In his book, The 5 Love Languages, author Gary Chapman explains that there are 5 primary “love languages”. A love language is a way of expressing and interpreting love. Whether it is a significant other, kids, or co-workers, each of us expresses and interprets emotions differently. The 5 love languages Chapman identifies are:
1. Words of affirmation
2. Quality time
3. Receiving gifts
4. Acts of service
5. Physical touch
(You can take the free quiz on his website to learn your love language.)
Similarly, in professional relationships, we want to be cared for differently. I might think my boss really respects me because she tells me when I do a great job, whereas you might think your boss respects you if she leaves you alone because to you it means she trusts you are doing the right things.
The challenge we face is that most of us try to show we care the same way we want to be cared for. If we’re lucky, we’ll be successful about 25% of the time. Unfortunately, if you go up to your co-workers asking them their love language, they might look at you like you have two heads.
You can, however learn about their preferred method of communication and personal motivators by learning to identify their style. Here are 7 questions to get you started: