Five Languages of Appreciation

It’s often said that we judge ourselves based on our intentions, but we judge others based on their actions and impact.

If this is the case, then others aren’t judging us based on our intentions, but instead on our impact.

As a Culture Coach and consultant, I see the struggle between intention and impact every day. It is especially prevalent in how we show our value and appreciation for the people with whom we work and live.

We truly appreciate those around us, but the “to-do list” of life often gets in the way of us taking a moment for a “thank you” or “how are you?” or “what do you need?”.

Often times, we assume that our way of feeling valued and appreciated is the way that someone else does too. This is often called the “blind spot”. When it comes to showing value and appreciation to others, it’s best to not practice the Golden Rule (do unto others as you’d have done to you.) Instead, practice the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they would like to have done to them.

Often, the way someone feels valued and appreciated is very different than what we think. We might think its about providing security, money or materials goods. At least in the workplace, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Showing value and appreciation rarely costs money. It does cost some time, which seems to be more precious these days than gold. Most people feel valued when they feel listened to, when you speak kindly and genuinely, when you include them, support them and when you truly care about what they care about.

The best selling book by Gary Chapman The Five Love Languages, has recently been put into a business context called The Five Languages of Appreciation. I just recently shared this information at an all staff off site retreat for one of my clients and it was very powerful and very enlightening information for each of them.

What the Five Languages of Appreciation says is that each of us as a “language” that we want spoken to us to make us feel valued and appreciated. Often times we end up speaking the language we like to others. If we can find out what those around us are interested in receving and shifting our behaviors to provide that, we can increase relationships success, emotional connection and engagement in both on and off work.

Here are the Five Languages of Appreciation. Which one is your language of appreciation? Is it different than the language of your team members at work or partner at home?  

Words of Affirmation

Affirm their accomplishments

Appreciation behaviors

Compliment their character

Highlight their personality

Use spoken words and written words


Quality Time

Give people undivided personal attention

Hold quality, genuine conversations about topics that matter

Provide a safe environment free of judgment and defense

Give people your presence and focus

Truly listen


Acts of Service

Reach out to help, ask “How can I help?”

Show others you truly care

Provide assistance

Serving voluntarily

Share resources and assist

Bring food or other sustenance items


Tangible Gifts

Give without buying

Give something someone finds of value

Small things matter, it’s not about the monetary value.

Ask them their favorites: music, reading, leisure, sports, entertainment, restaurants, experiences, time off

Give for a reason: milestone, anniversary, accomplishment, setback


Physical Touch

High fives, fist bumps

Warm hugs

Pats on the back

Firm hand shakes

Affirming touch

Sit close to/next to them


“People will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

Click HERE to order the book The Five Languages of Appreciation by Gary Chapman.


  • 13 Mar, 2017
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