Valentine’s Day, for some, is terrific. Terrific because your partner, your loved one, or your crush shared words or gifts or tokens that you value, igniting feelings of being seen and loved.
For others, today will be underwhelming or, worse still, a disaster. Negative feelings arise because you didn’t receive what you value or were after.
Whether a success, a mediocre day, or a total disaster, we should remember that expressions of love are not about what the giver gives. Instead, declarations of love are triumphant when the receiver feels seen, and you communicate that your love for them lives.
This Valentine’s Day, I (and you) benefit from pausing and reflecting on the usefulness of knowing another’s love language. Gary Chapman’s Ph.D. The Five Love Languages makes an important point – that the expression of love depends more on the receiver’s desires than the intentions of the giver. Dr Chapman offers 5 love languages, each recognising the different ways we like others to express their love.
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
Applying these reflections to the workplace ignites conversations about the importance of ensuring expressions of gratitude are received as intended. Put another way:
Leaders, it’s not what you do or say. It’s what your talent takes away.
Take a moment to pause and reflect.
How would your talent (a specific individual) want you to express gratitude?
What can you do or say, which would let them know you value them and that you appreciate what they do every day?
Knowing your talent’s love language is advantageous. Expressing “I value you and all that you do” is not about what the giver wants to say or do.
Reflect on whether it is about:
- What you say (words of affirmation)
- What you can give as a token of appreciation (receiving gifts)
- What you can assist with or a task you can delegate (acts of service) or
- Time with you to complete a task, gain mentoring, or plan for a future day (quality time).
Expressions of “I consider you talent” are more effective when they mirror the love language of the receiver. I encourage all of you who wish to express “Thank You” to reflect on what is meaningful to the receiver – because it is a feeling of being valued that you want them to take away.
[I have other thoughts about notions of love on Valentine’s Day and how they connect to talent acquisition which you can read here].