Is appreciation communicated regularly at your workplace? Do you truly feel valued by those with whom you work?If you express appreciation in ways that aren’t meaningful to your coworkers, they may not feel valued at all. The problem is you’re speaking different languages. In The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace, Dr. Gary Chapman and Dr. Paul White will help you:
• Express genuine appreciation to coworkers and staff – even on a tight budget.
• Increase loyalty with the employees and volunteers in your organization.
• Reduce cynicism and create a more positive work environment.
• Individualize your expressions of appreciation by speaking the right language.
Based on the #1 New York Times best seller The 5 Love Languages ®, Dr. Chapman and Dr. White give you practical steps to make any workplace environment more encouraging and productive. You will learn to speak and understand the unique languages of appreciation and feel truly valued in return.
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About the Author
Dr. Gary Chapman is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages and the director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants, Inc. With over 40 years of counseling experience, he has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to human behavior, showing people not just where they go wrong, but also how to grow and move forward. Dr. Chapman travels the world presenting seminars, and his radio programs air on more than 400 stations. For more information, visit: 5LoveLanguages.com.Dr. Paul White is a psychologist, author, speaker, and consultant who helps make work relationships work. For the past two decades, he has improved numerous businesses, wealthy family estates, schools, and nonprofit organizations by helping them build healthy relationships, create positive workplace environments, and raising the level of job satisfaction for both employees and volunteers. Dr. White has been an invited speaker on four continents, and has spoken at Princeton University, the Milken Institute, and for numerous national organizations. For more information, visit: DrPaulWhite.com.
Read an Excerpt
The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the WorkplaceEmpowering Organizations by Encouraging People
By GARY D. CHAPMAN PAUL E. WHITE
NORTHFIELD PUBLISHINGCopyright © 2011 Gary D. Chapman and Paul E. White
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMOTIVATING BY APPRECIATION:
I (Gary) was having dinner with a friend who is a paid employee of a large nonprofit organization. I shared with him that Dr. White and I were working on the Motivating by Appreciation Project. When I finished my brief overview, 1 said to him, "Could I ask you a personal question about your own work?" "Certainly," he said.
I continued, "On a scale of 0–10, how appreciated do you feel by your immediate supervisor?" "About 5," he said. I could detect a tinge of disappointment in his voice when he said 5.
My second question followed. "On a scale of 0–10, how appreciated do you feel by your coworkers?" "About an 8," he said. "How many people work closely with you?" I inquired. "Two," he responded. "Do you feel equally appreciated by the two of them?" I asked. "No," he said. "One would be a 6 and the other a 9. That's why I said about an 8."
Research indicates that employees favor recognition from managers and supervisors by a margin of 2–1 over recognition from coworkers. However, most of us would agree that if we feel appreciated by our coworkers, life is much more pleasant. Whether you are a business owner, CEO, supervisor, or a coworker, this book is designed to help you communicate appreciation in a way that will be meaningful to the individuals with whom you work.
Why is feeling appreciated so important in a work setting? Because each of us wants to know that what we are doing matters. Without a sense of being valued by supervisors and colleagues, workers start to feel like a machine or a commodity. If no one notices a person's commitment to doing the job well, motivation tends to diminish over time. Steven Covey, author of the bestselling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, feels so strongly about people's need for appreciation that he states: "Next to physical survival, the greatest need of a human being is psychological survival, to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated."
When relationships are nor nurtured by a sense of appreciation, the results are predictable:
Team members will experience a lack of connectedness with others and with the mission of the organization.
Workers will tend to become discouraged, feeling "There is always more to do and no one appreciates what I'm doing."
Often employees will begin to complain about their work, their colleagues, and their supervisor.
Eventually, team members start to think seriously about leaving the organization and they begin to search for other employment.
WHY "JUST SAY THANKS" DOESN'T WORK
Communicating appreciation to employees and colleagues sounds pretty easy and straightforward. In many ways, it is. However, we also know that for the communication of appreciation to effectively encourage the other person, several factors must be considered.
First, researchers have found that attempts to communicate appreciation globally across an organization are not very effective. For recognition and appreciation to be effective, they must be individualized and delivered personally. Trying a general "just say thanks" campaign across the company will not have much impact. In fact, in our work with companies, we have found that this type of approach can actually backfire and spark a negative reaction from employees. People want appreciation to be genuine. Workers are skeptical of programs implemented from the top down where supervisors are given an instruction to "communicate appreciation for each team member at least once a week." While we all want to know that we are valued, we want it to be authentic, not contrived.
Second, appreciation needs to be viewed as valuable to the recipient in order to have an impact. This is directly related to the necessity for individualized communication. Just as individuals have a primary love language in family relationships, they also have a primary appreciation language in the work setting.
The challenge, from the supervisor's perspective, is to know what actions hit the mark and effectively communicate appreciation to a team member. This is why we developed the MBA Inventory, along with the specific "action items" for each language of appreciation. We wanted to develop a tool that provided accurate, individualized actions business owners and organizational leaders can use to show their appreciation for their team members without having to guess about what will be most significant to the employee. We agree with Buckingham and Clifton who state in their bestselling Now, Discover Your Strengths: "To excel as a manager, to turn your people's talents into productive, powerful strengths, requires an additional all-important ingredient. Lacking this ingredient ... you will never reach excellence. The all-important ingredient is individualization."
Third, another important research finding is that employees are more likely to "burn out" when they do not feel appreciated or emotionally supported by their supervisors. In today's financial climate, businesses have had to reduce the number of employees, raises and financial compensation have been slowed or halted, and the demands on employees are greater than ever. This is the perfect set of conditions for employees to become discouraged. More work, less support from others, little financial incentive, and fear about the future combine to make employees feel insecure.
We have found many organizations that are looking for ways to encourage their team members and reward them for work well done but are no longer able to use financial rewards to accomplish this purpose. This is especially true in the areas of government, schools, social service agencies, and nonprofit organizations. Directors and administrators now must find ways to encourage team members that do not require large amounts of financial resources.
Finally, there is a bit of good news for these business leaders. When leaders actively pursue communicating appreciation to their team members, the whole work culture improves. Ultimately, the managers report that they are enjoying their work more. All of us thrive in an atmosphere of appreciation.
WHEN APPRECIATION MISSES THE MARK
As previously noted, each of us has a primary and secondary language of appreciation. Our primary language communicates more deeply to us than the others. Although we will accept appreciation in all five languages, we will not feel truly encouraged unless the message is communicated through our primary language. When messages are sent repeatedly in ways outside of that language, the intent of the message "misses the mark" and loses the impact the sender had hoped for.
We all tend to communicate to others in ways that are most meaningful to us—we "speak our own language." However, if the message is not the appreciation language of the employee, it may not mean to them what it would mean to you. That is why many employees are not encouraged when they receive a reward as part of the company's recognition plan—it doesn't speak in their preferred language of appreciation.
For example, Ellen consistently leads her department in sales and with the highest marks in customer service. At their department's quarterly meetings, she is regularly called forward to receive a reward. For Ellen, this is like torture. She hates to be in front of groups and she doesn't want public attention. What she would value is time with her supervisor regularly where she could share her ideas on how to improve customer service. Ellen's primary language of appreciation is Quality Time, not Words of Affirmation. Giving her public recognition is embarrassing to Ellen and a negative experience for her—clearly not affirming.
This process of miscommunication can be frustrating to both the sender and the recipient. Consider the following scenario: "What is the matter with Mike?" Claricia asked a colleague. "I tell him he is doing a good job. I even bought him tickets to a Yankees game this weekend to show him how much I appreciated the extra hours he put in to get the project done. And yet, he mopes around here and tells Jim that he doesn't feel the management team really values what he does. What does he want?"
What Mike wants is help from his teammates when a project needs to be done. He doesn't like to work by himself, although he will if necessary. He values Acts of Service and would be really encouraged if either his colleagues or his supervisor would stay late with him some evening and pitch in to help him get the project done. Telling him "Thanks" or giving him some tangible gift after the fact is okay, but it doesn't really meet his emotional need for feeling appreciated.
Consider the following example related to our physical needs. At various times throughout the day, we might feel thirsty, hungry, or physically tired. And someone who wants to help make us feel better may take it upon themselves to provide what they perceive we need. But if you are thirsty for a glass of water, and they offer you a seat to rest upon—it's nice, but it doesn't quench your thirst. Or if you are exhausted from working outside all day and a friend gives you a snack but doesn't let you sit down to rest, the food may temporarily give you a boost of energy but the action doesn't fully give you the rest you desire. Similarly, acts of encouragement or demonstrations of appreciation in ways that are not meaningful to a coworker may be appreciated as a nice gesture, but one's deeper need for appreciation remains unmet.
WHO CAN USE THE MOTIVATING BY APPRECIATION CONCEPTS?
When we began our research, we visualized supervisors using the principles of motivating by appreciation to enhance the work relationships with those they supervise. However, as we field-tested the model across a variety of organizations (for-profit/not-for-profit, and among a variety of industries), we found an interesting response. The concept of encouraging colleagues and showing appreciation to coworkers was valued by individuals in virtually all roles and settings. Repeatedly and consistently, team members were excited about using the concepts with their peers and colleagues as much as within the context of supervisory relationships. Our conclusion is that people want to encourage and show appreciation to those with whom they work regardless of the organizational role they have.
As a result, throughout the book, you will find that we switch back and forth both in our terminology (supervisor, manager, coworker, team member, and colleague) and in the examples we use. In essence, the principles can apply regardless of the type of formal positional relationship you have with others.
This leads to the overall thesis of this book. We believe that people in the workplace (whether a paid or volunteer position) need to feel appreciation in order for them to enjoy their job, do their best work, and continue working over the long haul. Understanding how you are encouraged and how those with whom you work experience encouragement can significantly improve your relationships in the workplace, increase your job satisfaction, and create a more positive work environment. It is our intent to provide the tools, resources, and information to help you gather this knowledge and apply it in a practical, meaningful way in your work setting.
If you're not convinced that your workplace needs improved communication of appreciation, please see the resource "Picking Up Some Not-So-Subtle Cues That Your Colleagues Need to Feel Appreciated" in the Appreciation Toolkit at the back of this book or at our website (appreciationatwork.com/resources). You may also want to take the questionnaire on the site entitled, "How Dysfunctional Is Your Workplace?" This may provide a humorous but insightful perspective on your workplace environment.
Making It Personal
Reflect on the following:
1. On a scale of 0–10, how appreciated do you feel by your immediate supervisor?
2. On a scale of 0–10, how appreciated do you feel by each of your coworkers?
3. When you are feeling discouraged at work, what actions by others have encouraged you?
4. When you want to communicate appreciation to your colleagues, how do you typically do so?
5. How well do you believe you and your coworkers know how to express appreciation to one another?
6. How interested are you in finding effective ways to support and encourage those with whom you work and thus create a more positive work environment?
Chapter TwoFOR BUSINESS LEADERS:
Understanding the Return on Investment from Appreciation and Encouragement
Business leaders, whether they are owners or managers, are strongly focused on the profitability of the business and the return on investment (ROI) being produced for the owners. In fact, ROI is one of the measuring sticks by which executives and managers are monitored regarding their professional performance. While most owners want their staff to enjoy their work and have positive attitudes about the company, ultimately business leaders assess the benefits of any program or activity in terms of its impact on the financial health of the company. If an activity—like the MBA model—does not add to the health of the company and at the same time may take away focus and energy, why would a manager want to try it?
Often when we share the Motivating by Appreciation model with business executives and organizational leaders, ultimately the question "Why?" arises. "Why should we be concerned about communicating appreciation to our employees? We pay them fairly. In these economic conditions, they should be thankful they have a job. Yes, on the one hand, I want them to be happy and feel appreciated; but, on the other hand, we are running a business here. This is not about hugs and warm fuzzies—it is about providing goods and services while making a profit."
This response is neither unusual nor unreasonable for those who are responsible for the financial health of a business. The world of work is a demanding environment with harsh realities. Managers and directors have to deal with global competition, reduced budgets, increased taxes, and often an untrained workforce. No one has extra time or energy to waste on projects that do not contribute to the success of the organization. So, a reality-based question that needs to be answered is: "What benefits will I (or my organization) gain from engaging in a process of consistently communicating appreciation to my staff?"
In this chapter, we want to answer that question so that business leaders can determine whether or not the benefits outweigh the cost of time and energy to invest in the process of motivating by appreciation.
HOW THINGS HAVE CHANGED!
When we started this project in 2006, many reports were proclaiming the approaching problem of not being able to find quality employees. At that time, some of the chief issues facing employers were a less-than-adequately trained workforce, employees who often did not have a good work ethic, and a shrinking labor pool given the aging of the baby boomer generation.
Now, of course, employers and employees face a different world. The increasing globalization of economics and the world marketplace that Thomas Friedman first explored in his recent bestseller The World Is Flat has become a reality. In the past, businesses competed either with other local, regional, or sometimes national firms. However, now most companies (and those individuals looking for jobs) have global competition from businesses in China, India, Singapore, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and many other locales. Businesses are now forced to function in an evermore-competitive environment.
Excerpted from The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace by GARY D. CHAPMAN PAUL E. WHITE Copyright © 2011 by Gary D. Chapman and Paul E. White. Excerpted by permission of NORTHFIELD PUBLISHING. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Table of ContentsPrefaceIntroductionSection 1: FoundationsChapter 1: Motivating by Appreciation: The ConceptChapter 2: For Business Leaders: Understanding the Return on Investment from Appreciation and EncouragementSection 2: The 5 Languages of AppreciationChapter 3: Appreciation Language #1: Words of AppreciationChapter 4: Appreciation Language #2: Quality TimeChapter 5: Appreciation Language #3: Acts of ServiceChapter 6: Appreciation Language #4: Tangible GiftsChapter 7: Appreciation Language #5: Physical TouchSection 3: Applying the Concepts to Daily LifeChapter 8: Discover Your Primary Appreciation Language: The MBA InventoryChapter 9: Your Least Valued Language of Appreciation: Your Potential Blind SpotChapter 10: The Difference between Recognition and AppreciationChapter 11: Motivating by Appreciation in Various Industry SectorsChapter 12: The Unique Characteristics of Volunteer SettingsSection 4: Overcoming Common ObstaclesChapter 13: Does a Person's Language of Appreciation Change over Time? Chapter 14: Motivating byt Appreciation: Overcoming Your Challenges Chapter 15: Authentic Appreciation: What to do When You Don't Appreciate Your Team MembersConclusion: Now It's Your Turn
Appreciation Toolkit: Resources to Use and Share with Others
What People are Saying About This
PRAISE F OR THE 5 LANG UAGES OF APPRECIATION IN THE W ORKPLACE
After twenty years of coaching leaders at all levels, and educating thousands of professional
coaches around the world, I believe there are two universal things that ignite excellence
within people: recognition of their uniqueness and acknowledgement that they matter. The 5
Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace gives individuals, teams, and entire organizations
an invaluable resource to do just that by making appreciation a foundational part of
AMY RUPPERT, Master Certified Coach; CEO, The Integreship Group; Past National
President, the International Coaching Federation
Good leaders are known for their technical skills. Great leaders are known and remembered
for how they make people feel. The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace is a must-have
resource for any leader who wants to move the bar from being a good leader to a great leader.
KAREN ALBER, Founding Partner, The Integreship Group; Former Chief Information
Officer, HJ Heinz
The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace has helped change the way managers around
the world think about appreciation in the workplace. New research on the positive benefits
to organizations when employees feel valued and appreciated for their contributions, generational
differences, the special needs of remote employees, and peer-to-peer appreciation,
are welcomed additions to a book that has already become a management classic. This book
will be equally valuable to those who are at the start of their burgeoning management careers
as it will be to seasoned managers by providing practical tips on how to engage the increasingly
diverse workforce with relevant and relatable solutions.
PETER HART, President & CEO, Rideau, Inc.; Director, Advisory Board, Wharton
Center for Human Resources, University of Pennsylvania
The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace has been a pivotal resource helping our
employees and culture grow and mature. It is amazing to see how trust grows when care and
appreciation are shown, as the correct language of appreciation for each employee is utilized.
The insights found in this book are applicable to all generations and skill sets: introverts to
extroverts, technical to relational abilities—all have been able to apply these principles for
EVAN WILSON, Chief Experience Officer, Meritrust Credit Union
There is a continual cry for authenticity in our workplaces and communities. This updated
version of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace brings a deeper understanding
of HOW to be authentic in expressing individual value in a variety of circumstances. The
business case for adopting The 5 Languages of Appreciation is stronger than ever, and this
new edition provides the research foundation for the return on investment to organizations
when they commit to building a strong, positive workplace culture, one coworker at a time!
DAN AGNE, Owner and Principal Consultant, The Agne Group; Director of Sales
Effectiveness, The Brooks Group; Associate Pastor, Open Bible Christian Church,
I greatly appreciate this second edition of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.
White and Chapman have done an exceptional job of mixing statistics with stories and infusing
research into relevancy. They give readers a nuanced approach to appreciating others
at work that will enhance leaders’ and colleagues’ appreciation-literacy skills in being able to
draw out the best in others at work (and home).
DAVID ZINGER, Founder, The Global Employee Experience & Engagement Network;
Coauthor, People Artists: Drawing Out the Best in Others at Work
Drs. Chapman and White’s perspective about the reality of managers’ lives is spot on.
Managers don’t have capacity to give as much appreciation as the human spirit of their direct
reports craves, in most cases. “It takes a village to raise a child” applies just as much to nurturing
the fundamental needs of all human beings to be understood, valued, and appreciated.
We all live, to some degree, in a “village” community and the principles in The 5 Languages of
Appreciation in the Workplace make it much easier to do what most people intuitively want
to give and receive.
TIM MYERS, Materials Lab Manager-Metallography, Honeywell, Inc.
Appreciation isn’t just a manager issue; it is a coworker issue. It is an employee appreciating
their leader issue, and a vendor to employee issue—the list goes on and on. In The 5 Languages
of Appreciation in the Workplace, Drs. Chapman and White give us the vision to create a culture
with everyone valuing and appreciating one another no matter the role they have in the
TIFFANY SNIPES, Learning & Development Consultant, BJC Institute for Learning and
As a longtime user of the 5 Languages approach, I was excited to see the new material that has
been added to highlight the proven financial benefits of appreciation, working with remote
and virtual teams, appreciation across generations, and making a strong case for the overall
increase in employee engagement. We continue to offer training on The 5 Languages of
Appreciation in the Workplace as a valuable tool to our member companies. We have found
that when team members learn what others actually value in regards to showing appreciation
to each other, areas like team morale, cohesiveness, unity, and especially productivity
increase, and drama decreases.
DAVE TIPPETT, Director, On Site Learning and Consulting, The Employers’ Association
Understanding The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace has been critical to our success
in building a strong team and maintaining a positive culture. I aspire daily to demonstrate
authentic appreciation toward my team members, peers, and leadership team. The focus on
appreciation has increased employee engagement and strengthened our team dynamic.
MICHELLE SUTTER, Director of Sales, Holland America Line
Working with Dr. White brought to light the importance of building a sustainable appreciation
culture. Through his workshops and personalized recognition tools, we are starting to
see improved team dynamics and our appreciation communication shifting in the direction
of tomorrow. While it didn’t come naturally at first, we are learning to recognize each other’s
language of appreciation and it is making a big difference.
JOANNA ZIARNIK, Research & Innovation, L’Oreal USA