The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace

By Gary Chapman and Paul White

A Review by Tom Kennedy

If you are interested in a communication method to improve your employee productivity and relationships, this book might have the solution. Moving from his bestselling book on how to express appreciation among couples, Chapman has applied that successful method into the field of business.  I use his appreciation languages in counseling and I think this approach will work as well in business.  In Chapman’s view there are 5 languages which best communicate appreciation.  Each person has one or two preferred ways they want to receive it.  Unfortunately, most of us only express appreciation the way we want it, not the way the other person wants to receive it.  This book guides us to overcome our bias of using an appreciation style we like and instead use a style that will be best appreciated by the recipient.   At this review time my hardback copy is #23 on the ECPA bestseller list.  Chapman’s original couples’ bestseller has risen to #2 on the current bestseller list.  You can tell appreciation “languages” are popular and very useful to relationships. Chapman developed an inventory to use in business thus giving the manager an idea of what style of appreciation to use with each employee. After you implement this method, you should see some significantly positive changes in attitude for most, if not all of them. This book is an easy but important read and if you manage people, I recommend you immerse yourself in a copy.

Things I liked in the book:

  • The number one factor in job satisfaction is not the amount of pay but whether or not the individual feels appreciated and valued for the work they do, p. 11.
  • For recognition and appreciation to be effective, they must be individualized and delivered personally, p. 21
  • It is well-documented that global praise (“Good job”, “you’re a good student”) does very little to encourage the recipient, and doesn’t increase the positive behaviors desired, p. 49.
  • Chapman lists 4 styles of praise: Personal one-on-one, praise in front of others, written affirmation, and public affirmation that is a fine-tuned way to praise an employee, pp. 53-55.
  • Quality time means that listening to what the employee has to say can be the most important form of appreciation to them.  Chapman lists 4 dialects of quality time. It does not always mean just good listening, pp. 63-69.
  • Acts of Service: “Is there anything I could do for you that would make your work easier?”, p. 85.
  • The Power of Tangible Gifts: Chapman gives two requirements for this appreciation language to work effectively, pp. 91-93.
  • Additional field testing …revealed that not one person was found to have Physical Touch as their primary language of appreciation in the workplace, p. 103.
  • [Accepted touching] A pat on the back, a quick handshake, or a high five are example of implicit touches and are common expressions of physical touch in some work settings, p. 105.
  • Chapman developed the Motivated by Appreciation (MBA) inventory to help managers test for the types of appreciation her/his employees would prefer, Chapter 8.
  • The language we value least can become our “blind spot” in effectively communicating appreciation to colleagues for whom that language is highly significant, p. 135.
  • Chapman spends the rest of the chapters talking about applying the languages or how they are applied in specific industries.

Capital Gaines: Smart Things I learned Doing Stupid Stuff

By Chip Gaines

A Review by Tom Kennedy

If you have watched the TV show Fixer Upper, you know Chip and Joanna Gaines.  They are a Christian couple who fix and modernize old houses for other people. Based out of Waco, Texas, they are somewhat opposites. Joanna thinks through things, Chip is much more impulsive.  He also doesn’t like to lose a bet. On one show I saw him eat a dead cockroach in order to win a 50-dollar bet.  That is impulsive and totally repulsive and showcases part of Chip Gaines’ personality.  In this book you will see that his life is one of learning from mistakes and due to his impulsivity, he has made a lot of mistakes.  Yet he has made a success out of failure.  Accompanied by a positive attitude and a huge heart for others, Chip Gaines is a man you want to be your friend.  Beware, he shares some mistakes in the book, but not a lot. It includes some life stories and some Chip Gaines philosophy added in. This is an enjoyable read and at the time of this review was #30 (down from #20) on the ECPA bestseller’s list.

What I liked in this hardback book:

  • “I knew it wasn’t “normal” that I couldn’t read yet, but it never occurred to me that it was something to be embarrassed about….My positive outlook has blinded me to plenty of things over the years.  Maybe it also protected me at times from the things I didn’t need to see”, p. 4.
  • “The only reason I even tried in school was so that I could make the grades to play baseball.  Education was simply a means to an end”, pp. 8-9.
  • [After being cut from the college baseball team] “Apparently there’s a cap to the amount of self-pity time a person gets, because one morning I woke up and realized it was time to snap out of it.  The time had come for me to get on with my life,” p. 12.
  • He heads to Mexico to learn Spanish leaving Joanna with taking care of his haphazard businesses (this is before they are married).  You must also read about the Brahma bull incident. Chapter 3.
  • “Jo and I have always believed that it is us against the world.  It’s not that we think everyone is out to get us. But we know that in all the world there is this one singular human who will be on our team every time.  Understanding this and protecting it at all costs has become bedrock for our marriage,” p. 41.
  • Chip tells about how he got that big scar on his forehead clowning around on a four-wheeler.  Risk takers should read the paragraphs after his words, “Normal was the complete opposite of what I’d always wanted to be,” p. 48.
  • “I don’t sit around and allow the what-ifs and worst-case scenarios to control me,” p, 65.
  • You need to read how Chip pulled off a red-carpet event for Joanna with little money in the bank.  Chapter 7.
  • [Buying the silos] “The thing is, Jo had gotten behind every crazy dream I’d come up with over the years.  Now she was the crazy dreamer….And I was gonna do everything in my power to help her do it,” p. 98.
  • “We pride ourselves in on-the-job training and solving problems.  I like people who work first and ask questions later,” p. 114
  • “But even after all of that manual labor, making a TV show is the most exhausting job I’ve ever done…. The irony is that on camera it appears that I’m just goofing off, playing really, when in reality it is the hardest work I do,” p. 125.
  • HGTV also provided us with a platform to share our perspective and we are grateful for that too. In an industry that doesn’t often show authentically happy marriages, we have loved getting to go in front of the camera and laugh, hug, argue, collaborate, and cheer each other on,” p. 138
  • [Current political conflicts] I want to live in a world where we are all considered each other’s neighbor, where every person’s voice matters,” p. 148.
  • “It is truly my life’s mission to empower people to relentlessly chase after their dreams, no natter the cost,” p. 158.