Workplace Self-Care: Knowing the Five Love Languages Can Make You a Better Manager

Feeling thankful and showing appreciation feels good, and it also translates into better relationships. Knowing your colleagues’ love languages can help you tailor your appreciation in a way that speaks to them.


Love Languages

  1. Words of Affirmation: Use your words to show appreciation for your colleague or staff and be specific in your praise - either verbally or by writing a thank you card. “The gala you worked on for 6 months was beautiful, and you raised over $500k in one night. Thank you so much for your hard work - the extra funds will mean that we can provide more services for our clients.”

  2. Gift: We’re talking inexpensive and appropriate gifts. It might be as simple as getting them coffee or buying souvenirs while you’re on vacation. Just watch out for two things: 1) don’t show favoritism (so if you’re buying individual souvenirs, make sure you bring something back for everyone) and 2) check if your non-profit has a gift giving policy between employees.

  3. Acts of Service: The best bosses are those who roll up their sleeves and aren’t afraid to do the dirty work alongside their staff. I once helped my program director shovel a dead rat outside our womxn’s shelter. It wasn’t fun, and I didn’t want to do it (which she knew) but it was a way of showing that we’re all part of the same team.

  4. Quality Time: Most of us have regular meetings with our direct reports. Quality time is about the quality of time you’re spending with them (not the length of time). For example, that might include giving them your undivided attention, putting your phone on silent (and out of reach) and practicing active listening.

  5. Physical Touch: This is a tough one. I mean, is this even appropriate in the workplace? Let’s be clear - physical touch does not give anyone the right to touch someone else without their permission (and it certainly does not mean that sexual harassment is okay). You should always ask permission before touching (this includes hugging!). For some, expressing physical touch in the office could mean giving high-fives, a quick handshake, or a hug when you get that $50k grant!

Don’t know your colleague’s love language? Simply ask, or notice their behavior. Most people express themselves in that same language that they have. Make it a point to get to know each of your colleague’s love languages. And if you’re looking to discover your own language, here’s an assessment you can take!

So go out and express your appreciation today!