Unless of course you work with someone who really needs verbal affirmation.
I used to think it was cheating to try and read people and figure out what they needed to hear. And I’ve also heard that it’s pretty good advice to take books like The Five Love Languages with a grain of salt. And whenever I hear the phrase “there are two kinds of people in this world…” I immediately think – and of course the third type that fits neither category.
Bearing all that in mind this book supposes that people really need to feel appreciated a certain way. It posits that there are 5 ways people feel appreciated. These are: through physical touch, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, and acts of service. Each person has a way that makes them feel as though they are understood and loved.
Therein lies how I ran into trouble at work the other day, and I think, in a lot of past jobs as well. I’m firmly in the “no news is good news” category. If something’s not broken, there’s no need to try and fix it. But it turns out, my coworker was sick of my seemingly negative point of view, fixated only on the things I want to change and enhance, never celebrating success, or embracing how much progress we’ve made.
She wants and needs to be commended on the things we’re doing that are working well and are changing lives. She wants to rejoice in each moment of triumph. That’s a wonderful thing, an awesome thing.
I want to look at the things that we need to improve in order to become better. I want to make plans and lists and “fix” things. Enough with the pats on the back, let’s get a move on! Let’s be busy!
So we decided to reach a compromise with each other, to attempt to speak each others language. I will say “Thank You” many times a day, look for our successes and build on them without noting the things that could also be improved on. I will notice and discuss the changes with her and talk about how great we are. Cause, oh, we are.
And she, well, she’s not going to wait three months to tell me things like this anymore, trying to bring about change by focusing only on my positive qualities. If I’m being a jerk, she’s gonna tell me.
Sounds fine with me.