Humans are wired in pretty unique, amazing ways. One of those is the different ways in which we receive love. Find out why understanding your love language and the languages of your team members is so important. And find out more about the Five Love Languages at 5lovelanguages.com
We were made to be loved. Each one of us.
You. Me. Your family. Friends. Team members. The Amazon Prime driver. Even… the person who cut you off in traffic… that you “loved” with your horn and a hand signal.
Each one of us has been designed with a deep desire to be loved, appreciated, valued, needed and so much more.
I love the visual that I first heard about from my daughter’s school years ago.
They talked about being a bucket filler in the lives of others, pouring into their bucket as we loved them in various ways.
But have you ever wondered why some of your efforts to show love or appreciation might fall flat on one person but be gobbled up by another?
Or maybe you’ve experienced tension with a spouse or friend who has been trying to show you love… but you’re just not feeling it.
Years ago, I first heard about a concept that has been transformational in my life and in the lives of so many others.
It is the idea of love languages.
Now, I’m sure there have been variations of the concept dating back through history, but I love how Dr. Gary Chapman pulled it all together in his book The Five Love Languages.
After reading that book, it was like I saw everything in a totally different light. So much made sense about me, about others. About my wife and kids. Friends. Coworkers.
You see, Dr. Chapman explains that there are five fundamental ways that we give and receive love, and that we have a few primary love languages and then some that aren’t as pronounced. You can find out more at his website 5lovelanguages.com
Here are the five: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch.
The whole thing is actually pretty amazing when you start to dig into it. Almost like looking at a secret code with special lenses and seeing what you couldn’t see before… even though it was right in front of you.
For each of us, one or two of these will be the main ways that we receive or feel love best, whereas the others might not pack the same punch.
For example, I’m a big Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch guy. So, for me, words of genuine appreciation or praise (and I emphasize the word genuine here – I despise ata boys) go a long way to fill my bucket. Just below that would be physical touch. And that could be a hug, fist bump, an arm on the shoulder, etc.
But the other languages don’t carry as much weight. I love spending time with people I care about, I like when someone does something nice for me and I like getting gifts. But for whatever reason, none of those fill my bucket like the top two.
Then, there is the flip side – how we give love the best. Sometimes it’s the same languages that we like to receive. Other times it’s different. Think about which of those five really make you come alive when you’re wanting to show someone else you care about them. Maybe it’s writing a note of encouragement, doing something for them in secret, buying the perfect gift, just being with them or holding them.
The bottom line is that this is a huge concept to grasp and can transform your relationships at home, at work and elsewhere.
At work, once you understand better how your team members and coworkers receive love best, it not only helps you get to know them on a deeper level but it also helps you maximize your efforts to appreciate them using the languages that really resonate with each one.
So, a great place to start is for you to take the love language quiz at 5lovelanguages.com. It will give you an idea of what your top languages are and help you better understand yourself.
Then, you could try having some of your team members take one as well and discuss your findings.
I think you’ll find it pretty eye-opening and putting this new knowledge into practice can go a long way to helping hang on to quality people as well as create a culture that attracts new talent as well.