My wife and I try to take walks as often as we can during the week. It’s hard since we both work full-time, but it’s an investment we try to make time for. We cover a wide range of topics from money, in-laws, to you-name-it. Today we hit heads and identified some key areas that we both struggle with. In order to work through those things, we’ve determined that we need to speak the other’s language, and speak it well. This concept comes from Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, “The 5 Love Languages.” My language is Words of Affirmation and my wife’s isQuality Time. Neither of us naturally speak the other’s language. We have to really work at it.

That started me thinking. What if we knew what “language” our coworkers best respond to? Obviously the same concepts from marriage don’t apply in the workplace, but we each do respond differently to affirmation, encouragement, correction, and other types of feedback. What if we spent a little time (“invested,” if you will) learning the personality types of our teammates, watched how they respond to types of feedback, and tailored our approach in order to best build them up as a fellow team member?

I invite you to check out Dr. Chapman’s “Appreciation at Work,” particularly the Learn page. There are a lot of free tools you can incorporate into your daily work to speak your coworkers language. For me, this is what becoming better is about: I become better by helping others become better. Speaking their language may be just the ticket.

How do you feel about taking the time to learn someone’s “appreciation” language?

What are some ways you can communicate your language to your teammates?