appreciation relate to these personality assessments?” We have found that The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory are excellent tools that complement these personality tools and training and are in no way either repetitive or competitive.  That is, the 5 Languages concepts and the results from the MBA Inventory cover different concepts and actually... Continue reading...

Published by
January 6, 2015 7:00 am
Leave your thoughts

Did You Know Your Mood Is as Contagious as the Flu Bug?

When people are upset prior to going into work or a meeting, they often try to take a couple of minutes to calm down and quell the surface signs of their distress; sometimes by putting a smile on their face before entering. Their hope is that they are leaving their problems at the door and communicating a positive image to their colleagues. However, the disappointing reality is that bad moods are just as contagious as the flu bug. Once present, negative thoughts and feelings can’t be contained easily. Dr. Richard Boyatzis, a neurologist and organizational development professor at Case Western... Continue reading...

Published by
October 17, 2014 10:36 am
Leave your thoughts

Is There Time for Appreciation in a Restaurant? 

Fast paced and noisy. Often over worked and taking on too many more tabletops than they’re supposed to. Dealing with hungry and “hangry” people (people who get really angry when they’re hungry). In any business, your frontline employees (those who are in direct contact with your customer) actually “are” the company in the mind of the customer. It’s even more important in these interactions that your team understand their own language of appreciation and seek clues and confirmation of the language of appreciation of their co-workers and customers. In the fast paced nature of the hospitality industry, effectively appreciating your... Continue reading...

Published by
August 28, 2014 8:32 am
Leave your thoughts

Generational Differences in the 5 Languages of Appreciation

  One of the most frequently asked questions I receive when I’m training groups is: “Are there generational differences related to the 5 languages of appreciation?”   The simple answer is: Yes, there are.  Just as there are individual preference differences in how employees want appreciation communicated, so we are finding some diversity across the generations of workers, as well. (As is true for any group comparison, these trends seem to be generally true but there are clearly individual differences within the generations.) Let me cite a few examples. Words of Affirmation. We have found that younger employees may or may not... Continue reading...

Published by
May 8, 2014 8:48 am
Leave your thoughts

So You Want to Work at Google? How to Make Your Workplace “The” Place to Work

So you want to work at Google? Or Apple? Or one of the “cool” places where they have free food, flexible work hours, and an informal work environment?  But the challenge is – you don’t live near Silicon Valley or have the skill set they require. (The second issue is the real limitation, isn’t it?) So what can you do where you work currently?  Even though you may not be the owner of your company, or even a high level executive, you can help make your workplace become “the” place to work.  Really. It is all about influence. We all... Continue reading...

Published by
April 20, 2014 8:39 pm
Leave your thoughts

Lack of Qualified Applicants? Solution #1: Keep Your Good Employees

The news is repetitive and blaring:  employers are complaining about the inability to find qualified applicants for positions that need to be filled.  I have seen three articles in business magazines this week about the issue.  Part of the discussion is about the irony — having 10+ million workers who can’t find work, while employers reporting they can’t find potential employees who meet the needs they have.  (In fairness, there are employers interviewed in the articles saying they aren’t having this problem.) The issue is both national and local, and across multiple industries and workforces.  Key term to understand: qualified... Continue reading...

Published by
March 31, 2014 11:55 pm
3 Comments

How Appreciation May Impact March Madness This Year – By Paul White, PhD

March Madness (the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments) is upon us. For some, this may be the only time they watch a basketball game all year. For millions of others, March Madness provides the opportunity to cheer their favorite team, and to place some friendly wagers in the office pool for the tournament bracket. This year’s tournament, interestingly, may be impacted by the concept of appreciation. One men’s team that is being watched closely by many (for different reasons) is Wichita State University. The WSU Shockers (which is short for “wheat shockers”, the people that used to cut wheat... Continue reading...

Published by
March 12, 2014 6:14 pm
Leave your thoughts