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Can't get no satisfaction? How to give and receive love at work.

Posted by Laetitia Smith on February 19th, 2014 at 1:24 pm

You may argue that Valentine's Day is past its due date – that it's too soppy, too cliched, and so yesterday. Love it or hate it, if there’s ever a good time to talk about ‘lurve’, this is the month for it.

But what of love in the workplace? And no, I don’t mean that kind...

If you think you could do with more acknowledgement at work, it’s not necessarily because you’re needy. The wish to feel valued and appreciated is a common human trait.

What’s love got to do with it,’ asks Tina Turner?

Although love in the workplace hasn’t always been a priority, the benefit of people feeling ‘loved’ at work is well-documented, and confirms that appreciated colleagues are more likely to:

• Be happy at work, increasing productivity and engagement
• Be contributors to creating a positive, happy workplace for their peers
• Be tolerant, helpful team mates, resulting in productive team dynamics
• Share the love with clients – and that’s always good for business
• Be ambassadors for your brand.

Show me love,’ demand The Wanted

You may be familiar with Dr Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages. Targeted at those in a love relationship, he defines five basic ways in which humans like to be shown love and appreciation.

While some of us like going for a run to de-stress after a tough day, others find solace in a bag of chips on the couch. Similarly, humans have preferred ways of being valued and shown love.

Based on years of counselling, Dr Chapman says acts of love fall into five categories, namely words of affirmation, quality time, acts of service, tangible gifts, and physical touch.

While his approach to relationships may be a little conservative for some, his books do show an understanding of human needs and how to meet those practically.

In fact the love languages concept was so successful that Chapman adapted it in future publications to be relevant for not only the workplace, but for singles, teenagers and children too. The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace was co-authored with Paul White, and is of particular relevance to our topic, for obvious reasons.

I wanna know what love is,’ croon Foreigner

You can get an indication of your preferred love language by completing this quick online quiz.

Why bother?

That’s a fair question. Perhaps you’re a market researcher, more intent on what your next data visualization is going to look like, than you are on confirming that quality time is what makes you feel appreciated at work.

Ultimately, the real value in assessing your language of appreciation at work lies in sharing it with your network. What’s the use of knowing what your love buttons are when those who could be pushing them for you, are none the wiser?

If you’re concerned about your approach smacking of narcissism, you could sell it to your colleagues as a just-for-fun activity. Let’s face it, if you could handle a little more appreciation at work, chances are they can too … I don’t know anyone who is continually plagued with complaints from friends and colleagues about receiving excessive amounts of praise and acknowledgement at work, do you? Exactly!

Once your team has shared their languages of appreciation, you are potentially a step closer to a happier work experience.

How long will I love you?’ ponders Ellie Goulding?

Market research is as prone to dissatisfaction in the workplace as any other industry.

With highly skilled staff likely to change jobs when they feel undervalued, companies can appreciate the benefit of retaining their people by showing them a little love.

Interested to see what I could find when I researched the relationship between love and market research - a bit of a stretch, I admit - my efforts were rewarded when I came across this tribute...

Parts of it made me laugh, parts made me cringe, but I watched it to the end, so enough said.

My most overwhelming response to the clip? What could possibly inspire three individuals to take the time to write a song about their passion for market research, rehearse it, execute in front of cameras and microphones, and then make public the fruits of their labour? That has to be a form of love, right?

Interestingly, their display of love includes words of affirmation, and will have demanded quality time and acts of service to produce this tangible gift of a clip on YouTube. If market research’s heart could be touched physically, the circle of appreciation would be complete!

In summary, Usher isn’t the only one who will work for love

Once you know what your team mates’ preferences are, you may want to indulge them a little – in the case of physical touch, perhaps confirming their second language of appreciation would be more appropriate!

There’s a theory that the more praise and appreciation you show to others, the more likely you are to receive the same. It’s an I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine scenario.

Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

2 Responses to “Can't get no satisfaction? How to give and receive love at work.”

  1. Laetitia, thanks for a thought-provoking post, weaving the concept of love with the workplace. You (and your readers) may be interested to know that we have created an online assessment tool that identifies both the language(s) of appreciation and the specific actions that are meaningful to each team member. You can create a group profile, so every person knows best how to encourage their colleagues and "hit the mark" (versus wasting their time and energy doing something not important to the recipient. And we've created video resources to help workplaces apply the concepts across the organization. Workplaces become less cynical and negative when people feel valued for what they contribute. Thanks! Paul White, PhD, co-author, The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.

  2. Laetitia says:

    Those sound like fantastic tools, thanks for the headzup Paul. Although negativity often starts with our own thought patterns and head space, it's the little things that can turn matters around. Appreciate the info you have highlighted here. Laetitia

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