What’s love got to do with it?

. . .

Here’s a hot take: Work is like marriage.

Your colleagues and clients have seen you at your best – and worst – and you’ve made a vow (see: signed a contract) to spend nearly every day with them. Just like marital ones, professional relationships need work to keep them alive.

That’s why understanding your love language is key – the 5 different love languages help identify specific communication preferences and can provide actionable guidance on how to maintain mutually rewarding relationships.

Here’s how they can be applied in the workplace in a totally SFW manner:

1. “Words of Affirmation” = Feedback and Mentorship

This is your primary workplace love language if you crave feedback, mentorship, and verbal praise for your efforts. Timely and well-deserved feedback can create a healthy work environment, empowering everyone to grow meaningfully.

Words of Affirmation @ the Workplace:

– Provide verbal acknowledgement and appreciation, individually or in front of others, not just on special occasions.
– Be intentional and kind with your words. Be constructive, especially when providing criticism.
– Don’t forget to direct some words of affirmation at yourself!

Find opportunities to acknowledge progress and appreciate good work.

2. “Acts of Service” = Support and Care

If you’re not much of a talker but appreciate actionable efforts instead, then this is the love language for you. You believe that actions speak louder than words, and you like to be shown that you are valued. You appreciate assistance or support from your colleagues; even the smallest of actions can make your day.

Acts of Service @ the Workplace:

– Check in on someone who may be overworked or struggling. Sometimes a “How are you?” is all it takes.
– Remind them that they have your support, even if they don’t accept initially.
– Provide reassurance by offering suggestions and alternatives to a challenging task.

3. “Quality Time” = Workplace Bonding

Someone who appreciates this love language is more likely to value social interaction; one-on-one meetings, casual catch-ups, or even team bonding activities. They crave company within the company and this can be as simple as a quick chat at the pantry or scheduling a team lunch.

Quality Time @ the Workplace:

Levity in the workplace can do wonders for team bonding.

4. “Receiving Gifts” = Benefits and Rewards

Who doesn’t love gifts? Some employees treasure tokens of appreciation, in all forms. Motivate your team with various types of rewards, like company retreats, free meals, an upgrade to their work equipment, more leaves, paid training etc.

Receiving Gifts @ the Workplace:

– When rewarding employees or colleagues, show you care by commemorating important milestones and giving personalised gifts.
– Don’t be afraid to revise corporate benefits to accommodate changing needs i.e. introducing different types of leaves, extending paternity leave, enhanced insurance.
– Empower employees and provide them with opportunities and avenues to grow and learn new skills.

Sometimes, literal gifts are best…

5. “Physical Touch” = Space and Respect

We’re not going to advocate for physical touch in the workplace; rather, we’ll take this opportunity to point out that it’s important to be respectful towards everyone at the workplace. It is important to ensure that, whether in one-on-one interactions or group settings, everyone has the space to express themselves and work in a safe, conducive environment.

Space and Respect @ the Workplace:

– Be aware of socio-cultural, situational and even personal considerations before you enter anyone’s personal space (e.g. greeting with a bow, a handshake, a fist bump or just a simple hello.)
– Read the room. Engage in respectful and productive discussions and avoid ruffling feathers.
– Be mindful not to take up too much space i.e. talking over other people, interrupting personal conversations, literally taking up too much office space.

Love in Translation

Everyone’s love language is unique and informed by different preferences and experiences. Knowing more about the five love languages may help you and your team build more meaningful, long-lasting relationships.

Vicki Sein 14.2.2023
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