The Differences Between The 5 Languages of Appreciation and The 5 Love Languages
(The following is an excerpt from Dr. White’s upcoming book, The Vibrant Workplace.)
The foundation for the 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace and the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory is based on the work done by Dr. Gary Chapman and his book The 5 Love Languages, which focuses on personal relationships. While the languages discussed in both books are the same (in name), the application and expression of the languages in the work environment is often quite different than in personal relationships. When an individual knows their preferred love language, they shouldn’t assume that their primary love language in personal relation- ships is the same as their most important language of appreciation in the workplace. We have found that sometimes individuals’ primary languages are the same in both contexts. More often, people’s primary language in one relational context (personal or work) is one of their top two languages in the other relational setting. Additionally, there are some specific differences between The 5 Love Languages and The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace as they are applied to different types of relationships:
- There is often a “position dynamic” associated with work-based relationships that doesn’t exist in personal relationships. A relationship between a supervisor/supervisee, employer/employee, or between two team members at different responsibility levels within the organization clearly has different relational dynamics than a personal relationship between spouses, family members, or friends.
- Overall, a different set of expectations and boundaries exists in work-oriented relationships. Work-based relationships usually are more formal than personal relationships. There are different social boundaries about appropriate topics of discussion, styles of communication, social settings and physical proximity than in relationships with family and friends.
- The language of physical touch is less important in the workplace than in personal relationships. Physical touch is the lowest lan- guage of appreciation for most people in the workplace. This makes sense—as mentioned, the workplace functions with more boundaries, and even appropriate physical touch is not desired by many in the workplace. But spontaneous, celebratory displays (high fives, fist bumps, a pat on the back) are quite common among coworkers and are an important part of positive work-based relationships.
- Different types of quality time are valued in the workplace.While quality time in personal relationships is primarily expressed through focused attention, other types of time are also important in work-based relationships. These may include hanging out together with colleagues, working on tasks collegially, and sharing different types of experiences to deepen team relationships.
- The types of tangible gifts given differ in personal relationships and work-oriented relationships. In personal relationships, tangible gifts tend to be things—actual objects. They are often given in celebration of a special occasion—birthday, anniversary, Christmas. And for many people, the amount spent on the gift is a significant factor. Tangible gifts in the workplace are less about the “thing” and more about the thought behind it: that the giver actually knows what is important or valued by the recipient, what hobbies or interests they have—and the gift reflects this knowledge. Also, many workplace gifts are more commonly related to experiences, such as movie tickets, gift certificates to go out to dinner, or gift cards for shopping.
Just as The 5 Love Languages® have been shown to dramatically improve marriages and friendships, applying The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace significantly improves relationships among coworkers and creates positive workplace environments.
Tags: 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman, recognition, work, workplace relationships
Categories 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Five Love Languages, Vibrant Workplace