1. Words of Affirmation – words of praise are important to you. The preferred way of receiving that praise may look different; as some want it privately and others (like me) prefer it publically. About half the people involved in the research identified affirmation as a primary appreciation language.
2. Quality Time – having focused and uninterrupted time with a colleague or supervisor is important to you. When people don’t give their time to you it sends a message that you are not valued. (I have historically struggled to give this type of appreciation.)
3. Acts of Service – when people pitch in and help you get work done you feel appreciated. Being part of a team where the work is shared and others notice your work by helping get it done is energizing. (This is how I want to be least recognized as I’d rather just do the work by myself.)
4. Tangible Gifts – you want the goods! Those gift cards, movie tickets, small tokens and gifts send a strong value message to you and mean more than mere words. (I won’t say no, and yet, this type of recognition doesn’t carry as much weight for me.)
5. Physical Touch – according to the research, this is the least important form of appreciation in the workplace and no one identified it as their primary language. (I was disappointed to read this because I actually think this might be my preferred form.)
know the work I do matters and I like to get it verbally, in writing, publically or in private. I will eat it up in any form it comes. I struggle with criticism or silence so I long to hear words about my value. When you add touch to those words, I can feast on that feedback much longer. I love a warm hug, a hand on my arm as I’m being told something, and when someone squeezes my shoulder in a meeting or grabs my hand to emphasize a point, it sends a strong positive message. I don’t have issues with personal space and I long to connect with people through touch. Since this is a language I enjoy – I have to be careful in how I reciprocate it. Not everyone likes to be touched (hard to imagine...)
The most important thing about this book, and accompanying assessment (www.mbainventory.com), is that appreciation needs to be individualized. Appreciation, unlike recognition which is performance based, is very personal and most welcomed when sent in the preferred language of the recipient. How do you send appreciation? Is it based on how you want to receive or have you found ways to make it individualized and situational?