Using The Five Love Languages With Your Team
The 5 love languages http://www.5lovelanguages.com, created by Gary Chapman, explain the different ways people show and receive love. Chapman believes that each person has a preferred language, and this language influences his relationships.
Chapman’s book focuses on personal relationships, but what about our workplace relationships?
The Five Love Languages:
- Words of Affirmation
Mother Theresa said that “kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are endless.”Words have the power to inspire, heal, and destroy. If someone compliments you on your outfit, you are more likely to wear it again. Words of appreciation, encouragement, and recognition in schools are important not just within our classrooms but also in our meeting with our colleagues. Who doesn’t want to hear that he is valued or he’s done a great job? Uh, nobody! It’s as simple as “I am so glad that you’re in this department” or “Wow! That was a kick butt idea.” But it’s easy to think that people always know that you appreciate them. Take the time to actually tell them.
- Quality Time
People want to know that they have been heard. When you’re on your phone or not making eye contact with someone who is speaking, you show that you have something better to do. And that’s just rude. Make time to really listen to your colleagues. Listen without being distracted. Give that person your undivided attention. Ask questions. Show people that they matter. Make a promise to yourself to share, listen, and engaged with the people on your campus. According to Chapman, “recent research has indicated that the average individual listens for only seventeen seconds before interrupting and interjecting his own ideas.” I have to admit. I have been guilty of this. *sigh* But if you know better, you do better.
- Receiving Gifts
Gifts are the expression of thoughtfulness. It is a “you made an effort to think about me.” A visual representation that you’re valued. For this love language, don’t think about expensive gifts, although I’m sure a trip to the Bahamas would be really appreciated. Give a fellow teacher a cup of coffee, a handwritten note, flowers or a plant, unique office supply, chocolate, or a book.
- Acts of Service
The fourth love language is all about offering to help others. Think about how you can make someone’s day better and easier. Offer to make copies, get lunch, drop paperwork off in the front office. Volunteer to create the department’s writing guidelines, decorate the workroom, serve as the department representative on a committee. Acts such as these show that it’s a team effort, we’re all in this together, and the responsibilities are shared.
- Physical Touch
This is obviously the hardest love language to express if you want to avoid a sexual harassment claim.In their article “Power of Touch: Subtle Gestures Can Boost Performance,” Dan Harris and Ben Newman explain how studies prove that sports teams, specifically basketball, who touch the most win the most. According to one study, Chris Bosh, basketball player for the Miami Heat is the second “touchiest person in the league.” Bosh states: “I think it’s just all about encouragement. You feel a little better when you make a good play and somebody pats you on the back and tells you, ‘Good job,’ or you know, they kind of bring you out of your shell for one and it’s good for the team.”The article goes on to state that, according to researchers, “touch can trigger the release of oxytocin, a chemical that induces trust,” and “it contagiously spreads good will, making players play better on behalf of each other.”Because of technology and our busy schedules, we have become so detached from others that rarely communicate by touch. The first language that we learn is touch, and it’s our richest and most important emotional expression. So how to incorporate physical touch into the workplace and our classroom without creeping people out? First, a relationship has to be established before you go patting people on the back and hugging them. Some people (me included) just aren’t touchy, huggy type people. For those people, a high five, handshake, light touch on the shoulder, or a pat on the back would be better.